Well, the monsoon season is here! We have to get up early to do any comfortable flying, and I’m sure many are using this time of the year to get out of town and take a vacation to where it’s cooler. I took off and went to the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and added a few days to the trip to visit friends and relatives near Oshkosh. I’m also writing this report there, so it will be a bit shorter this month.
The ADS-B Out deadline is rapidly approaching, and the FAA is holding fast to the deadline date. I don’t know for certain, but I suspect the air carrier industry may have a problem meeting the deadline. Part of this suspicion is based on a NOTAM the FAA has recently released. The NOTAM will essentially exempt general aviation aircraft operators from an ADS-B preflight requirement when the ADS-B mandate starts next January. The NOTAM specifically exempts ADS-B Out transmitters that use WAAS GPS receivers as a position source from the preflight requirement described in an FAA policy statement that was released earlier this month. The NOTAM reads: “It is not necessary for operators of aircraft equipped with the Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) (TSO−C145 or TSO−C146) receivers to conduct a preflight availability prediction.” Apparently, the preflight requirement was always intended for airliners, most of which have early-generation GPS systems that are not as reliably precise as those with WAAS. All ADS-B units certified for GA aircraft for the 2020 mandate must use a WAAS GPS receiver as a position source. There are currently no non-WAAS based ADS-B Out GPS solutions for general aviation aircraft, therefore it’s a non-issue for general aviation. The intent of the NOTAM policy statement was to codify exemptions from sanctions for airlines when GPS signals degrade after they’ve done the preflight checks and the subsequent lack of compliance is beyond their control.
Last month we advised that the Picacho Army National Guard Heliport (PCA), also known as “Stagecoach AAF,” northwest of Picacho Peak was experiencing a problem with aircraft passing through their airspace unannounced. The problem is aggravated by the fact that the heliport doesn’t have an associated Class Delta Airspace assigned to it. We in APA believe this is a serious safety issue and we are taking action to have the necessary airspace around the heliport designated Delta Airspace. Based on information we have received, they are going to be having a significant increase in the number of helicopters assigned to their operation, and the existing problem will only become worse if the airspace assignment isn’t made.
FAA New Standards
At AirVenture, Oshkosh, FAA Administrator Dan Elwell acknowledged the progress made in recent years with rulemaking on new standards for Part 23 aircraft and new policies allowing safety-enhancing equipment in light GA aircraft. Elwell announced that LSA will have an increased weight, and up to four seats, and also that electric powerplants will be permissible. Elwell also announced a very exciting prospect for legacy aircraft. For older aircraft not used for commercial purposes, the owners will be able to exchange the standard airworthiness certificate for a special airworthiness certificate, similar to certificates held by experimental aircraft, meaning the owner will be able to install lower cost safety enhancing equipment widely available for experimental aircraft without an STC or 337 Form. The change would also have the potential to expand the ability to substitute for parts that are no longer available, and perhaps even expand the ability for owners to perform additional maintenance on their aircraft beyond what is now allowed currently. It was also mentioned that the list of items that a pilot/owner can perform on his airplane per Part 43 is being reviewed for possible expansion. A date was not announced for these proposed rules changes to be released, but promised, it would be “worth the wait.”
Last month was very good from a flight safety standpoint. In the past reporting period there were two accidents reported by the NTSB and none of them involved fatalities. I hope that this current trend could continue for the rest of the year. It appears pilots are being more careful in what they are doing. See my August Accident Summary for details.
We are aware that many of the airports around the state, and especially in the Phoenix area, are planning, and are having construction projects started. So, we have to keep reminding you to always check for NOTAMS for your destination airport, and always fly informed, and please have a safe 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. Kingman Municipal Airport (IGM) currently has a phase report out for re- view and comment by the PAC Committee. Page Municipal Airport (PGA), Lake Havasu City Municipal Airport (HII), Superior Municipal Airport (E81), Sedona Airport (SEZ), Flagstaff (FLG), and Grand Canyon Airport (GCN) are also currently in their Master Plan update process.
THINGS TO DO - PLACES TO FLY FOR BREAKFAST:
- The fly in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08), normally on the first Saturday of the month, is on summer hiatus. They will resume in October.
- The Falcon Field EAA Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast and car show on the third Saturday of the month is also on summer hiatus. They are planning restarting on Saturday, October 19.
- 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 on the third Saturday weekend of each month is also on summer hiatus. 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, is operating in the cool air conditioned Terminal Building. It’s 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
Check with the APA Getaway Flights program
and online calendar for fun weekend places to fly.