Winter is obviously approaching with its shorter days because I’m having to turn on the lights to preflight the airplane to make the early Saturday morning breakfast flights. The days are cooler and there is a lot of competition to decide which aviation event on the calendar to go to. Like a friend told me, this is why we put up with the super-hot summers. Some of the “snowbird” pilots are coming back, so let’s get out there and go flying. I’ll be seeing you at some of the airport breakfasts, and please fly safe.

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There is a flight hazard that pilots are concerned about, but it seems that presently there is little that can be done to prevent them, and this is the potentially deadly risk of a collision with birds, or now also Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). In the last few years there have only been a couple of reported incidents of collisions with birds in Arizona that have resulted in injured pilots. The last serious bird collision accident that I am aware of occurred June, 2017, near Arlington, AZ. In this case it was a Vans RV7 that struck several pigeons at an altitude of approximately 7,600 feet MSL, and crashed killing both occupants. A synopsis of the NTSB findings report describing this accident is contained in this month’s Aviation Accident Summary report. While encountering a flock of birds at this altitude may be unusual, encountering them lower altitudes is not. There are some airports that do have a bird problem, and warnings are given on the ATIS. Note these warnings, and if you note a bird or UAS problem, contact ATC immediately, or in some cases, airport management. A collision with a bird can be serious enough, but a collision with a UAS with its much higher mass density would be much worse. Avoiding birds can be accomplished by avoiding flying low near animal feed lots, dumps or land fills, or other bird feeding attractions. Avoiding a UAS is another problem that the FAA is going to be addressing based on a mandate in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 that President Trump just signed into law. Key provisions are aimed at increasing safety and awareness within the recreational drone community, and gives law enforcement virtual carte blanche to react immediately to any perceived drone threat, and lays the foundations for mandatory drone registration and identification. How this plays out in reducing the risk of collision between a UAS and an airplane, we shall see. In the meantime, fly aware, and keep a very sharp look out.



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I hope everyone survived the recent presidential TFRs that essentially shut down all general aviation on a Friday and half of Saturday over the central part of Arizona around Phoenix. I hope no one was the recipient of a personal F16 or F35 escort. I’ll probably find out if there were any in an upcoming meeting with the PHX TRACON.

In the way of good news, I’m sure you all have heard the President signed into law the reauthorization of the FAA for five years without the mention of privatization or user’s fees, AND the FAA has reinstated its $500 rebate program for the installation of ADS-B out equipment effective through October 11, 2019. This is applicable to certified aircraft only; somewhere I think I heard a rumor that a rebate may be in consideration for experimental aircraft. In any case, I noted uAvionix is issuing various rebates on some of their ADS-B out equipment. We continue to be assured that the January 1, 2020, mandate is not going to change. I guess we shall see if it’s really true, because I hear the airlines are running behind on ADS-B out installation.

A high-ranking FAA source has confirmed that the FAA plans to almost triple the maximum weight for most light sport aircraft to 3600 pounds in a notice of rulemaking that will be introduced in January, 2019. While announcing the possible gross weight increase from 1320 lbs to 3600 lbs, the FAA source declined to comment on how the rulemaking will alter performance limits, passenger loads, and weather requirements for LSA operations. It was also mentioned that there were plans to allow professional builders to assemble homebuilts. The final details in the proposed rulemaking will be very interesting. User comments will be taken and considered in the final rulemaking process.

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

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Falcon Field (FFZ) has their AWOS system in operation. It is accessible on 118.25, the ATIS frequency, from 9:00 pm until 6:00 am when the ATC tower is closed, and by phone at any time on 480-641-4111. There may be small construction projects in process, so be alert, and check for FFZ NOTAMS.

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

There are still 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.

Flight safety this reporting period has been relatively good in terms of numbers of accidents that had occurred, however in terms of the seriousness of these accidents, it was not good. Of the three accidents that occurred, two of them did result in a total of three fatalities. Flight Safety this year has not been very good in either the number of accidents or the number of fatalities. There are only two months left in this year, and we all need to do whatever we can to make sure these numbers don’t increase. See my November accident report to see the details of these accidents. The last portion of this month’s report also contains the findings of the Vans RV-7 fatal accident that occurred on June 27, 2017, near Arlington. The findings of this accident were just released late in this reporting period.

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GPS interference testing is still happening, and last minute notices have been received from the FAA in this last 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. Recently Lake Havasu City Municipal Airport (HII) has started their master plan update process, and we will be participating. Falcon Field (FFZ), Superior Municipal Airport (E81), Sedona Airport (SEZ), Flagstaff (FLG), and Grand Canyon Airport (GCN) airports are currently in their Master Plan update process.

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  • The fly in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08), is on the first Saturday of the month.
  • The Falcon Field EAA Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast and car show is on the third Saturday of the month. 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.
  • On the third Saturday, the fly in breakfast at Benson (E95) at Southwest Aviation is now on a quarterly basis and the last one was on 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, but the BBQ lunch hosted by APA is on the third Saturday of each month. 7 Jim Got great aviation photos that you’d like to share? We are always on the lookout for photos to add and enhance our monthly newsletter. If you’d like to contribute your photos please email them to us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • The last Saturday of the month there is a fly in breakfast at Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ). The Airport’s restaurant, Foxtrot Cafe, operating in the air cooled Terminal Building, 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 calendarfor fun weekend places to fly.


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