...Rule "Grounds Airplanes"

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Most of the proposed regulations will affect businesses actively engaged in "air tour" activity. As Business AVflash reported last week, Part 91 operators will have to upgrade to either Part 121 or Part 135 status to continue offering air tours and it's estimated by the FAA that 700 Part 91 operators will simply stop doing it rather than put up at least $11,200 it's estimated the new certification will cost them. "Grounding airplanes is not an increase in safety," said Lawrence. He also noted that of the 11 accidents cited by the FAA as justification for the rule change, nine involved Part 135 carriers. "They have not demonstrated the safety need or the improvement that will result from this change," he said. AOPA agreed, saying the certification upgrade is based on a "jumble" of accidents that offers only "weak supporting data." In a letter to the FAA, the association said the agency didn't appear to weigh the interests of industry and pilots in its rulemaking. "We are concerned that the FAA has failed to consider the true impacts of this proposal," the letter reads. AOPA says the rules will cause "significant hardship" to small air tour operators but the FAA disagrees. The NPRM estimates that the 700 businesses that will stop air tour activities only spend about 10 hours a year doing it so the financial impact will be minimal and made up by other sources of revenue.