Many northeast Queens neighborhoods have complained recently about increased aircraft noise, but it could be worse.
Airspace regulations for a long-shuttered borough airstrip are actually keeping planes from flying closer to residential rooftops over parts of Whitestone, north Flushing, Bay Terrace, Douglaston and Little Neck, according to flight maps.
These maps are used by pilots to show where they can and cannot fly, and one place off limits to commercial aircraft leaving LaGuardia Airport is called the Flushing Exclusion Zone, the Federal Aviation Administration said.
This zone stretches from the site of the shuttered Flushing Airport — in-between Whitestone and College Point just west of the Whitestone Expressway — across the top portion of Queens. Over the areas of Whitestone and north Flushing, aircraft must stay above 1,200 feet, while above parts of Bay Terrace and northern Bayside, they must stay above 1,500 feet, according to the FAA and flight maps.
If the Flushing Exclusion Zone did not exist, the FAA would have the ability to fly aircraft as low as it wanted in these areas, although officials from the agency said at a recent meeting that they never route a plane lower than 1,000 feet above residential blocks.
The exclusion zone was created in the 1970s when airspace regulations were modified, according to the FAA, although Flushing Airport had been open since 1927.
The corridor was created as a pathway for smaller planes to get access to the airport through airspace normally used by larger commercial jets traveling to and from LaGuardia, the FAA said.