The FAA has again postponed implementing a new, expanded special flight rules area (SFRA) over Grand Canyon National Park. The expanded SFRA was to have become effective January 2000, but implementation has been delayed until January 2001 to give the FAA more time to examine the issues and make possible modifications. Pilots now have until March 6 to comment. [See also Docket No. 28537, AOPA's comments, and AOPA news release 99-3-057.]
AOPA has opposed the SFRA expansion. It would raise the top of the "no fly" area to 14,500 feet msl over most of the park. More than one third of general aviation aircraft cannot reach that altitude.
The new rule would also expand the SFAR to within one mile of the Sunny MOA, an active military training area used by jet fighters. AOPA noted that because of that airspace expansion, pilots attempting to avoid summer thunderstorms would have few safe, legal escape routes.
The expanded Grand Canyon SFRA was first published in 1996. AOPA has led GA community opposition to the proposal, citing unnecessary restrictions on GA aircraft and concern over National Park Service preemption of FAA authority. Shortly after the SFRA was first issued, AOPA formally petitioned the FAA for reconsideration of the rule.
AOPA has testified against the rule, most recently last August in Las Vegas, Nevada, and filed formal comments as well.
February 4, 2000