What’s New


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 “Best Practices” defined in

cooperation with the aviation community, and are asked to report specific events that are

significant departures of the industry defined “best practices”, 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 “best practices” 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