WASHINGTON -- Air tours over the Grand Canyon would face more
restrictions under new rules proposed by the Federal Aviation
Administration aimed at helping to enhance the "natural quiet" of
the national park.
Under the proposals, the aircraft would fly modified routes at
higher altitudes. The agency also is proposing a new system for
limiting the number of flights for each operator and an expansion
of the park's flight-free zones.
Aircraft would be able to fly through an "incentive corridor" in
one of the zones, however, if they meet stricter noise standards
currently under development. Public hearings on the proposals are
planned for this summer.
Even if the rules are adopted, however, the restrictions would
fall short of the National Park Service definition of "substantial
restoration of natural quiet," so more proposals are in the
Under the NPS definition, more than half the park must be free
of aircraft noise 75% to 100% of the day. Currently, 32% of the
park meets that standard. The FAA proposals would increase the
amount to 41%.