Aircraft Overflights at Grand Canyon: Your Input is Needed Now!

Previous postings here and on the GCHBA Facebook page (www.facebook.com/GCHBA) have discussed the proposed INCREASE in aircraft overflights at Grand Canyon.

This action is disguised as an effort to encourage the adoption of “quiet” aircraft technology by INCREASING the total number of air tour flights. For each “quiet” flight in the winter, air tour operators can add one more flight in the summer — and that flight doesn’t even have to use the “quiet” aircraft! The park service has publicly admitted that even though the goal is to restore natural quiet, this proposal does the opposite.

You can influence this proposed decision, but only if you COMMENT NOW. Comments are accepted until Wednesday at midnight eastern time. It is easy to comment. Here is the link: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0782-0001. Click on the “Comment Now!” button (upper right of the page).  The comment period ends at midnight on Wednesday, December 10, 2014.

Your comments don’t have to be long or technical. Your heart felt testimony as a backpacker who has experienced the joy of quiet in the wilderness, or the annoyance of a constant drone of air tours, will add to the scales on the side of denying this proposal.

Doug Nering posted a very knowledgeable comment on this subject in the Yahoo Group under the heading of “Zuni Dragon QT”.

GCHBA has prepared a formal organizational response which is posted on the Activism page.

We strongly encourage you to comment!

Key points to consider:

Background:
The concept of the need to preserve natural quiet from impairment at the Grand Canyon was recognized as early at 1975, when the Grand Canyon Enlargement Act noted overflights were causing a “significant adverse effect on the natural quiet and experience of the park.”

Summary of GCHBA Position:
Aircraft-caused noise pollution is a serious detriment to the enjoyment of Grand Canyon National Park. Under the guise of restoring natural quiet, the present proposal will actually increase the amount of noise experienced by visitors to the Park’s backcountry areas. Therefore we propose:

  • The number of flights in the Dragon and Zuni corridors should be capped at 2012 levels.
  • One-hour air tours should be eliminated.
  • No additional incentives, such as those proposed here, are required nor appropriate.

Explanation:
To encourage quieter aircraft, the number of flights, which is limited by regulation, is being increased to a number which exceeds the actual number of flights in prior years (i.e. the air tours have not used all their allocation in the past). There is no need for a further increase which will destroy not improve natural quiet. The park cannot be made more quiet by flying more planes over it, no matter how “quiet” each plane is.

The allocation is per flight, regardless of whether a flight is 30 minutes or one hour. Obviously the one hour flights create twice as much noise.

The air tour operators have had their fees reduced from $25 per flight to $20 per flight as an inducement to use quieter aircraft. At this very moment, the Park has proposed to INCREASE YOUR FEES to enter the park from $25 per vehicle to $30 per vehicle. That’s right, $5 lower fee for airplanes to fly over the Grand Canyon, but $5 higher fee for you to actually visit the canyon on foot.

No matter where you choose to focus your comments, however long or short they are, please take a few moments to comment now.

Every comment is very important!

Thanks!

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