Two U.S. senators have inserted language into the FAA Reauthorization bill that circumvents the normal channels governing airspace regulation for specific areas in their home states. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) added an amendment to the bill that allows the National Park Service to stop air tours over Crater Lake National Park without first preparing an air tour management plan, as required in every other national park. Wyden has long opposed air tours in the park.
Meanwhile, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has taken his quest to rearrange helicopter flight corridors over Long Island to a new level. His amendment would compel the FAA to implement the proposed “North Shore Route” over Long Island Sound and a minimum altitude of 2,500 feet for the route within 12 months. Schumer’s amendment gives the FAA the legal authority to implement the route, which had been roundly criticized by the helicopter industry. Last year, HAI president Matt Zuccaro called it “unprecedented, dangerous and unjustified,” noting that most of the noise complaints were coming from just a handful of individuals.