By Jim Timm JimTimm

April 2018 

 

Spring is in full swing, and the flying weather has been generally pretty good thus far. With some daytime temperatures already in the 90’s, and the increased number of bugs that come with that, I’ve already been finding my windshield spattered with an unavoidable bug or two. Spring is here, or I’ve just been flying too low. With some of the windy days we’ve had, now’s the time to get out there and brush up on those crosswind landing techniques, and in doing so, please don’t wind up on the “Loss Of Control Landing” accident list. So, let’s get out, face the challenge, and go flying.

executive director 2018 04 ads-b lawsuits

Speaking of flying too low, perhaps you may remember my commenting last January on the problem of residents in a northeast area of the valley complaining about small aircraft overflights. Folks on the ground are using ADS-B out information and various other questionable means of acquiring aircraft identification and altitude, and then having an attorney send out letters threatening possible FAA action against pilots that are allegedly flying too low. The problem is not going away by any means. The flight schools and pilots flying in the general area north of Dynamite Rd. and east of Scottsdale Rd. to the Verde River have been receiving these letters in increasing numbers. A very active APA member, and Aviation Safety Advisory Group (ASAG) member, has been closely monitoring the issue, and offered the following observations, and suggestions.

“Within the past year, the flight schools operating out of our local airports around the valley have been receiving letters from lawyers representing clients around the area we know as the Northeast practice area. This area is roughly north of Dynamite Road and east of Scottsdale Road to the Verde River.  The people lodging the complaints are using ADS-B data from programs such as Flight Aware and others available on the web to emphasize their objections to aircraft flying in what they perceive to be an unsafe and reckless manner.  They have even gone so far as to hire an investigator whose sole job is to track aircraft, measure their altitudes, and collect the data; for what reason we are not sure.  While this area is certainly not what many pilots, nor the FAA, consider a highly/densely populated area, it is increasingly being developed with large homes and horse properties.  Many of these people do not appreciate aircraft performing what they perceive as reckless maneuvers, but to instructors, students, and other pilots they are a normal part of flight and flight training.  Simple maneuvers, such as practicing simulated engine failures over what may look like a good emergency landing location, are not perceived as safe by those uninitiated to aviation. The APA, FAA, Arizona Flight Training Working Group, and the FAA Safety Team are beginning to try to establish a conversation with these individuals, but in the meantime, it would benefit all of us to be mindful of where we performing our practice maneuvers.  Make sure you are in compliance with Airman Certification Standards and FARs, and please encourage your fellow pilots to avoid flying in this area in ways that might further antagonize these individuals.  We don’t need reports of low level buzz jobs.  Not here or anywhere.”

executive director 2018 04 ads-b town hall meeting

Because the homeowners in the affected area have been receiving significantly flawed aviation information from their non-aviation savvy attorney, your APA team is working on the issue and attempting to reach out to the concerned residents, attempting to facilitate a “town hall” type of meeting with some of the very concerned homeowners and safety officers from the schools to determine what can be done to help mitigate the perceived risk. We will keep you informed as the process continues.

 

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS

The FAA will discontinue the Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS II) Program effective May 16, 2018. Internet services, including access to weather and aeronautical information, flight plan filing, and automated services will remain available at no charge to pilots at www.1800wxbrief.com. To continue to receive free services, users are encouraged to register with www.1800wxbrief.com. Over the next 60 days, the FAA will work with current DUATS II providers on transition activities, including conducting pilot outreach, and provide assistance to users making the change.

Be advised that Boeing is still conducting heavy lift test operations in the area around Gateway Airport (IWA) with H-47 Chinook helicopters. Continue to be alert, and use caution.

Falcon Field (FFZ) is replacing their runway and taxiway lights with LEDs.  Runway 4L/22R (the north runway) will be closed to all aircraft operations beginning Monday, April 2, 2018, from 8:00pm (local) to 6:00am (local) for approximately 18-21 nights. The runway, 4L/22R, will be open for normal operations each day between the hours of 6:01am (local) and 7:59pm (local). Runway 4R/22L shall remain open at all times. Be sure to always check FFZ NOTAMS for possible changes.

Deer Valley Airport (DVT) also has construction projects underway. So watch for NOTAMS and use caution.

In other words, before taking off, always be sure to check for NOTAMS at your destination airport so you don’t have an unexpected surprise awaiting you. With the cooler weather, many of the airports around the state still have construction projects under way, or possibly an open house. So always fly informed.

executive director 2018 04 unexplained interruption in gps navigation

In the past reporting period there were five last minute notices received for GPS Interference testing going on that could have impacted flight operations in Arizona. Again, if you encounter an unexplained interruption in GPS navigation lasting several minutes, inform ATC with the time, date, and location of signal loss.

Flight safety this last reporting period has been very good with the NTSB only reporting two accidents in Arizona. The preliminary reports of these accidents were not released by the NTSB, thus indicating the accidents were most likely minor in nature with the injuries, if any, most likely minor in nature also. See my March Aviation Accident Summary for available details.

APA continues to work with various airports around the state, providing the pilot and aircraft owner’s perspective in the process of updating their Airport Master Plans. The list of airports that APA is currently working with are Falcon Field (FFZ), Superior Municipal Airport (E81), Sedona Airport (SEZ), Flagstaff (FLG), and Grand Canyon Airport (GCN).

 

 

executive director 2018 04 breakfast

THINGS TO DO - PLACES TO GO FOR BREAKFAST:

  • The fly in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08) is on the first Saturday of the month.
  • The Falcon Field EAA Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast and car show is on the third Saturday of the month. 
  • The Benson (E95) Breakfast is postponed until July 21st.
  • Also on the third Saturday, around noon, a lunch is made available by APA at the USFS Grapevine Airstrip (88AZ) next to Roosevelt Lake. $8 per person donation encouraged.
  • The last Saturday of the month there is a fly in breakfast at Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ). The Airport’s restaurant, Foxtrot Cafe, operating in the Terminal Building, is open 6:30am to 2:00pm Monday thru Saturday. On the last Saturday of the month they have a “Fly in Breakfast Special” available on the menu; the price for adults is $8 and kids $5. 
  • The Tucson Airport Authority has completed the renovation of the restaurant at Ryan Field, and it’s now open under the name of Richie’s Cafe. The hours are 6:00 am to 2:00 pm doing breakfast and lunch daily. 

 

Check with the APA Getaway Flights program and the online calendar for fun weekend places to fly.

 

I hope everyone has been able to get some safe flying time in last month. As for me, like many of you, my flying seems to get limited to the weekends, and we sure have been encountering a lot of windy weekends lately. Anyway, it seems like I’ve gained a lot of crosswind landing experience lately. Flying a light taildragger, some of that experience has been a bit challenging and exciting at times, but what the heck, it’s all been fun, exciting or not. However, from a safety standpoint, we have been encountering a lot of accidents lately, and some of them were pretty bad accidents. Please make certain your aircraft is in good operating condition and fly safely!

 

First off, I want to thank those that made the annual APA meeting in May. It was good to reconnect with some of you once again. Because there were no nominations put forth, the directors whose terms were expiring consented to running for office again and were reelected. The directors will be meeting in June to elect the officers for 2016-17, and the president elect will start the appointment of chairpersons for the various standing committees.

 

As time grows shorter for when we will be required to have ADS-B out equipment installed in our airplanes, there continues to be new information released regarding both programs and equipment. It’s pretty apparent there won’t be any slippage in the mandated implementation date, but there continues to be new information on equipment and compliance. Initially, there were a lot of questions on required equipment and how each installation would have to be accomplished, inspected, and certified. In what I thought was a major breakthrough by the FAA in making implementation much easier and cheaper for us, the FAA announced a new policy that simplifies ADS-B Out installations.

 

The FAA released a policy memo (AFS-360-2016-03-02) on March 2 that updates guidance on installation of ADS-B out systems, essentially allowing avionics shops to install ADS-B equipment on aircraft not covered by a supplemental type certificate (STC) and without having to obtain a new STC. The installer does have to obtain permission from the original STC holder. Earlier in the ADS-B upgrade process, the FAA was requiring that each aircraft model have its own STC. The FAA was concerned and wanted to ensure, as new equipment hit the market, that it worked correctly, so the original policy stated that it could only be installed via STC. They believed this would maintain a high level of their involvement and ensure that aircraft entering airspace (where ADS-B is required) are operating as intended and not creating chaos.

 

Now the FAA has issued the new policy, and it basically states, if the installation is a major alteration, it will still need field approval. This may be the case where a new antenna needs to be installed on a pressurized airplane, for example. A simple ADS-B out installation in a non-pressurized airplane will be a minor alteration and can be signed off by an A&P mechanic holding an Inspection Authorization, or by a Part 145 repair station, and doesn’t require direct FAA involvement. Basically, it’s a simple radio installation. With this change, the much feared bottleneck of getting last minute certified installations accomplished has been averted, and with a significant savings for many of us. (You can read the entire FAA March 2 Memo AFS-360-2016-03-02 here…)

 

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS

 

The FAA is in the process of publishing a list of perhaps over 300 VORs they plan to decommission across the country. They will evaluate the impact of each VOR on approaches, departures, enroute, etc, and hopefully, they will also look to local users for comment. As soon as we obtain a list of those VORs on the decommissioning list that are in Arizona, we will advise you and the APA will be submitting the appropriate commentary to the FAA.

 

In a move to ensure that the Third-Class Medical Reform gets through the U.S. legislature, I noticed that it got attached to a defense funding bill that passed through the Senate’s Armed Services Committee. Passing with a 23-3 in favor vote, the bill, which would authorize $602 billion for the Department of Defense and other national security programs, also includes the pilot medical changes in the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2. This action is in addition to the same thing that is attached to the FAA funding bill presently in process. I guess we now have to wait and see what comes out of the House of Representatives and finally goes to the President.

 

Two new instrument procedures will be published for Cottonwood Airport (P52) on May 26: RNAV (GPS) Runway 32, and MINGY One Departure (RNAV).

 

One of the changes on the Phoenix Sectional and TAC charts on May 28 will be the deletion of several abandoned airports. What the identifiers were or their locations was not given. Better check to see that your favorite airport is not one of them.

 

If you fly into Ak Chin Regional Airport (A39), be advised they now have an AWOS in service on 126.90.

 

Significant construction is going on at Gateway Airport (IWA) and the ILS will be down from time to time. If you are doing instrument training, be sure to check NOTAMS before taking off to check on availability.

 

Be aware, there is a significant amount of airport construction activity going on many of the airports in the Phoenix and Tucson areas, and also around the state. Be sure to check for NOTAMs before taking off for another airport so you don’t encounter a nasty surprise when you get there.

 

The June accident reporting period was certainly not very good. During this reporting period there were six accidents reported with two of them being fatal, involving three fatalities. Three of the accidents reported this period were devoid of information and it would be safe to assume they were not serious from a personal injury standpoint. See my June accident summary for details, and please make certain the airplane you are flying is airworthy and fly carefully. We don’t want to continue at this present rate.

 

APA is still working with various airports around the state, providing the pilot and aircraft owner perspective in the process of updating their Airport Master Plans. An update of the Sedona Airport (SED) and Grand Canyon Airport (GCN) master plans are currently in process.

 

THINGS TO DO - PLACES TO GO FOR BREAKFAST:

 

The fly in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08) on the first Saturday of the month has stopped and will restart the first Saturday in October.

The second Saturday of the month, Ryan Field (RYN) fly in breakfast is available at the restaurant next door.

The Falcon Field EAA Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast and car show on the third Saturday has ceased operation for the summer and will restart in October.

The third Saturday of the month there is a fly in breakfast at Benson (E95) at Southwest Aviation. (There are special fuel prices for breakfast attendees.)

The monthly fly in to Grapevine Airstrip, next to Roosevelt Lake, will stop for the summer, but will resume on the third Saturday of September.

The last Saturday of the month there is still a fly in breakfast at Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ). The Airport’s restaurant, Foxtrot Cafe, operating in the Terminal Building, is open 6:30am to 2:00pm Monday thru Saturday. On the last Saturday of the month they have a “Fly in Breakfast Special” available on the menu; the price for adults is $7 and kids $5.

 

Check with the APA Getaway Flights program and

the online calendar for fun weekend places to fly.

thru this restricted area at any time. The restricted area isn’t very large, and I don’t think the UAV student pilots using the area are any better than our student pilots, and I would consider giving the area a wide berth. Be aware, and avoid a serious problem.

 

Be aware, there is going to be a significant amount of airport construction activity still going on in the Phoenix and Tucson areas, and around the state. Be sure to check for NOTAMs before taking off for another airport so you don’t encounter a nasty surprise when you get there. Also, be sure to add TFRs to your preflight checklist.

 

The past aviation accident reporting period was relatively good with only one accident being reported by the NTSB. The bad news, however, was that it did involve four serious injuries. Perhaps the efforts put forth by the Wings Safety Teams with all the safety briefings has begun to pay off. Based on the low accident/injury rate in 2015, I hope we can get the pilots in Arizona to continue this trend and have a safe flying year in 2016. For more details go to my February Aviation Accident Summary report. By next month, enough of the 2015 NTSB accident information should be available to permit preparation of an accurate year end summary and comparison to previous years.

 

APA is still working with various airports around the state, providing the pilot and aircraft owner perspective in the process of updating their Airport Master Plans. An update of the Sedona Airport (SED), Deer Valley Airport (DVT), and Grand Canyon Airport (GCN) master plans are currently in process.

 

 

 

THINGS TO DO - PLACES TO GO FOR BREAKFAST:

 

 

·The firstSaturdayof the month fly in breakfast is at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08).

 

·The secondSaturdayof the month, Ryan Field (RYN) fly in buffet breakfast should have restarted. However, breakfast is available at the restaurant next door.

 

·The Falcon Field EAA Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast and car show is on the thirdSaturday.

 

 

 

·The thirdSaturdayof the month there is a fly in breakfast at Benson (E95) at Southwest Aviation. (There are special fuel prices for breakfast attendees.)

 

 

·Also on the third Saturday, around noon, a donation lunch is served by the APA at the USFS Grapevine Airstrip over at Roosevelt Lake.

 

 

·The last Saturday of the month there is still a fly in breakfast at Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ). The Airport’s restaurant, Foxtrot Cafe, operating in the Terminal Building, is open 6:30am to 2:00pmMondaythruSaturday. On the last Saturday of the month they have a “Fly in Breakfast Special” available on the menu; the price for adults is $7 and kids $5.

 

 

 

Check with the

APA Getaway Flights
program and online calendar

for fun weekend places to fly.

 

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