Spring is coming to an end, summer is knocking on our door, and I can hardly believe all the bugs that are still flying around. Last weekend when I returned from flying, the airplane looked like it may have been approaching an over gross condition with all the bugs on the canopy and leading edges. Keeping a separation between bugs on the windshield and the traffic out there was not good. Aside from the bugs, the morning flying conditions are still pretty good. So, let’s get out there and have fun flying while we still can.
Be certain to mark your calendar and come to the APA Annual meeting on Saturday May 18th at the Arizona Casino, 524 N. 92nd St., Scottsdale. It’s right off the east valley 101 freeway. The meeting will start at 10:00 am, and a lunch will be available after the meeting. Be sure to attend and learn what has been happening and what your organization has planned for the future. There will also be an election of three new directors to fill the three positions on the board of directors that come up for election this year. We will look forward to seeing you at the meeting.
At the beginning of the year we had a government shutdown, and some of the after effects are still being felt. To prevent a reoccurrence of this mess, a House bill (HR1108) that would provide funding to the FAA during a government shutdown was passed by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in late March. The bill, known as the Aviation Funding and Stability Act of 2019, was introduced by Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio, and Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Rick Larson. The bill proposed drawing funds from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund to keep the FAA operating. This trust fund generates revenue from the domestic passenger tax, aviation fuel taxes, and cargo tax. Per DeFazio, “Our nation’s aviation system should not be jeopardized by politics in Washington.”
“The government shutdown hurt American families, the US aviation and aerospace economy, and jeopardized the safety of the National Airspace System. Congress must do what it can to ensure that the FAA, it’s employees, and the U.S. aviation economy are protected from another government shutdown,” said Rick Larson. We can only hope this bill, or a very similar one, will ultimately result in a law assuring continued funding for the FAA if another government shutdown occurs.
I’m certain that everyone has heard the news that Piper just announced they are going to produce a new series of trainers to meet the growing demand for professionally trained pilots. They are the Pilot 100 and Pilot 100i, designed and equipped for VMC and IMC pilot training respectively. It will be interesting to see what they look like at AirVenture this summer and to see what the public reaction is. I only hope they don’t end up like the Cessna 162 Skycatcher. We shall see what happens, and it should be interesting.
Gateway Airport in Mesa has celebrated the re-opening of the newly renovated general aviation terminal operated by Gateway Aviation Services. Gateway Aviation Services is the authority-run Fixed Base Operator (FBO) at the airport and provides a range of aviation services to corporate, military and general aviation travelers. The facility’s renovation project made “significant” improvements and upgrades to the building’s exterior, pilot lounges, and employee work areas. The Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport Authority (PMGAA) board approved investing more than $700,000 to update the decades-old building that once served as general office space for Air Force pilots training at Williams Air Force Base. Parking fees at the terminal are still applicable. These and other service fees are currently being re-examined and revised.
GPS interference testing is still continuing in our southwestern part of the country. This past month there were again several last-minute notices of testing, and some of them were again from new locations. Apparently, this increased testing is being noted all over the country, it’s not just a southwest area anomaly. 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.
I’m still a bit unsure about what has been happening on the NTSB aviation accident reporting scene. Starting last December there has been a noted drop in the number of accidents being reported by the NTSB each month. Because this decrease in reported accidents seemed to occur when we were experiencing the government shutdown, it was thought the shutdown was the reason for the drop off in reports. When everyone went back to work, and the reporting didn’t change appreciably, I began to suspect that perhaps there may have been a change made in the NTSB’s policy on what type of accidents were being reported or there was something going on within the investigator ranks. In contacting the NTSB, I was assured there were no changes made in accident reporting policy, nor were there any investigator issues they were aware of. Only accidents resulting in structural damage to the airplane are being reported as before. The only comment made was that the decrease in reportable accidents was noted and a possible explanation was that there may have been a reduction in flying activity, for whatever reasons. My flight activity may not be sufficient enough to determine if this is true or not, but from my vantage point, I don’t think flight activity had appreciable slowed down during the first part of the year. I would like to think pilots have been listening and are being more attentive, and cautious about what they are doing, and finally flying safer. See my May safety report in this issue to see the details of accidents occurring this past reporting period.
Once again, we want to remind you that many airports around the entire state, and many airports in the Phoenix area, are planning, and starting construction projects. So, we keep reminding you, always check for NOTAMS for your destination airport, and always 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.
THINGS TO DO - PLACES TO FLY FOR BREAKFAST:
- 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. This will be the last one until next October when they will resume once again.
- On the third Saturday, the fly in breakfast at Benson (E95) at Southwest Aviation is 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 the APA will resume on September 21st. May’s weekend is open, 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
The fly in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08) has been stopped until next fall.
Check with the APA Getaway Flights program
and online calendar for fun weekend places to fly.