GAARMS Report: February 2017 fred-gibbs
Fred Gibbs 

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The first crash occurred on January 2nd when a C210 was destroyed when it collided with mountainous terrain about 11 miles north of Payson at an elevation of only 6601 feet. The aircraft departed the valley VFR enroute to Telluride. The NTSB report stated:

Preliminary Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Air Traffic ontrol (ATC) radar data showed an airplane that had departed SDL with a VFR transponder code on a direct course for the pilot's destination airport. After approximately 12 minutes of flight, the airplane reached a final cruising altitude of about 7,950 feet mean sea level. The airplane subsequently descended about 1,300 feet in one minute before it entered a momentary climb, followed by a shallow descent. In the remaining two and a half minutes, the airplane maintained a 300 foot per minute descent rate with some intermittent climbs. The final two radar targets showed the airplane ascend about 425 feet in 12 seconds. The airplane maintained a straight track from SDL to the last radar target, which was within a tenth of a nautical mile of the accident site and indicated a field elevation of 6,670 feet. The private pilot and three passengers were fatally injured. The personal flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed and no flight plan was filed for the cross-country flight…

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I will be very interested to find out if the pilot was using, or intended to use, flight following. According to the data in the NTSB report, the weather at Payson was only 300 feet overcast, thus one could speculate that the pilot intended to fly on top of the clouds, and perhaps he inadvertently encountered clouds.

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The second accident occurred on January 23rd when a Super King Air was destroyed upon impacting a concrete blast fence near the main terminal building of the Tucson International Airport during an attempted takeoff on runway 11 left. The weather at the time was good VFR, 6000 overcast with 10 miles visibility, but interestingly enough, the surface winds were reported as 240 degrees at 12 knots gusting to 22 knots, a right quartering tailwind. Without pointing any fingers or trying to assess any blame, I pose the question – “Would you take off with a gusting quartering tailwind of 22kts?” I wonder why they chose to? As of the writing of this article, there was no NTSB report available for any further information.


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As I am sure of by now you have all heard that the FAA has agreed to eliminate the 3rd class medical requirements for private pilots and flight instructors, EFFECTIVE May 1st, 2017. However, there is still a requirement associated with private pilots and CFI’s to meet the initial BasicMed requirement and then the “every 4 years” requirement, as well as complete an online BasicMed course every two years and record such actions in your logbook. You will need to become very familiar with the requirements and ensure you meet them. For an in-depth understanding of those requirements, download FAA Advisory Circular AC-86-1,

Alternate Pilot Physical Examination and Education Requirements, dated 1/19/2017. One very important note though is that you CANNOT operate for hire or compensation under the BasicMed concept – that would still require a 3rd class medical. Flight Instruction is exempt from that requirement – FAA has ruled that instructing is a private pilot operation.

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Speaking of flight instructing, as I am writing this article, I am very pleased to report that one of my students executed very good aeronautical decision making this morning by deciding NOT to fly down to Prescott for his private pilot checkride, based on the weather and runway conditions here at Flagstaff. Surface winds of 20 gusting to 30 knots, whipping the snow all around the place, and of course, a cross wind scenario, with icy ramp and taxiways, not to mention the patchy snow and ice on the runway, and an outside temperature of 16 degrees with a wind chill of 5!! The urge to complete the flight test was strong, and the fact that getting a date for a checkride is a tough road to hoe, good decision making should always win out in this situation. He got a big “Pass” in aeronautical decision making. I have always taught that discretion is the better part of valor – live to fight (or fly) another day.

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I am now airplane-less, but I will survive! It is annual time as of January 31st, and with the weather up here in Flag really throwing a crimp into flying, I decided to just keep the airplane snug as a bug in the hangar and wait until the middle of February to put the airplane into inspection, getting it out the first week of March. I certainly get enough flying time instructing, so my airplane can just rest! Hopefully winter will have run its course by March and the weather will start cooperating. We shall see…


Should you desire a safety or educational program at your local airport, simply contact me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or call me at 410-206-3753. The Arizona Pilots Association provides the safety programs at no charge. We can also help you organize a program of your choice, and we can recommend programs that your pilot community might really like.



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