Mar. 31, 2004 - The FAA's proposed rule to tighten restrictions on sightseeing and charity fundraising operations is defective beyond repair and needs to be withdrawn, says AOPA.
In a joint letter signed by AOPA President Phil Boyer and the leaders of five other major general aviation organizations, the GA industry calls on every member of Congress to press the FAA to withdraw the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The proposal would have "devastating effects" on both charities and sightseeing operators.
"The charity/sightseeing proposed rule should never have been promulgated," said Boyer. "The data the FAA quotes doesn't support the need for the rule. It's a solution in search of a problem."
"Last October, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a proposed rulemaking that would change the regulations governing sightseeing operations conducted within 25 miles of an airport and impose new requirements for air tour flights," the coalition letter said. The FAA's own estimate is that approximately 40% of such sightseeing operators will quit the business.
The rule also harms charities that raise funds by offering sightseeing flights for donations. Pilots would be required to have 500 hours instead of the current 200 to be allowed to give such rides.
"We strongly encourage you to contact the FAA immediately to ask that this NPRM be withdrawn in its entirety," wrote Boyer; Experimental Aircraft Association President Tom Poberezny; National Air Transport Association President James Coyne; Steve Bassett, president of the U.S. Air Tour Association; General Aviation Manufacturers Association President Ed Bolen; and Helicopter Association International President Roy Resavage.
The public comment period continues until April 19, 2004. Those interested may read the NPRM or submit a formal written comment by visiting the Department of Transportation's online docket, clicking either "Simple Search" or "Comments/Submissions" and entering docket number 4521.