I hope everyone has enjoyed the holidays, and is enjoying the cool, dense and relatively stable flying weather. The increased aircraft performance is very noticeable and much appreciated. Now, if only the pilot performance had also improved an equal amount. As a side benefit, after returning from a recent relatively lower altitude breakfast flight, I was going to clean the canopy, and to my surprise, there were no bugs and the wings were also bug free. Another cool weather flying benefit! I think it’s a great time of the year for flying, and I enjoy it immensely. Let’s go flying!
Welcome to the 2019 new year, and all the great things it will have to offer us. I hate to think of it, but apparently many are going to be facing the ADS-B mandate due at the end of the year. Generally, if you want to fly anywhere a transponder has been required, you will need to be equipped with ADS-B out. While having ADS-B out avionics installed, it would only seem logical to acquire equipment also having ADS-B in. If anything else, the ability to electronically see other aircraft flying near you is a major benefit in avoiding those close encounters of the wrong kind. I found it rather surprising when I read it is estimated that only 22% of the general aviation fleet is ADS-B compliant. I also wonder how many GA airplanes may not really need to be compliant and will never be. A news article I saw indicated many airplanes going into shops for installation of ADS-B equipment are also having other significant avionics upgrades accomplished, resulting in a potentially lengthy shop time. With this happening, waiting until the last minute to get your ADS-B equipment installed may not be a good idea, as avionics shops may be booked solid, and come January 1, 2020, there could be a number of airplanes officially grounded. From what I’ve heard, the airlines compliance may be in much worse shape than general aviation. If that is the case, it will be interesting to see what the FAA does about non-compliant air carriers. I wish those that are currently non-compliant the best of luck in being able to meet the January 1, 2020, deadline.
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. Be aware this results in other changes to the holding stack procedures. Check the AFTW website for the latest procedure information. (http://aftw.org)
Remember, the Phoenix Papago Park (P18) Army Air Field has increased their helicopter operations in and out of the area. Be extra alert for helicopters when flying under the PHX Class Bravo on the east side.
Boeing has advised they still have CH-47 Chinook Heavy Lift Helicopter testing at Gateway (IWA) and Falcon Field, in addition to their usual Apache testing. Check your charts for the helicopter test areas and use caution.
Tucson International Airport (TUS) is undertaking a major runway safety program to bring the decades old airfield up to federal standards. If you are planning on flying in, be certain to check for NOTAMS. Always Fly Informed.
In addition to reporting and projecting increases in traffic, most airports in the Phoenix area are either planning or starting construction projects. So, as we keep saying, always check for NOTAMS at your destination airport.
It seems flight safety has hit a new low this past reporting period. There were ten aircraft accidents, that I’m aware of, in the past reporting period. Of the ten, one involved two fatalities, and two of the accidents involved two aircraft that collided on a taxi way. This seems to be the latest trend, in addition to hitting poles on the edges of taxiways or columns supporting sun shades. Pilots need to develop and maintain a situational awareness on the ground as well as in the air. At least, on the ground, no one has been hurt, but they can be costly. One of the latest ground
collisions was pretty spectacular. A Pilatus PC 12 literally ate the outer half of the wing off a flight school Cessna 172 with a student pilot in it waiting to takeoff. Can you imagine the thoughts going through the student’s mind when this happened? Anyway, flight lesson canceled. These ten accidents being reported occurred in the month of November only, and the NTSB has not reported on any accidents occurring in the month of December when this report was prepared. Knowing what happened in November, I can’t believe there were no accidents occurring in December. With the government shut down, it may be a while before we get a final year end look at what has happened. See my January Aviation Accident Summary for the details.
GPS interference testing is still continuing and last minute notices are being received from the FAA. Some of these tests certainly 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, and also please advise APA.
As you may be 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) and 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.
THINGS TO DO - PLACES TO GO FOR BREAKFAST:
- 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.
- 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 through 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
Make sure you have the Buckeye Air Fair and Copperstate Fly In on your calendar for February 8-10th!
Check with the APA Getaway Flights program
and online calendar for fun weekend places to fly.