WASHINGTON — Federal aviation officials said they will lift many of the restrictions that shut down flight schools across the nation in the wake of terrorist attacks last week.
The Federal Aviation Administration said flight schools can resume most flights operating under visual rules today at 4 a.m. PST.
Normally, visual flight rules allow a small aircraft to fly with little contact with air traffic controllers. Most other planes fall under instrumental flight rules, which require more contact with controllers.
Training flights may be conducted in single-engine and multiengine, nonturbojet aircraft of less than 12,500 pounds takeoff weight, the FAA said.
The training must take place in rural areas.
FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said there is no timetable for reopening airspace to accommodate either low-altitude or high-altitude flights. "We’re trying to get the airspace opened as safely and quickly as possible," she said.
Training for piston-powered single- and twin-engine aircraft and helicopters may be conducted from airports within cities except Boston, Washington, D.C., and New York.
Sightseeing flights, which had also been banned, may be conducted in rural areas.
Restrictions continue to apply to news reporting, traffic watch and airships operating under visual flight rules.
In a letter to the FAA, the Radio and Television News Directors Association said the ban on news helicopters was hurting efforts to cover the news.
"Especially in these times, the public deserves news of its own community that is as complete and timely as possible, and the use of news helicopters makes that possible," association president Barbara Cochran said.
FAA information on the Net: www.faa.gov
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