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Plane route protest takes off in Nahant

By BRIDGET TURCOTTE

NAHANT Nahant residents are worried flights to Logan International Airport are getting closer, and louder, to the one-mile stretch of land they call home.

Robert Damico, a Nahant resident on the Logan Airport Advisory Committee, said noise complaints from aircrafts flying overhead have drastically increased over the past few years. While it’s difficult to pinpoint a time when it began, he estimates it has been about three- to three-and-a-half years.

“A whole town doesn’t imagine the noise much worse than they did before,” said Damico. “Everyone knew where the planes used to be for seven to eight years. In the blink of an eye, something changed. Now they’re turning closer to Nahant than they did before. I thought it was temporary but it hasn’t changed.”

“We’re three miles from the airport, we know we’re going to hear airplanes,” said Damico. “But if you’re at the Tides (Restaurant) and see the way they’re turning, its very very loud to the point that you have a hard time talking to one another. When you have a two-mile causeway, why are you turning so close to a thickly-settled island? We want to get to the bottom of it.”

But the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) maintains it has not made any changes to flight patterns over Nahant.

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“The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not changed or modified any flight patterns related to  air traffic operations for Runway 4 Right – 22 Left at Boston Logan International Airport, the runway that brings flights over the Nahant Causeway,” a statement issued by the FAA said.

“The FAA advised the Town of Nahant that requests for changes to air traffic control procedures for noise abatement must come from the Massachusetts Port Authority, in accordance with the agency’s noise abatement policy.”

More than three decades ago, Damico said he helped create and worked in MassPort’s Noise Abatement office for seven years. While there, he said he helped create the flight tracks. He went on to represent Mayors Thomas Menino and Raymond Flynn on all aviation matters, he said.

“There are two kinds of waypoints these points in the sky where pilots turn,” said Damico. “They can see it on their instrument panel, which is line a dashboard, and they know where these waypoints are and they know where to turn. If the air traffic controller tells them to turn prior to that, they do. We tried to work with them but we’re getting no place fast.”

Damico and the Nahant Board of Selectmen will hold a public forum at Nahant Town Hall on June 21 at 7:30 p.m. to discuss the issue. The Town Administrator’s office, where most of the complaints are received, has invited a representatives from MassPort and the FAA, State Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn), and State Rep. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn).

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