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FAA boosts safety for air tours
8 February 2007

Commercial air tours will be safer thanks to new regulations issued by the FAA. Air tour operators will now have to meet the safety requirements in the expanded National Air Tour Safety Standards of the Federal Aviation Regulations, including some operators who were not previously covered by those standards. The new regulations include requirements for enhanced passenger briefings before takeoff, life preservers and helicopter floats for certain overwater operations and helicopter performance plans. The new rules establish better oversight of the commercial air tour industry, especially flights previously conducted under the general operating and flight rules section of the regulations. In the past, the FAA has found it difficult to track where some commercial air tours were conducted and how many there were. The reporting requirements in these regulations will let the FAA develop a data base of these flights so the agency can ensure operators are complying with the applicable regulations. (FAA)