January 4, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will accept comments until Feb. 7, 2011, on its proposed rule to restrict low-altitude flights over four national marine sanctuaries, granting an extension requested by AOPA in December.
AOPA reported on Dec. 15 that the NOAA proposal could have substantial impact on general aviation, and appears to conflict with the FAA’s sole authority to regulate airspace of the National Airspace System.
The proposed rule would impose unspecified penalties against pilots violating altitude restrictions above the Channel Islands, Monterey Bay, and Gulf of the Farallones National Marine sanctuaries in California; and the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary in the state of Washington.
AOPA had submitted a request for an extension to allow more time to evaluate the proposal, discuss it with the FAA and NOAA, and provide comments. Members are encouraged to review the notice of proposed rulemaking and provide comments to the NOAA.
Comments should refer to RIN 0648-AX79, and can be submitted by mail to Debra Malek, Office of National Martine Sanctuaries, 1305 East-West Highway, 11th Floor, Silver Spring, MD 20910 or be submitted electronically.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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