SBA To FAA: Yank Air-Tour Rule

  • E-Mail this Article
  • View Printable Article
  • Text size:

    • A
    • A
    • A

FAA Proposal Lacks Data, SBA Says...

The Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) submitted its comments late last week on the FAA's proposed new rules for commercial air tours, and its verdict was succinct: "[The FAA should] withdraw the rule until the agency is able to obtain adequate data." The GA groups were quick to applaud the suggestion. "We hope the FAA will take the SBA's comments to heart and pull this proposed rule," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. EAA Vice President Earl Lawrence agreed. "EAA and SBA have submitted essentially the same conclusions with regard to the lack of available data to substantiate the massive changes the proposed rule calls for," Lawrence said. The FAA's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), published last October, would require sightseeing tours that now operate under Part 91 to be certificated and to comply with new rules regarding low-level flight, visibility and over-water ops. The NPRM also proposes new rules to cover flights during charitable events. The proposed rules would affect sightseeing flights, including those conducted by flight schools, flights in unique aircraft such as EAA's B-17 bomber and Ford Tri-Motor, and vintage-aircraft flights around the country. The proposed rule eliminates an existing exemption for Part 91 sightseeing flights, requires all air tours to operate in accordance with either Part 121 or Part 135, sets new pilot flight-hour requirements for certain charitable flights, and establishes several new operational and equipment standards for existing commercial air tours.