Congressmen Oppose Park Airspace Restrictions

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The co-chairs of the House General Aviation Caucus are seeking supporters for their opposition to a bill that would expand the authority of the National Park Service to control aviation operations, EAA said last week. If the bill passes, it would grant authority to the Park Service director to regulate commercial air tours above the parks and within a half mile of park borders. U.S. Reps. Sam Graves, R-Mo., and John Barrow, D-Ga., are asking others in Congress to sign a letter that says this would be "a step backward in aviation safety and should be rejected." The two have asked aviators who are opposed to the change to contact their congressional representatives and ask them to sign on to the letter.

If the bill passes as proposed, it would "effectively eliminate the air tour industry," the letter (PDF) says. "The end result will be lost jobs for pilots, drivers, tour guides, support staff, and local businesses and adversely impact the helicopter manufacturing, maintenance, and parts industries." The proposed new rules also disregard the fact that the air tour industry is heavily investing in new technology that would provide quieter operations, the congressmen said.