Bell 407 helicopter pilot Lee Hamilton and flight officer Bill Bevan, both Alabama State Troopers, were honored on April 30 at Fort Payne’s Isbell Field for their rescue of a family stranded and trapped in the raging waters of the Alabama Little River in January.
The National Park Service (NPS) is proposing new rules to cap the number of air-tour flights over the Grand Canyon, further restrict flight corridors and altitudes adjacent to it, and mandate the use of “quiet-technology” helicopters flying tours there.
A new National Park Service proposal to cap the number and further restrict the routes of flights near the Grand Canyon is being criticized as overly restrictive by individual operators and the United States Air Tour Association. The new rules would prohibit direct overflights and mandate operators convert to "quiet technology" aircraft within the next decade.
You can choose between two distinct approaches to seeing the spectacular Grand Canyon on the Colorado River: wait until February, send in $25 for a public lottery assigning launch dates for the following year and then gamely tackle the river yourself–or you can sign on with one of more than a dozen commercial rafting outfitters licensed by the National Park Service to show you the river-running experience of your life.
After debating Grand Canyon air-tour noise for eight years, the Grand Canyon Working Group (GCWG) has left the issue to the National Park Service (NPS), which often supports environmentalist positions. At a recent meeting the GCWG disagreed on NPS alternatives, including a seasonal shift in air-tour corridors by alternatively closing the Zuni and Dragon corridors, which are now open concurrently.
It was an unusual report that swiftly sent the Grand Canyon National Park Helitack–this year’s winner of the Igor I. Sikorsky Humanitarian Service Award–into action last August 17. “In the early morning we got a report that there were five boats floating down river with no passengers on board,” said Jay Lusher, helicopter program manager for Grand Canyon National Park.
The fatal crash of an Aerospatiale AS 350 at the Grand Canyon on August 10 was the fourth fatal accident of a Papillon Helicopters tour flight since September 1985 and the second for the operator in the Grand Canyon since April 1999 (in which the sole pilot was the only one killed).
Last week the NTSB issued several safety recommendations stemming from the Sept. 20, 2003 crash of a Sundance Helicopters Eurocopter AS 350BA into a canyon wall in the Grand Canyon, killing the pilot and all six passengers. According to the Safety Board, the pilot disregarded safe flying procedures and misjudged the helicopter’s proximity to terrain.
In August 1987 the National Parks Overflight Act (NPOA) mandated that the FAA and National Parks Service (NPS) work together to achieve “substantial restoration of natural quiet” in the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona.
In 1987 the National Parks Overflights Act mandated substantial restoration of “natural quiet” at Grand Canyon National Park. Seventeen years later, the FAA and the National Park Service (NPS) agreed to resolve the overflight noise issues together.
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