AOPA has told the FAA and National Park Service (NPS) that no further regulation of general aviation aircraft near Grand Canyon National Park is needed. The association said that current regulations and procedures have already addressed noise and safety issues.
In formal comments on the FAA and NPS notice of intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on restoring natural quiet to Grand Canyon National Park, AOPA said that the regulating agencies should remain true to the intent of Congress and ensure that "no further regulation of general aviation, military, or commercial overflights is proposed."
AOPA said that the EIS should be limited to the issue of natural quiet as it relates to commercial air tour operations. As far as general aviation was concerned, "natural quiet" had been restored through the implementation of the Grand Canyon Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA), which limits GA flights to specific altitudes and corridors over the park and adjoining tribal lands.
The association also said that some information presented at several public meetings was in error, mischaracterizing some high-altitude flights over the Grand Canyon as general aviation when they were actually commercial flights. That might have led some of the public to think GA was more of a factor than it is.
"While AOPA recognizes that modeling overflight operations is not an exact science, it is imperative that the public, who the agencies and the Grand Canyon Working Group are reliant upon for feedback and relevant comments, have the most factual information available to them during the public scoping process," AOPA said in its comments.
May 4, 2006