Flight records indicate that low altitude flights over Grand Teton National Park were paid tours, contrary to Wind River Air, LLC claims
Further investigation into the flight records of commercial helicopter tour operator Wind River Air, LLC show 11 additional low overflights within Grand Teton National Park.
Jackson resident Joe Albright has been extensively reviewing records and radar from commercial helicopter tours out of Jackson Hole Airport with the help of Dr. Ronny Schroder, professor of GIS and remote sensing at Embry-Riddle University. The radar signature of these flights is in keeping with the profile of a commercial tour: each flight is round trip around or under an hour at altitudes ideal for observing the scenery below. Additionally, monthly revenue reports filed with the Jackson Hole Airport Board show that Wind River Air collected money from patrons that matched the prices and descriptive names listed on their website on the days when the low overflights with tour profiles occurred.
Albright reports these findings in his second formal letter to the Jackson Hole Airport and Federal Aviation Administration. These paid low overflights are in violation of the voluntary agreement signed by Wind River Air not to fly within park boundaries (except during take off and landing at the Jackson Hole Airport), as well as the Federal Aviation Administration’s general advisory that all pilots avoid flying below 2,000 feet over National Parks.
Albright’s letter includes a formal complaint and will be discussed in public comment at the Airport Board Meeting on March 16. The Alliance encourages you to also attend the Board Meeting April 20 when Wind River Air, LLC’s permit to operate will come up for review.