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The FAA has announced yet another proposed rule which would establish two new air tour routes in Grand Canyon RIGHT THROUGH TWO FLIGHT FREE ZONES.

A proposed route through the section of Toroweap/Shinumo flight free zone which was extended in last year's rulemaking in order to protect National Canyon. The Havasupai have formally requested removal of all air tour routes from their lands, which include all of Havasu Canyon. The FAA is ignoring that request, and mocking the concept of "flight free zones".

In an effort to provide incentives for tour operators to convert to more "noise efficient aircraft", the FAA proposes a second route that is even more appalling. This one would parallel the river over the North Rim, slightly north of North Rim Village and right through the heart of the Canyon. This route will cut through, and effectively gut, the Bright Angel Flight Free Zone. Although the route will only be open to aircraft that is less noisy, even the quietest of aircraft still make a lot of noise. The sound of aircraft engines would be audible for several miles on either side of the route.

We support providing incentive routes for tour companies which utilize less noisy aircraft. However, this may be better accomplished by closing current routes, such as the Dragon Corridor to all but the quietest of aircraft. This action was proposed several years ago by the National Park Service, yet has been ignored by the FAA. Clearly, the FAA is still basing their decisions not on safety as is their mandate, but rather on the economic interests of the air tour industry.

*****Please write the FAA now. Tell them that no aircraft - even less noisy ones - should be allowed to penetrate flight free zones.

Comments must be marked with "Docket No. 28902"

The e-mail address is:


Please send us as copy, too. Sometimes the FAA has given us an incorrect address, and at times the mail is returned for no apparent reason. If you send us a copy, we will see to it that your comments are mailed, if necessary, to the FAA.

Should you have any questions, please contact us.

Jeri Ledbetter
Grand Canyon River Guides

[ Bob Ribokas ]
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