National Parks Overflights Advisory Group

Purpose

This task statement describes the National Parks Overflights Advisory Group and sets forth guidelines for its operation.

Authority

The National Park Service (NPS) has the responsibility of conserving the scenery and natural and historic objects and wildlife in national parks and of providing for the enjoyment of the national parks in ways that leave the national parks unimpaired for future generations.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has sole authority to control airspace over the United States and has the authority to preserve, protect, and enhance the environment by minimizing, mitigating, or preventing the adverse effects of aircraft overflights on public and tribal lands.

Background

By Title VIII, the Congress legislated the National Parks Air Tour Management Act of 2000. Section 805 of that Act established that not later than 1 year after the enactment of the Act, the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Director of the National Park Service shall jointly establish an advisory group to provide continuing advice and counsel with the respect to commercial air tour operations over and near national parks.

Membership

The overflights working group is composed of a balanced group of representatives of general aviation, commercial air tour operations, environmental concerns and Indian tribes. The group will also contain a representative of the FAA and the NPS who shall serve alternating 1-year terms as chairman of the advisory group, with the representative of the FAA serving initially until the end of the first calendar year.

Duties

The advisory group shall provide advice, information, and recommendations to the Administrator and the Director including:

  • the implementation of the Act and the amendments made to the Act;
  • commonly accepted quiet aircraft technology for use in commercial air tour operations over a national park system or tribal lands, which will receive preferential treatment in a given air tour management plan;
  • measures that might be taken to accommodate the interests of visitors to national parks;
  • consultation on routes or corridors for commercial air tour operations by fixed-wing and helicopter aircraft that employ quiet aircraft technology for tours of the Grand Canyon originating in Clark County, Nevada and local loop tours originating at the Grand Canyon National Park Airport, in Tusayan, Arizona, provided that such routes or corridors can be located in areas that will not negatively impact the substantial restoration of natural quiet, tribal lands, or safety; and
  • at the request of the Administrator and the Director, safety, environmental, and other issues related to commercial air tour operations over a national park or tribal lands.

Sponsor and Supporting Agencies

The FAA and NPS shall jointly share in the costs, administrative, and logistical support for the working group.