Noncommercial Park Flights Okay

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Most GA pilots don't have to worry about new flight restrictions that may be imposed over national parks, according to AOPA. The group says it was in on drafting the National Parks Air Tour Management Plan and talked the FAA out of including transient GA traffic under the new rules. The program was announced in November and is aimed at cutting down on the noise generated mainly from sightseeing companies' aircraft overflying the U.S.'s natural wonders. An AOPA news release says the association was able to convince the FAA that GA overflights don't create much noise in the parks. And to make sure it stays that way, AOPA is also asking that those flying over parks not be tempted to drop below 2,000 feet AGL for a closer look at whatever is below. The new rule will require commercial air-tour operators flying less than 5,000 feet AGL above national parks or abutting tribal lands to get a permit from the FAA. Each national park, starting with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, will develop a site-specific set of rules to govern the air-tour business.