Final Rules Retain Part 91 Air-tour Operators
The FAA’s final rules on air-tour operators, scheduled to be published next Tuesday, ease some of the more controversial requirements that were part of the original notice when it was proposed in October 2003. Most significantly, air-tour operators that fly within 25 miles nonstop to and from the same airport will be able to continue to fly under Part 91 instead of Part 135 or Part 121, as had been proposed. Also dropped from the final rules were proposed changes to minimum altitudes, stand-off distances, and distance from clouds. However, the proposed emergency life-saving equipment for overwater flights (including helicopter floats) has been retained. Operators will have 180 days from the effective date of the rule to comply. But operators that need to buy and install helicopter floats have 18 months from the effective date. Operators who have questions about the new rules can call the FAA’s Alberta Brown at (202) 267-8321.