The FAA has released its long-awaited commercial air tour, charity, and sightseeing rule.
"General aviation pilots can continue to conduct for-profit sightseeing flights within a 25-statute-mile radius of their departure point under Part 91 regulations," said Luis Gutierrez, AOPA director of regulatory and certification policy. "AOPA had argued strongly to keep these operations from being lumped into commercial Part 135 operations."
The biggest change for Part 91 sightseeing operators will be that they now have to get a letter of authorization from the FAA.
But pilots and associated organizations giving charity sightseeing flights won't be pleased. That's because the FAA increased the minimum flight time for private pilots to conduct these flights.
"Despite AOPA's contention, the FAA raised the minimum from 200 to 500 hours," Gutierrez said. "The FAA based their action on the fact that more accidents occur with pilots between 200 and 500 hours. But that's not an accurate justification because the majority of pilots fall into that range. This move unnecessarily reduces the number of pilots available to give charity sightseeing flights by 22 percent."
February 9, 2007