By Jim Timm JimTimm

July 2017

 

Summer really is here! It doesn’t feel like it’s possible to get up early enough to beat the heat and go flying. It’s a taxing time of the year for both pilot and plane. Maybe I’m just getting old and cranky, but this time of the year flying becomes more of a chore than all fun. Thank goodness it doesn't last very long. When you get out there, be sure to drink plenty of water. Dehydration can compromise your thinking and reactions. Take a frozen bottle of water with you, fly safe, and watch density altitude.

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Now is the time to make your voice heard. The issue of privatization of the air traffic control (ATC) system, and a plan to provide stable funding for FAA operations, is being discussed by our legislators in Washington, and we need to let them know what our concerns and wishes are.

The administration’s privatization plan would be to move air traffic control services to a not-for-profit corporation overseen by a board of directors drawn from industry, aviation groups, and the government. The proposal would be based on a bill introduced by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., who envisions a governing board of directors with overwhelming representation from the airlines, who would argue that as the biggest users of the system, they should have the biggest say. The concern is that with airline domination of the nation’s airways, towers, and centers, GA will be pushed to the fringes of the system with less access and higher costs.

Breaking apart the system to establish a monopoly would take the focus off the substantial progress already being made by the FAA, and possibly compromise safety to fix a system that's not broken. Our present air traffic control system is the best in the world, moving more aircraft, more safely and efficiently, than any other country, and the system operates for the public benefit, providing access for all stakeholders to airports, heliports, and airspace. Dismantling the current system will devastate GA, while not accomplishing the desired goals of efficiency and technological improvements.

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Points to consider:

ATC services are now funded by the taxes and fees that we all pay. Privatization would likely result in additional fees for the same service.

What will this mean to the small private general aviation pilot?

It would be economically devastating to us, and could have serious negative safety implications. Most likely, pilots would stop using ATC flight following assistance on cross country flights, with the potential for inadvertent airspace intrusions.

Pilots may press on in marginal VFR weather rather than seeking the safety of filing IFR flight plans, and the list could go on.

Currently we have the largest and safest ATC system in the world. We don’t see how privatization would benefit the system. What we have now is xworking efficiently, and well. It doesn’t need fixing. Anytime the government calls something broke that isn’t, you’d better look at the money trail!

We think the public interests are best served by an agency with democratic oversight rather than by a small group dominated by commercial interests.

Now is the time to contact your legislators in Washington immediately and tell them to oppose ATC Privatization, and support measures to provide a more stable funding for FAA operations. Visit this site to determine your federal representative and contact them by telephone and email! 

 

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MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS

Last month I mentioned that the FAA, in their effort to conform to ICAO standards, was going to change the Identifier for Gateway Airport in Mesa from IWA to AZM because IWA was already used for Ivanovo Airport in Ivanovo, Russia. A few days ago I got an e-mail telling me the change is on hold without much of an explanation. GUESS WHAT, AZM is also used for the Azamgarh Airport in Uttar Pradesh, India. Well, back to the drawing board. You would have thought someone in the FAA working the problem would have made a simple quick online identifier check. Stick around, and we’ll see what they come up with next.

To ensure a safe and seamless transition, the June date for implementing the FAA requirement to use the International Flight Plan (ICAO) format for all civil domestic flights filed with Flight Service has been postponed until the fall of 2017.  The FAA will provide a 30 day advance notice when the final date has been selected.

The Marine Corps at 29 Palms is planning a large scale training exercise August 7 through August 26. The exercise will have a new temporary SUA activated to support the aviation requirements, and the SUA will be located west of R-2501. The exercise will include the temporary SUA, all of the R-2501 areas, a temporary CAX MOA, and the Turtle MOA. During this exercise, also use extra caution around the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, and be sure to check NOTAMS before flying in the area of the exercise during these dates. See pages 14-17 of this newsletter for more details.

A couple of days before the scheduled event, we got notification of GPS Interference Testing that was going to be conducted on June 23 & 24, and June 28 in Sierra Vista that could have impacted GPS navigation in all of Arizona. If at any time you encountered a loss of GPS navigation signal lasting more than a minute or two that was unexplained, notify the nearest FAA Air Traffic Control facility advising them of the time, location, altitude and nature of signal loss. Also please advise APA with the same information.

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Flight safety this last reporting period was relatively good. The good news is that there were only four accidents reported, down one from last period, and there were no fatalities or injuries reported. One airplane experienced a loss of control while rapidly exiting the runway after landing, and damaged the landing gear and fuselage. Another airplane started to lose power shortly after takeoff, and while attempting to land, landed short of the runway significantly damaging one wing and the landing gear. The other two accidents reported by the NTSB were devoid details other than date, location, and aircraft identification. See my July Aviation Accident Summary for the available accident details.

In spite of the heat, there are still major and minor construction projects going on at several airports around the state, and in the Phoenix area. Before you take off, make sure you check for NOTAMS at your destination airport so you don’t have a hot surprise awaiting you when you arrive, and if you are flying into the higher altitude airports, be sure to check the density altitude, and review your aircraft performance data. 

APA is still continuing 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 City of Superior has just started an update of their Municipal Airport master plan. An update of the Sedona Airport (SEZ), Flagstaff (FLG), 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), normally on the first Saturday of the month, is on hiatus until October. 
  • The Falcon Field EAA Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast and car show on the third Saturday had their last Breakfast in May. They will resume in October when it is cooler again.
  • The third Saturday of the month there is still a fly in breakfast at Benson (E95) at Southwest Aviation. (There are special fuel prices for breakfast attendees.)
  • On the third Saturday, around noon, the lunch that had been made available by APA at the USFS Grapevine Airstrip (AZ88) next to Roosevelt Lake is also discontinued until October.
  • 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 through 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. Because it’s in the air conditioned terminal building, it’s continuing on through the summer.

 

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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