The mornings are cooler, and the days are slightly cooler, so it appears fall is finally arriving with the promise of great flying weather. At least for now, longer comfortable morning flights are possible. With the onset of the fall weather, our flying season activity is starting to pick up with the notices of upcoming aviation fly-in events. It’s unfortunate that one of the major events, the Copperstate Fly In, will not be in October, but will be in the early spring, combined with the regularly scheduled Buckeye Air Fair on February 8-10. Check the APA calendar to see what current flying events are coming up.

As many are only too keenly aware, the general aviation pilot population is getting older, and there are things that seem to come along with that aging process. One of those things is Atrial Fibrillation, or AFib. It may not necessarily be part of the aging process, but in any case, the question that I am often asked is, will this affect my flight medical? AFib, is one of the most common heart problems that health care providers treat. AFib is an arrhythmia that results in unsynchronized electrical conduction that inhibits proper contraction of the upper chamber of the heart. So, the question is, for FAA medical certification or BasicMed qualification purposes, is AFib considered to be “coronary heart disease” requiring a special issuance authorization? Under BasicMed, there are four heart conditions that require a one-time special issuance: coronary heart disease that has required treatment; a myocardial infarction (heart attack); heart valve replacement; and heart transplant. AFib, like other arrhythmias, is more of an electrical conduction issue and is not considered to be heart disease in the regulatory sense but is considered under the “general medical condition” section of Part 67. The diagnosis still requires a special issuance medical authorization for operations that require a medical certificate. However, for operations under BasicMed, AFib that is well controlled, and followed by your treating physician, does not require a prior special issuance by the FAA.

Obviously, this looks like another example of a benefit of the new BasicMed program.

executive director october 2018 red morning sky


The latest good news is that legislation reauthorizing and funding the FAA for the next five years (H.R. 302) has been passed by a substantial margin in the House of Representatives and is heading to the Senate after a bipartisan agreement on the base language and amendments was reached by transportation committee leaders from both the House and the Senate. The legislation addresses industry workforce programs, aviation safety, drone integration, and other issues, but to the relief of all general aviation, it makes no mention of air traffic control privatization or new user fees. The Senate is expected to approve the measure when it comes to the floor for a vote. If it also passes the Senate, which has to happen before it can be signed into law, it will be the first time that the FAA has received a five-year reauthorization since 1982!

The latest word on the Casa Grande RNAV (GPS) RWY 23 Instrument Approach Procedure is that the City of Casa Grande wants to retain the published approach to encourage/accommodate corporate aircraft use of the airport. The city is planning for and anticipating significant industrial development, so they believe the airport can and will have a positive influence on that future industrial growth. They want to have an airport that can accommodate safe all-weather use of the airport now and in the future. Because instrument approaches can be difficult and time consuming to implement, they decided it would be prudent to retain the published RNAV (GPS) approach procedure. Because of a safety concern of opposing traffic for the intensive instrument training occurring on runway 5, members of the Arizona Flight Training Workgroup (AFTW) decided, as a group, to publicize, that the RWY 23 GPS approach should be used only for instrument conditions, and should not be used for training approaches, but rather, use the GPS RWY 23 Instrument Approach at nearby Coolidge Airport (P08) for training approaches.

executive director october 2018 casa grande

Chandler Municipal Airport (CHD) is anticipating having their construction projects completed by the end of the year. In the meantime, watch out for cranes, and check NOTAMS.

Falcon Field (FFZ) presently still has their AWOS system in test mode. Hopefully they will get it online soon. There may be small construction projects in process in the non-movement areas, so be alert, and check for FFZ NOTAMS.

Deer Valley Airport (DVT) still has run up area construction projects in process, so check DVT NOTAMS and use caution.

There are a number of other airports around the state that have significant projects under way that could impact your use of the airport. Therefore, before taking off, always be sure to check for NOTAMS at your destination airport so you don’t have an unexpected surprise awaiting you. Always Fly Informed.

executive director october 2018 aviation safety


Flight safety wasn’t very good this last reporting period. The NTSB reported seven accidents with three of them resulting in a total of five fatalities. So far this year, the flight safety record is looking pretty grim. There are three more months left in the year, and we all need to do whatever we can to see that the number of serious accidents, and fatalities, stop for the rest of the year. Please be cautious in your flying. See my October Aviation Accident Summary for details of this month’s accidents. Inflight loss of control and flight into terrain still seems to be high on the accident list. Once again, we need to “Get It Right in Maneuvering Flight.” More than 25% of general aviation fatal accidents occur during the maneuvering phase of flight — turning, climbing, or descending close to the ground. The vast majority of these accidents involve buzzing attempts and stall/spin scenarios (half of which are while in the traffic pattern). For additional guidance, go to “FAA Maneuvering Flight Safety.”

GPS interference testing is still happening, and six last minute notices were received from the FAA in this reporting period. Some of these tests should have impacted flight operations in Arizona. Again, if you encounter an unexplained interruption in GPS navigation lasting several minutes, inform ATC with the time, date, and location of signal loss.

As you are aware, APA is working with several airports around the state to update their Airport Master Plans, providing the pilot and aircraft owner’s perspective in the process. Currently, APA is assisting Falcon Field (FFZ) and their update should be completed early next year. Superior Municipal Airport (E81), Sedona Airport (SEZ), Flagstaff (FLG), and Grand Canyon Airport (GCN) airports are currently in their Master Plan update process.

executive director october 2018 places to go for breakfast


  • The fly in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08) is restarting and is on the first Saturday of the month beginning October 6.
  • The Falcon Field EAA Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast and car show is on the third Saturday of the month and will resume October 20. Starting this year they will also have a Fly Market during the breakfast. If you have an aviation item to sell, bring it and sell it, or come and see what’s for sale that you must have.
  • The fly in breakfast at Benson (E95) at Southwest Aviation is now on a quarterly basis and the next one is scheduled for Oct 20, 2018. (There are still special fuel prices for breakfast attendees.)
  • The Grapevine Airstrip (88AZ) next to Roosevelt Lake is open to fly into any time. The APA hosts a delicious BBQ lunch on the third Saturday of each month, and we hope to see you all out there.
  • The Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ)’s restaurant, Foxtrot Cafe, is open 6:30am to 2:00pm Monday thru Saturday. On the last Saturday of the month they have a “Fly in Breakfast Special” available on the menu; the price for adults is $8 and kids $5.
  • At Tucson’s Ryan Field Airport, Richie’s Cafe is serving breakfast and lunch daily. The hours are 6:00 am to 2:00 pm 


Check with the

APA Getaway Flights
program and online calendar

for fun weekend places to fly.


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