Forestry

October 2, 2012 - 4:05am

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) will resume contract night helicopter firefighting operations in Southern California next year. The announcement was made recently after the USFS evaluated a study it commissioned that was completed in 2010. That study found that helicopter night operations can mitigate the costs and risks of wildfires by retarding their size.

April 5, 2012 - 4:10am

The recently enacted ‘‘FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012’’ places the agency on stable financial footing–at least through 2014–and also contains some important provisions for the helicopter industry. First, it requires the FAA Administrator, within one year, to design and conduct a study of mandating Part 135 helicopter ambulance providers to use night vision goggles. In addition, it places more restrictions on air tour operators.

March 28, 2011 - 10:15am

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.

March 30, 2010 - 12:04pm

In the wake of a stinging critique issued by the Los Angeles County Fire Department after last year’s Station Fire, the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is reviewing its ban on most nighttime aerial fire fighting. The Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest raged for nearly two months before it was contained, but not until it had destroyed 250 sq mi of forest (160,000 acres) and 96 homes.

September 30, 2009 - 6:21am

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.

September 10, 2009 - 11:00am

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.

May 7, 2008 - 9:56am

In light of the comity that almost turned a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on national parks overflights into a “lovefest” early last month, it is difficult to fathom why it has taken more than 15 years to reach agreement on rules for air tours over such noise-sensitive recreational areas.

May 2, 2008 - 7:09am

The subject of aircraft noise in the Grand Canyon area has been of special interest to helicopter operators for years now, but it might be taking on an even broader dimension. The definition of “substantial restoration of natural quiet” might lead to new rules for aircraft flying over the Grand Canyon National Park at and above 18,000 feet, according to a public notice from the National Park Service (NPS).

January 21, 2008 - 11:45am

“Environmentally sensitive logging.” It’s a phrase that seems almost a contradiction in terms. After all, isn’t logging blamed for habitat destruction of a yards-long list of endangered and outright extinct species? And aren’t helicopters those esoteric flying machines that routinely spew death, fire, spare parts and, worst of all, noise, on every terrain they overfly?

December 19, 2007 - 6:19am

Those among the 100 or so who came to a September 29 informational meeting in Flagstaff, Ariz., on Grand Canyon overflight issues, hosted by the National Park Service (NPS) and the FAA, expecting to hear of a breakthrough in a 17-year deadlock over aircraft noise left disappointed.

 
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