Jim Timm, Executive DirectorJimTimm.png

I hope everyone has been taking advantage of the good flying weather, and based on this month’s safety report, you have been doing it safely.

The Back Country Airport division of APA received the good news this past month, that the US Forrest Service planners must now consider aviation uses in their plans, whether it be preserving or maintaining backcountry air strips. In considering recreational opportunities in their plans, the new definition of recreational opportunities includes “non­motorized, motorized, developed and dispersed recreation on land, water, and in the air.” The rule provides guidance for every national forest plan and planner in the United States. Unfortunately, aviation use wasn’t even acknowledged in the previous planning rules. Hopefully. with this new ruling, we may see access to some more back country air strips.

The FAA must move to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System and they have until mid-2012 to establish a program to integrate unmanned aircraft into the national airspace at six test sites. The FAA is seeking input for the location of the test sites for integrating the UAS, and Arizona may have one of those sites. The Benson Airport area is being considered as one of the prime locations for one of the test ranges. The notice for comments has been published in the Federal Register and public comments will be accepted until May 8, 2012. If you have concerns, you may submit comments identified by Docket Number FAA-2012-0252 using any of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and follow the online instructions for sending your comments electronically.

Mail: Send comments to Docket Operations, M-30; U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Room W12-140, West Building Ground Floor, Washington, DC 20590-0001.

The document title is: Unmanned Aircraft Test sites.

Vintage aircraft owners got a big win with the recent FAA Authorization Bill signed by the President. The measure included a provision that authorizes the FAA to release certain type certificate and design data for aircraft no longer supported by a manufacturer.

The specific element of the bill (section 302) provides that the FAA can release "abandoned" data that is essential to safely maintain and operate vintage aircraft. That includes data for aircraft such as those built by long-defunct companies whose type certificates were not acquired or maintained. It also gives the FAA the authority to declare that data as abandoned, and releasable to the public if aviation safety will be enhanced by the information for aircraft, engines, propellers, and other aircraft appliances. An additional amendment to the Re-authorization Bill (section 816) requires the FAA to maintain engineering data relating to aircraft that were certificated between 1927 and 1939, and precludes the destruction of any airworthiness and historically significant documentation.

In the way of miscellaneous notes:

This past month there was GPS testing that had occurred at Fort Irwin, CA and at Beatty, NV that could have impacted GPS use in portions of Arizona. Unfortunately, when we get notification of these tests, the time is so short that it is not possible to alert our membership. Again, we would like to request, when you are flying, if you note a problem with the GPS navigation signal, please note the time, location and altitude and advise us.

The Phoenix 99’s are having a Flying Companion Seminar on April 21st at Scottsdale Airport. It will be held in the Business Center Conference room. Check in time is 8:45 am and the program runs to 4:00 pm. The program is “For the flying companion that wants to know more about being in the air”. Call 623-486-7255 for more details or to make reservations.

Mesa Falcon Field (FFZ) has completed the Phase I mid-field taxiway reconfiguration for the south runway and the runway is now open for use. Phase 2 has begun, which means the north runway will now be closed for completion of a similar mid-field taxiway reconstruction project with the construction of angled taxiway exits and installation of elevated runway guard lights. The entire program should be wrapped up by very early May. In the meantime, be extra alert when flying into or out of Falcon Field during this construction project because of the high traffic density using the single runway.

There are numerous airport construction projects that are taking place at Flagstaff Municipal Airport (FLG). Be sure to check NOTAMS before flying in to avoid surprises.

To celebrate Arizona’s centennial, the Arizona Airports Association is planning an Arizona Centennial Fly In at Ryan Field (RYN) on May 19. Plans include a pancake breakfast for early arrivals, a Military fly over, a wings safety seminar, manufacturer’s displays and various aviation organizations will have displays. Tentatively, the event is planned to run from about 7:00 AM to noon.

The General Aviation Accident Reduction and Mitigation Symposium (GAARMS), was held on March 14 & 15 at the Mesa Public Safety Facility near Falcon field. The program was well attended and I’m certain, all who attended found the outstanding speakers to be very informative. The results of the symposium are being summarized and hopefully, a report can be made available for the next newsletter.

Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08) has an AWOS operating in test mode at the present time on a frequency of 119.35 . It is also available by phone at 520-723-4920. It is functioning accurately and should be “officially on line” soon.

We are continuing to work with airports around the state by providing the general aviation user input in the planning process of updating their Airport Master Plans.

Since my last report to you, the NTSB has not reported any aviation accidents or incidents in Arizona. After the past few months, when we have had some rather bad accidents with fatalities that didn’t need to happen, it’s a big relief to be able to skip the monthly summarizing of NTSB accident reports. I hope we can continue the trend.

For places to fly for breakfast on the weekend.

The first Saturday of the month is the Coolidge Airport Fly In Breakfast.

The breakfast at Casa Grande Municipal Airport is once again being held on the last Saturday of the month. Worth noting, the breakfast is served inside the airport terminal.

Both events are put on by Community Service Groups to raise funds.

Please continue to fly safe.

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