The Overflights Program works cooperatively with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Park Service parks, and air tour operators to develop air tour management agreements. The agreements are designed to protect park resources and visitor use without compromising aviation safety or the nation's air traffic control system. They establish conditions for conducting air tours, including specific routes, altitudes, number of flights, type of aircraft, hours of operations, and reporting requirements.
Air Tour Management Plans
The National Park Service (NPS) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continue working together to implement the National Parks Air Tour Management Act (NPATMA). Voluntary Agreements (VAs) are currently in place in four parks (Big Cypress National Preserve, Biscayne National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreational Area, and Rainbow Bridge National Monument). The agencies will be developing additional VAs or Air Tour Management Plans (ATMPs) for the following park units: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Badlands National Park, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Mount Rainier National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Rainbow Bridge National Monument, and Death Valley National Park. More detailed information with respect to the plans for each park will be available after September 30, 2019. Questions should be directed to Jeffrey Olson, Chief, Natural Resource Office of Communication. Email Jeffrey Olson.
The agreements are available on request. Contact the Natural Sounds and Night Skies Division for information.
The NPS and FAA collect information from air tour companies that fly over national parks. The companies submit their information on the Commerical Air Tours Reporting Form. The data provide high-level overviews of air tour activity, including the number of flights per year.
- 2018 Annual Report [2,187 KB]
- 2017 Annual Report [2,719 KB]
2017 Report Update No. 1
9/27/2018, 2719 KB
- 2016 Annual Report [1.10 MB PDF]
- 2015 Annual Report [794 KB PDF]
- 2014 Annual Report [771 KB PDF]
- 2013 Annual Report [2,698 KB PDF]
The NPS and FAA jointly established the National Parks Overflights Advisory Group in 2001. This group provides continuing advice and counsel with respect to commercial air tour operations over and near national parks. They work with other stakeholders, such as air tour operators and tribes, to address a range of general aviation and environmental concerns.
Learn more about the history of air tours from the NPS Story Map of the History of Overflights at National Park Service Units.
The NPS Overflights team also provides technical assistance to parks. Assistance includes monitoring acoustic conditions, analyzing acoustic and visitor survey data, developing ambient acoustic baseline information, and planning for the management of air tours.
- Air Tour Management Agreements_FAQ [33 KB PDF]
Note: Document is being updated and is temporarily unavailable; if you require help email us.
- Commercial Air Tours Reporting Form [Excel]
- Commercial Air Tours Reporting Guidance [1,379 KB PDF]
Note: PDF is temporarily unavailable while being remediated to meet 508 accessibility standards. Contact the division if you require this document.
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Tour Management Program
- FAA's Low-flying Aircraft Reporting
- National Park Service Overflight Act of 1987 (Public Law 100-91)
This Act of Congress mandated a number of studies related to the effects of overflights on parks and directed the National Park Service to report to Congress its results. In July 1995, NPS published Report to Congress on Effects of Aircraft Overflights on the National Park System.
- National Parks Air Tour Management Act of 2000 as amended.
The National Parks Air Tour Management Act has been amended several times by separate public laws. 49 United States Code Section 40128, Overflights of National Parks, collates the original law with subsequent amendments, and deletes language that has been repealed.
Last updated: August 9, 2019