By Jim Timm
There have been a lot of aviation events happening lately and it’s been difficult deciding which to take in. Fortunately, the flying weather has been great and we need to get out there and fly before the hot weather gets here and puts a damper on things.
In the recent APA General Aviation Accident Reduction and Mitigation Symposium (GAARMS III) program, the fatal accidents that had occurred in Arizona this past year were reviewed with a discussion of causes and what could have been done to prevent them. I think we all recognize that flying does present a certain level of risk. And with that recognition, there is action that can and should be taken to manage and minimize the risk. In the case of one accident that was reviewed, something as simple as having a shoulder harness installed in the airplane would have prevented a fatality. The accident occurred because of an engine failure resulting from improper maintenance. A well executed forced landing was made, however, a front seat passenger struck their head on the door post during the landing and was killed. In the GAARMS meeting, a showing of hands indicated there were a couple of pilots present, flying airplanes without shoulder harnesses installed. In some older aircraft the installation of shoulder harnesses can be expensive. But the question needs to be asked, what is a life worth that could be saved with their installation. It’s well recognized that they save lives in automobile accidents, and this accident demonstrated they will do the same in aircraft accidents. Perhaps this is a project APA should undertake, trying to encourage the installation and use of shoulder harnesses and ways to make them affordable.
No matter what we do in our airplanes, we cannot eliminate risk entirely, however we can manage that risk and take measures to mitigate or even eliminate the risk. An example would be the canceling of a flight because of questionable weather or perhaps an unresolved mechanical issue. In any case, we should be concerned with mitigating or reducing the risks our flying may possess.
In an effort to reduce the number of general aviation aircraft accidents and improve safety, the FAA in Washington D.C. is planning on undertaking an explorative study in the immediate Phoenix area to collect general aviation flight data for analysis by a flight safety team. They hope to recruit pilots/aircraft owners to record their flight data and transmit the data to the study team for analysis. A similar program called, Aviation Safety Information Analysis Sharing (ASIAS), is presently in place in the air carrier industry. We are presently meeting with FAA leaders to learn more about the G/A program and APA will be providing more information in the next news letter or in a special e-mail notification.
Last month we reported on Senate Bill SB1174 which, among other things, would have revised the entire aircraft registration and license tax fee system from a percent of aircraft value to a flat fee based on the type of aircraft you own. The bill failed to pass through the legislature, and we are assured that it will resurface for the next legislative session. When it does, APA will be there to make sure that all stake holders meet in advance of the bill moving forward into the legislative process.
Aviation safety needs be a concern for all of us. From the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) records, there were three accidents that occurred in Arizona in this last reporting period. Based on the information made available, one accident resulted in injuries, one resulted in a fatality and the other report did not contain accident details.
Since the first of the year there have been nine aircraft accidents reported, and of these, only two have had a preliminary report filed, and they are contained in this months reporting. An effort will have to be made to determine an alternate source of information. The information presently available is contained in the April 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 at Mesa Falcon Field, a fly in breakfast 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.
Also, on 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 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.