By Jim Timm
Well, it’s almost that time of the year that you’r forced to get out early to be able to get some smooth comfortable flying in. I just got back from flying to Kearny for breakfast. Not a very long ride but very nice. The group had planned on going up north, but with the fires in the area, the plan was nixed. At this time of the year, be sure you get a last minute flight briefing that includes NOTAMS and TFRS that could have resulted from a forest fire that just started that you didn’t know about. Unfortunately, we are in that time of the year when we need to be aware of and avoid the fires and the resultant fire fighting air tanker operations. Fly safe and use caution.
It was good to see and be able to talk with many of you that attended the APA Annual meeting on May 10th at Gateway Airport. We were honored this year to have Mark Baker, President of AOPA, as our keynote speaker. As a result of the annual directors election, I think we again have a winning team for the coming year.
General Aviation Pilot Protection Act: Bills have been introduced in both the U. S. House and Senate that would exempt thousands of general aviation pilots from requiring a third-class medical certificate to fly. Under the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act (GAPPA), pilots who make noncommercial VFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats would be exempt from the third-class medical certification process. Pilots would be allowed to carry up to five passengers, fly at altitudes below 14,000 feet msl and fly no faster than 250 knots. We need to urge everyone to contact their representative in the House and Senate and either thank them for cosponsoring the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act (H.R. 3708 in the House and S. 2103 in the Senate), or tell their representative why the bill is so important to general aviation and ask them to become a cosponsor. When you contact your legislator, inform them you are a constituent and that:
• You support H.R. 3708 in the House and S.2103 in the Senate.
• This bill expands on the FAA’s successful sport pilot medical standard.
• This measure will save pilots and the FAA money and time.
• This bill addresses the number one concern of pilots.
• General aviation is a vital part of the nation’s transportation system and you hope they will be a cosponsor OR thank them for being a cosponsor.
The following Arizona legislators have signed on as cosponsors: (Both are in the House of Representatives)
Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ 1)
David Schweikert (R-AZ 6)
Contact you legislators now!
The FAA has announced, the first UAS test site is operational. On April 21, 2014, the FAA announced that the first of six selected test site for performing unmanned aircraft system (UAS) research is now operational in North Dakota. The FAA granted the North Dakota Department of Commerce team a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) to begin using a Draganflyer X4ES, a small UAS, at its Northern Plains Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site. The COA is effective for two years.
“North Dakota has really taken the lead in supporting the growing unmanned aircraft industry,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We look forward to the contributions they and the other test sites will make toward our efforts to ensure the safe and efficient integration of UAS into our nation’s skies.”
The LAFB Safety Office has advise us, that after having gone several months without intrusions into the Goldwater Range restricted areas, recently there have been several very serious intrusions. In some cases it appeared that the aircraft were going directly to or from Mexico from the valley. Military aircraft operating in these ranges are training with live munitions and intrusions have resulted in scrubbed missions that had to be rescheduled at great cost to us, the taxpayers. We have also been advised that, as a result, the Air Force will be tracking intruders and make every effort to identify them and take civil action against them. Know where you are! An intrusion could be costly in many ways.
Have you encountered a problem using the Phoenix Terminal Area Air Traffic Control services or the Class Bravo airspace? The Phoenix TRACON would like to know so the problems can get corrected. To assist in problem reporting, the TRACON has developed an easy to use form for submitting a question or reporting a problem. The link for the form is http://goo.gl/1Ycixc . By submitting this form, it will ensure that they quickly get all of the information they need to effectively review an event.
Phoenix Gateway Airport (IWA) is rebuilding the approach end of Runway 30L and adding a mid-field water detention basin. The project was expected to start on May 27, 2014 and conclude sometime around mid-December 2014. From time to time, taxiway and runway closures will result from this construction and it’s impossible to say that no impact will be felt by the users. However no restrictions are being imposed that should affect flight training. If traffic or airport conditions warrant, ATC may be compelled to temporarily restrict certain operations.
Be sure to check NOTAMS before flight! Several other airports in the Phoenix area are also planning runway work this summer.
GPS Interference testing is still occurring. This last reporting period we’ve received notices for three locations, Yuma, (Two notices for two different sets of dates), Mina, NV. and Alamorgordo, NM that could impact Arizona. Unfortunately, we receive these notices only a few days before the testing is to take place, making it impossible to provide you with a timely notification. If you do encounter inflight problems with getting a useable GPS navigation signal, contact ATC and advise us of it also, providing the date, time, location and altitude.
Aviation safety must be a concern for all of us. This last reporting period was not a good one. From the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) records, there were five accidents that occurred in Arizona in this last reporting period. Of the five accidents reported, three of them were fatal accidents.
One the five accidents had not had a report issued. An effort is continuing to determine if an alternate, and more current, source of information is available. The information presently available is contained in the June 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 or will be working on the up dating of the Pinal Regional Airport, the Gila Bend Municipal Airport and Deer Valley Airport Master Plans. The Bagdad Airport and Nogales International Airport Master Plans have been completed.
THINGS TO DO - PLACES TO GO FOR BREAKFAST:
The first Saturday of the month fly in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08) has ended for the summer. Watch for their restart notice in the fall.
On the second Saturday of the month, the Ryan Field (RYN) fly in buffet breakfast has ended for the summer. It is expected to restart in September.
The Falcon EAA Warbirds Squadron Breakfast on the third Saturday has been suspended until October 18 when the weather cools down again.
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 still a fly in breakfast at Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ) that runs from 7:00 am until 10:00 The breakfast is inside the air conditioned terminal building and it is anticipated to continue through the summer.
(The Casa Grande and Coolidge fly in breakfasts are put on by community service groups to raise funds for community service projects.)
Check the APA Calendar for our Getaway Flights program for weekend places to fly.