Winter is here with freezing temperatures and icing. Those living in the higher and northern parts of the state are facing new challenges in doing a preflight on an airplane that has been sitting outside. Now, instead of being concerned about density altitude, there are proper engine start-up procedures and making certain the wings are clear and frost free. The improved airplane performance is great, and I hope the pilot performance has moved up a notch also. Let’s go out and enjoy the great flying weather and do it safely.

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The FAA had recently been seeking comments on a rule change that will allow flight training in experimental light sport aircraft (ELSA). Current regulations prohibit the use of ELSA for flight training for compensation after Jan. 31, 2010. If the rule change is adopted, it would remove that Jan. 31, 2010, date, which would then allow owners and flight training providers to apply for a training LODA. To ensure these ELSA aircraft are used solely for flight training, the FAA will require a Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA). The 2004 Light Sport Final Rule created the LODA process to allow training for compensation or hire using certain categories of experimental aircraft. The FAA would issue a LODA based on the eligibility of the aircraft and its maintenance requirements, the applicant, the instructor, and the type of training desired. Hopefully this should increase the pool of suitable aircraft available for light sport aircraft pilot training.


Based on information in a recent meeting with the PHX TRACON, the Presidential TFR’s that we had to contend with recently went reasonably well in that there were only four known intrusions into the TFR’s, and none of them penetrated the inner core of a TFR, and fortunately none of the intruders got a military escort. For future reference, it should be pointed out that the Presidential TFR’s are established and administrated by the Secret Service, and not the FAA, and their tolerance level is not very high, and their penalties can be severe.

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The following are upcoming special events in the Phoenix Metro Area, and certainly expect to see TFR’s for the golf and football events:

  • December 26, 7:00 PM Cheez-Bowl, Chase Field
  • January 1, 2019 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl, State Farm Stadium (Formally University of Phoenix Stadium)
  • January 29 - February 3, 2019 Phoenix Open Golf Tournament, Waste Management Phoenix Open
  • January 12 - 20, 2019 Numerous Car Auctions
  • February 14 - 24, 2019 Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show


The PHX TRACON has listed a large number of changes, additions, and deletions of SID’s and STARS for Arizona. If you’re an IFR pilot, make certain you are current on your approach plates and have the latest NOTAMS.

If you use the Casa Grande ILS, be aware the ILS or LOC RWY 5 Holding Pattern has been lowered to 3800 to match the RNAV (GPS) RWY 5 approach. This will also result in other changes to the holding stack procedures. Check the AFTW Website for the latest procedure information.

For those doing instrument training in the north valley, we have been advised that the Luke Air Force Base Aux 1 ILS operating procedure is under revision to accommodate changes in their training mission, and has been removed from the 56th FW website until further notice.

The Army Air Field at Papago Park (P18) has advised that they’re having an increase in helicopter operations; therefore, pilots that are going around Sky Harbor on the east side under the Class B airspace, be aware and use caution for army helicopters coming in or out of Papago Park.

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In the recent airspace meeting, the majority of the airports in the Phoenix area are reporting an increase in operations and anticipate a continued increase in the future. Many of them were also advising they are anticipating starting/continuing construction projects. As always, the best advice we can offer is to check for NOTAMS at your destination airport to avoid an unpleasant surprise upon arrival. There are still a number of other airports around the entire state that have significant projects under way that could impact your use of the airport. Always fly informed.
The SDL FSDO has advised us that the number of pilot deviations that are being referred to them for processing has been increasing significantly, and the majority of them are for airspace deviations. The suggestion is that pilots should sit down with a current chart to study the airspace boundaries and understand them. Perhaps even sitting down with a CFI to make certain you understand the makeup and limits of the airspace you fly in. Making an airspace deviation close to Sky Harbor Airport could have very dire results.

This month’s reporting period would appear to be good based on the number of accidents being reported by the NTSB; however, in reality it wasn’t all that great with both the number of accidents and fatalities that actually occurred. The NTSB reported only one accident that was evidently minor in nature because a preliminary report had not yet been released. In reality, there were two additional accidents that I am aware of that were covered in the local media, and they both involved both injuries and fatalities. There is only one more month to go in the year, and I only hope everyone flies safely for the rest of the year, and we don’t add any more injured pilots or airplanes to the present list. See my December Aviation Accident Summary for the details.

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GPS interference testing is continuing, and last-minute notices have been received from the FAA in the last reporting period. Some of these tests should impact 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, and please advise APA as well. 

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. Most recently, Page Municipal Airport (PGA), in addition to Lake Havasu City Municipal Airport (HII) have just started their master plan update process, and we will be participating in the process.  Falcon Field (FFZ), Superior Municipal Airport (E81), Sedona Airport (SEZ), Flagstaff (FLG), and Grand Canyon Airport (GCN) airports are also currently in their Master Plan update process.  


  • 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 next one will be on Jan 19, 2019. (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. 
  • 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 calendar for fun weekend places to fly.


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