Springtime is definitely here, based on the number of bugs I’ve been hitting. Either that, or I’ve been flying too low lately, but I really think that actually it’s that time of the year again, and it’s warming up. Let’s enjoy it while we still can, and let’s go flying!

It’s hard to believe, but come May, BasicMed will be two years old. More than 45,000 pilots have been flying under its provisions, and many are quickly approaching the mandatory two-year online course renewal, and some of us are asking, now what? Under BasicMed, we can fly aircraft with up to six seats, with a maximum certificated takeoff weight of no more than 6,000 pounds, fly up to 250 knots indicated airspeed, and up to 18,000 feet MSL. 

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While these aircraft restrictions are straightforward, the online education course renewal has created some confusion. Under 14 CFR Part 68, the regulations that govern BasicMed, the pilot in command must receive a comprehensive medical examination by a state-licensed physician every 48 months (calculated to the exact day), plus we must complete an online course every 24 calendar months (calculated to the last day of the month). 

Since the examination and online course are valid for different lengths of time, remember to ensure that both our medical exam and online course are current before flying under BasicMed. For example, let’s say we received the required medical exam on May 1, 2017, and completed the online course on May 15, 2017. We would be eligible to operate under BasicMed through May 31, 2019. After May 31, 2019, we’ll need to complete the online course again, because it will be more than 24 calendar months since we last completed the online course. 

Now, let’s assume that we go ahead and take the course that day, May 31, 2019. Just like when we completed the course last time, we’ll be required to enter information about ourselves. Because the medical exam we had on May 1, 2017, is valid for 48 months, and we’re still within that period, it is this exam we’ll refer to when the course requires us to provide details about our BasicMed exam (such as the date of examination, physician’s name, etc.).

Once we have completed the online course and have a newly issued course completion certificate in hand, we are now eligible to continue flying under BasicMed until May 1, 2021, which is the end of the 48-month period since our physical exam on May 1, 2017. We’ll need to go to any state-licensed physician to complete another exam by May 1, 2021to continue acting as pilot in command under BasicMed, and we’ll need to keep our new completed exam checklist with our logbook, but we won’t need to provide any information about the exam until the next time we are required to complete the online course.

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The latest news out of Washington DC is that on March 19, President Trump announced the nomination of retired Delta Airlines Executive, Steve Dickson, as the White House’s nominee to serve as the FAA administrator. Pending Senate confirmation, Dickson will succeed Dan Elwell, who has been serving as acting administrator for the past 14 months, since the retirement of Michael Huerta. Dickson was with Delta for 27 years, retiring in 2018 as senior vice president of global flight operations. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and flew F–15s during his military career. Fortunately, Dickson has been outspoken against ATC privatization, calling it “reckless” as it would disrupt the progress of NextGen implementation. If confirmed by the Senate, Dickson would serve a five-year term as administrator.

I was hoping the GPS interference testing was wrapping up, but wow, was I ever wrong. This past month there were several last-minute notices of testing, and some were from unusual new locations. This increased testing is being noted all over the country, it’s not just a southwest area issue. While flying, if you do note an unexpected loss of GPS signal lasting a few minutes, be sure to advise ATC, giving time and location of the loss of signal.

Aviation safety has been a bit difficult to understand recently in that it seems that the NTSB may have adopted a new policy defining what type or level of accident they will investigate and issue a report on. This current trend started in December of last year when only one accident was reported for the entire month of December. So far this year there have only been five accidents reported, with the last one occurring the very first part of February. In the past this would be approximately the number of accidents reported in a single month. We are going to be contacting the NTSB to determine what’s happening. I haven’t noticed any decrease in flight activity, and I can’t believe everyone has been that careful in their flying that nothing has gotten bent in the process. See my April Aviation Summary for the details of what has happened to date.

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Once again, we want to remind you that many airports around the entire state, and most airports in the Phoenix area, are still planning and starting construction projects. So, we will keep reminding you, always check for NOTAMS at your destination airport, and always fly informed. At least we have gotten to that time of the year that we don’t have to wonder about airports being closed because of snow on the runways. Fly informed, be safe, and enjoy the flight.

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. Page Municipal Airport (PGA), Lake Havasu City Municipal Airport (HII), 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. Check the Calendar for the next fly-in date. (There will still be 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 through May. We’ll even be there Easter weekend! May’s weekend is open, of course, but we’ll not have our usual APA provided lunch as it is also the weekend of our annual meeting at the Talking Stick! Come join us! Watch the APA Facebook page for postings when there are special military practice days that you will want to avoid.
  • 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-conditioned 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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