March 5, 2014
By Benét J. Wilson
The California Department of Parks and Recreation (CADPR) has opened a second public comment period for a draft state code of regulations, which includes a proposal to prohibit overflight of state parks and set minimum altitudes. The state’s effort to enact restriction within state wilderness, cultural, and natural preserves is inconsistent with existing FAA regulations.
Under the current draft, the California Department of Parks and Recreation would prohibit aircraft from flying lower than 2,000 feet above the ground in wilderness or lower than 500 feet above the ground in cultural preserves or natural preserves. “CADPR does not have authority to regulate airspace, as it appears they are trying to do with this draft regulation,” said Melissa McCaffrey, senior government analyst, air traffic services for AOPA.
In comments AOPA submitted in 2013 on the initial proposal, it was noted that the FAA has sole authority to regulate airspace in the National Airspace System. General aviation pilots in the state are encouraged to comment by the April 4, 2014, deadline.
Comments can be submitted by email here, with a copy sent to AOPA here. Comments can also be mailed to Alexandra Stehl, Statewide Trails Program Manager, California Department of Parks and Recreation, P.O. Box 942896, Sacramento, Calif., 94296, or faxed to 916/324-0301.
AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson joined AOPA in 2011. She is working on her private pilot certificate.
AOPA continues to advocate for pilots’ access to airspace on what has become a multi-year effort by the California Department of Parks and Recreation to regulate airspace over its state wilderness areas, cultural preserves, and national preserves.
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