TOURIST FLIGHTS over the Grand Canyon are to be limited, and the phasing out of noisier aircraft has been proposed, in a bid to restore natural quiet to the US national park.

From 1 May, new "flight-free" zones will be established, others will be modified and curfews will be set on sightseeing flights. The number of aircraft allowed to fly over the park will be capped at the 1996 level of 136.

Accompanying the new regulation is a proposed rule that would phase out the noisiest aircraft by the end of 2000 and all but the quietest by the end of 2008. Only 23 of the aircraft now being used - de Havilland Twin Otters and McDonnell Douglas MD 520N and Explorer helicopters - fall within the quietest category.

Source: Flight International