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Restrictions on Airspace

January 27, 1988

I've just read a small story about the National Transportation Safety Board calling for the closure of airspace above a newsworthy incident.

Unfortunately, readers don't understand that the NTSB is not a regulatory agency and can't impose new regulations governing airspace. The agency from time to time issues "safety recommendations" that may or may not be followed by Federal Aviation Administration officials.

I received a copy of the NTSB's safety recommendation and find it a shame that the media in general does a poor job in covering issues involving aviation. In 1986 the FAA imposed stricter regulations governing news media flights over newsworthy events; two years later the NTSB recommends the same sort of regulations imposed by the FAA.

To date, I'm the only pilot/reporter in the United States to be charged with flying into alleged restricted airspace under these guidelines after I videotaped the Dean Paul Martin F-4C air crash site in the hills above Banning, Calif. The military has gone on record (in documents filed with the FAA) that it ordered all media flights over the area be banned because the Air National Guard's press relations office didn't want the family to see the pictures.

American television viewers (including high-ranking White House officials) were outraged when KGB agents in Moscow covered the lenses of photographers who were trying to cover a protest. Here in the United States we call it prior restraint, or Federal Aviation Regulation 91.91.

ROBERT TUR

Reporter/Pilot

KNX 1070 News Radio

Los Angeles

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