By Jim Timm
The flying weather has been fantastic and I hope everyone is able to take advantage of it. It’s that time of the year when there are a lot of flying activities taking place and it’s difficult keeping track of them all, much less deciding which one to take part in.
For many years APA has been advocating for northern Arizona RADAR coverage and the ability to have lower altitude tower to tower air traffic control service and it has finally happened. On Thursday, February 6th, the Phoenix TRACON assumed responsibility for the northern airspace in the Prescott, Sedona and Flagstaff area.
The active hours of the TRACON operation are as follows:
- PHX TRACON will control the airspace from 6:00am until 10:00pm local time.
- At night when the Flagstaff tower is closed, you will still be able to contact PHX TRACON on the ground until 10:00pm on frequency 126.375
- Albuquerque Center will control the airspace from 10:00pm until 6:00am local time.
- ABQ Center will still be using frequency 124.5
The following is the TRACON Letter to Airmen regarding the airspace transfer.
DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
PHOENIX TERMINAL RADAR APPROACH CONTROL
3500 EAST SKY HARBOR BOULEVARD
PHOENIX, ARIZONA 85034-4400
ISSUED: December 12, 2013
EFFECTIVE: February 6, 2014
PHOENIX TERMINAL RADAR APPROACH CONTROL LETTER TO AIRMEN NO. 13-01
SUBJECT: Northern Arizona Airspace Transfer
CANCELLATION: April 6, 2014
February 6, 2014, Phoenix Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON) will begin providing approach control services in the airspace of northern Arizona surrounding Prescott Ernest A. Love Field, Sedona Airport, and Flagstaff Pulliam Airport. This service will be provided by Phoenix TRACON coincident with the operating hours of Prescott tower (1300-0500z or 0600- 2200L). The use of terminal procedures and rules will permit a greater range of flexibility than enroute rules and will result in more efficient handling of aircraft than has existed in the past. TRACON controllers will provide IFR services to IFR aircraft, as well as VFR flight following and practice approach services to VFR aircraft.
The change was originally planned to occur on December 12, 2013 however, the transfer of airspace from Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center (Center) to Phoenix TRACON has been unavoidably delayed until February 6, 2014.
The attached diagram depicts the new airspace to assist pilots in selecting the correct frequency when requesting Air Traffic Services from Phoenix TRACON.
Any questions regarding the airspace transfer may be directed to Mr. Erik Bowring, Phoenix TRACON Operations Support Manager at (602) 306-2514.
Phillip D. Thornton
Air Traffic Manager
Per Fred Gibbs, APA’s director for aviation safety programs, “one new benefit of this airspace change, which only you IFR guys will benefit from, is the addition of a new FDIO device in the KFLG tower. This should/could expedite IFR clearances and releases in the future – the tower will have a clearance ready for you when you call, and, if all works out right, a release time. However, these are fluid, and often depends on if you can make the 5 minute window allotted to your release. Anyway, the FDIO should improve things in the future.”
The following is a chart of the area with the appropriate frequencies.
New Phoenix TRACON Northern Arizona Airspace is out lined in red.
The FAA Phoenix TRACON will host an "Operation Raincheck" event which provides an opportunity for pilots to become better acquainted with the air traffic control system, its equipment and facilities. The program provides an overview of air traffic control services and inherent limitations. The 4-hour event is designed to foster mutual understanding, a spirit of cooperation and a free exchange of information. The event will be held on Saturday, March 22, 2014 from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM at Phoenix TRACON. Space is limited to 25 persons. You may sign up at the link provided below on a first-come, first-reserved basis.
Sign-up link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/spring-2014-phoenix-tracon-operation-raincheck-tickets-10622140107
A reminder, Luke AFB will be having their open house and air show on March 15 and 16. The Air Force’s Thunderbirds precision demonstration team will be performing and Luke’s latest aircraft, the F35 Lightening II is expected to be on static display along with a display of other military aircraft. Be sure you have the dates on your calendar.
Aviation safety should be a concern for all of us. From the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) records, there were four accidents that occurred in Arizona in this last reporting period. In the previous reporting period two of the reports were devoid of accident information and in this reporting period all four of the accident reports were also devoid of information. Since the first of the year the six NTSB accident reports have only contained the date and location of the accident and the aircraft identification, thus making the reports useless for developing safety programs. Efforts are being made to find another source of information. The limited information available is contained in the abbreviated March accident report.
APA continues to work with airports around the state providing the general aviation user perspective in the process of updating their Airport Master Plans. We are presently working on the up dating of the Pinal Regional Airport, Bagdad Airport, Nogales International Airport, and the Gila Bend Municipal Airport Master Plans.
THINGS TO DO - PLACES TO GO FOR BREAKFAST:
The first Saturday of the month, is a fly in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08).
Time: 8:00 to 11:00 am.
The second Saturday of the month Ryan Field (RYN) has a fly in buffet breakfast available. The breakfast is available in the building between Todd’s Cafe and the fuel pits. Breakfast will run from 8:00 am to noon from February thru April and restart in September and run thru November.
The third Saturday of the month there is a fly in breakfast at Benson (E95) at Southwest Aviation.
(Often there have been very special fuel prices for breakfast attendees.)
The last Saturday of the month there is a fly in breakfast at Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ)
(The Coolidge and Casa Grande fly in breakfasts are put on by a service group in their respective communities to raise funds for community service projects.)
Check the APA Calendar for our Getaway Flights program for weekend places to fly.
THERE IS ANOTHER NEW FLY IN BREAKFAST VENUE!
The latest fly in breakfast that has been announced is also on the third Saturday of the month. This one, starting in March, is at Falcon Field (FFZ) and is being put on by the newly formed EAA Warbirds Squadron located in what was the west Champlin Museum hangar. The breakfast is being put on by the Warbird Squadron and the Airport Fire Fighter’s Union. Breakfast will be served from 7:00 am until 11:00 am in the Warbirds hangar. See the flyer for more details.