Denali National Park and Preserve Aircraft Overflights Advisory Council
Action and Recommendations for the 2010 Season
Adopted at the May 6, 2010 Overflights Council meeting in Talkeetna
The Council will seek to gain voluntary support to implement the 2010 Best Practices, attached.
The Council requests that the NPS provide a level of feedback and attempt to quantify the success of the
Best Practices implementation. For example:
Unusual Event Feedback:
The Council requests that NPS rangers be briefed on the aviation â€œBest Practicesâ€ defined in
cooperation with the aviation community, and are asked to report specific events that are
significant departures of the industry defined â€œbest practicesâ€, or incidents that disrupt activities
at the time. If such events occur, rangers are requested to document the incident. For
example: provide as much of the following information as practicable: date, time, location,
aircraft type and N number, weather, and a description of the situation. We request these
reports be communicated as soon as practically possible to a central location (such as the
Talkeetna Ranger Station on the south side) to be passed on to aviation operators in a timely
Rangers are asked to document the effects of the 2010 Best Practices. For example: record a
routine set of observations or impressions on a daily basis that provides a basis to evaluate
longer term trends regarding the presence of aircraft. Consider documenting the location, along
with a categorical impression of the number of motorized events heard that day, along with an
estimate of percent of time they were audible.
The Council requests that the NPS create a Fact Sheet to share information regarding the work of
Council to help mitigate soundscape issues associated with aircraft.
The Council will be responsible for sharing the Best Practices information with the aviation community
and requests that the NPS be responsible for sharing the information internally.
Denali Air Tour Operators Best Practices to Minimize Sound Impacts
The Denali Overflights Council has identified sound sensitive areas in Denali National Park, where
competing uses among park visitors engaging in ground activities (hiking, camping, climbing, etc.) are in
conflict with visitors who are experiencing the park via air tours.
To minimize these conflicts, a working group comprised of council members and air tour operators has
developed a set of â€œbest practicesâ€ to adjust flight patterns, when safety permits, to reduce the sound
impact in these key areas.
Aviation safety is identified as the top priority when conducting flight operations by air tour operators.
While the voluntary procedures described below are recommended, they are subject to the influence of
weather, and local operator and transient traffic operations which may require that aircraft and
helicopters deviate from these procedures to preserve safety for pilots and passenger safety.
Area 1) Triple Lakes Departures and Arrivals
Nature of surface activity: The Triple Lakes trail is heavily used by day hikers during the summer months
between the Parks Highway and Triple Lakes.
Air Tour Operator Procedure: Operators departing from the Denali (Private) Airstrip to the north will
extend their climb beyond the Triple Lakes when practical before turning west. Aircraft arriving from
the west will plan their approach to use minimum power settings to reduce sound impacts on this area.
Helicopters departing from the ERA Heliport proceed upriver in a maximum allowed performance climb
to Crisscross, before turning west to cross the Triple Lakes Trail.
Area 2) Park Road Corridor and Entrance
Nature of surface activity: During the summer season, June 1 through mid September, Park Road
Visitors and backpackers may be subject to aircraft noise from air taxi and flightseeing operations.
Air Tour Operator Procedure: Operators conducting air taxi and flightseeing operations in the Park will
avoid flying over the Park Road when conditions allow. Operators will shift flights to the North of the
Park Road Corridor as conditions allow. Arrival and departure procedures will make use of Healy Canyon
when feasible. The goal is to minimize sound impact for those in the backcountry and traveling by bus
into the Park.
Area 3) Mt. McKinley Summit Flights
Nature of surface activity: During climbing season (late April to early July) climbers at the high camps,
14,000 and 17,000 foot camps and enroute to the summit are subject to aircraft sound from summit
Air Tour Operator Procedure: Operators conducting summit flights are requested to avoid the 17,000
and the 14,000 foot camps and make approaches east of the south summit and north of the north
summit. The goal is to minimize sound impact on the high camps and along the summit route by not
flying close to these areas.
Area 4) Kahiltna Pass Crossings
Nature of surface activity: During climbing season (late April to early July) climbers traveling up
the Kahiltna Glacier and located at the 11,000 foot camp are subject to sound from aircraft
crossing Kahiltna Pass.
Air Tour Operator Procedure: Operators planning to fly through Kahiltna Pass are asked to
climb to a safe crossing altitude well before arriving at the pass and avoid orbiting at climb
power in or south of the pass to minimize sound impact for climbers.
These procedures are designed to reduce sound impact in these key areas of Denali National
Park. They are subject to refinement and revision as operational experience is gained.
April 13, 2010