Requires Air Tour Operators To Report Flights Over Or Near Many National Parks
The recently passed FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 included a provision requiring air tour operators conducting tours over national parks and abutting tribal lands to submit reports to the FAA and the National Park Service (NPS).
The "Notification and Guidance" will be posted on the FAA and NPS web sites "very soon" according to the Helicopter Association International website, and the reporting template will be updated with a few revisions, including route altitude and duration.
According to the document, the FAA and NPS are requiring air tour operators conducting commercial air tours at parks that are not listed as exempt from the requirements. The reports are required of people who conduct commercial air tour operations below 5,000 feet agl over a unit of the national park system, over tribal lands that are within or abutting a unit of the national park system, or any area within 1/2 mile outside a unit of the national park system or less than one mile laterally from any geographic feature within a park ... unless that feature is more than 1/2 mile outside a park boundary.
Clear as mud, as usual.
HAI indicates that the FAA and NPS will post the guidelines on their websites "very soon," along with updated reporting templates to include route altitude and duration. A list of parks exempt from the rules has been posted to the Federal Register.
(Grand Canyon photo from the National Parks Service)