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New FAA rules for flying over national parks

New FAA rules for flying over national parks

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Aviation Law |

The Federal Aviation Administration is set to implement new regulations for flying over national parks starting in April 2024.

The purpose of the rules is to protect natural and cultural resources. However, they also will have significant impacts on air tour operators and pilots

New requirements

Under the new rules, air tour operators must remain one-half mile from any national park boundary or stay at least 5,000 feet above ground level when flying over any national park. These measures will decrease visual and noise pollution over tribal sacred sites and ceremonial areas. They will also create a quieter atmosphere for park visitors.

Diminished passenger experience

A potential negative impact of the new regulation for pilots is the restriction on their ability to provide a unique and memorable flight for their passengers. Pilots may no longer be able to fly close to certain landmarks or provide certain views that were previously possible, limiting the overall experience for passengers.

Loss of business

With the new rules, many pilots might be out of work. For example, representatives of the Helicopter Association International pointed out that the ruling would cancel 9,000 flights over Mount Rushmore alone. Pilots in other national parks could experience similar losses in livelihood.

Increased operation costs

Additionally, the new rules may increase operational costs for air tour operators. Pilots may need to invest in new equipment or modify their existing aircraft to comply with the regulations, which could be costly. This factor, combined with the potential decrease in revenue, could put a financial strain on operators.

The FAA has stated that pilots who violate the rules may be subject to enforcement actions. In addition to fines, they could also face other consequences, such as suspension or revocation of their pilot’s licenses.

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