...But Change Would Take Time

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Even if the FAA does adopt a change in the rules regarding night flying, the agency would still have to survey all applicable airports -- over 18,000 of them -- and then determine revised sunset/sunrise times for each, Shumann said. "That won't be soon." A rule-making committee that reviewed all the comments on the NPRM last year recommended withdrawal of the proposed change. "The team understands the NTSB's recommendation to create rulemaking that might preclude situations similar to the Aspen accident," the committee said. However, "the team does not consider the proposed change to be an appropriate solution to a very complex and often site-specific problem." The team recommended that instead, the FAA should explore alternate methods that might address local determination of hours of darkness and assign limiting conditions for approach procedures.