For nearly a decade, temporary flight restrictions have been in effect for aircraft operating in the U.S. airspace over Niagara Falls. But on March 20, 2003, the current TFR will become permanent. "AOPA concurs with the codification of the current flight restrictions in the vicinity of Niagara Falls to prevent congestion and reduce the risk of collision by sightseeing aircraft," said Heidi Williams, manager of air traffic, regulatory and certification policy. "However, we still disagree with making some of the procedures mandatory."
However, AOPA argued that current recommended procedures such as pattern direction and radio position reporting are advisory in nature and should not be made mandatory. Despite AOPA objections, the FAA decided to mirror efforts by Transport Canada and mandate compliance of the current procedures. Restrictions were originally implemented in 1992 following a fatal midair collision of two sightseeing helicopters over the falls. The permanent restrictions encompass the TFR procedures currently found in the Northeast Airport Facility Directory.