Restrictions limit Grand Canyon air tours to curb noise

By Chuck Raasch, USA TODAY

After 25 years of bureaucratic and political dogfights, the National Park Service soon will adopt a plan restricting noise from tourist aircraft at the Grand Canyon. But the plan is making few happy.

After 25 years of bureaucratic and political dogfights, the National Park Service soon will adopt a plan restricting noise from tourist aircraft at the Grand Canyon. But the plan is making few happy.

Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, the largest air-tour operator around the Grand Canyon, spent $185 million on a fleet of quieter aircraft, including the EcoStar Helicopter (EC130).

Photo by Robert Keith Costin, Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters spent $185 million on a fleet of quieter aircraft, including the EcoStar Helicopter (EC130)

Even the park superintendent says the plan doesn’t go far enough to protect Grand Canyon’s “soundscapes.” Air-tour operators say it will hurt their business.

The plan would limit the number of flights, hours and routes thatĀ  tour operators could fly over the 277-mile-long park. It also requires quieter planes and helicopters, a conversion air-tour operators such as Papillon Grand Canyon HelicoptersĀ  say they’ve already begun.

“It is the best plan the park service could get given the conditions we have to deal with,” says Grand Canyon park Superintendent David Uberuaga, referring to opposition from tour operators and what he called the Federal Aviation Administration‘s attempts to “delay” and “sidetrack” the plan. But it is not, he says, enough to restore “natural quiet” to one of the world’s natural wonders.

Click here for the complete Chuck Raasch/USA Today story.

Share
This entry was posted in Grand Canyon Issues. Bookmark the permalink.