Isn’t it great that the fall weather is finally here? The flying weather has been very good, and we can enjoy a more comfortable flight. Our flying season is getting off to a good start with the schedule of aviation events rapidly filling the calendar. The fly in breakfast flights are a lot more enjoyable with the smoother air and cooler air temps. I look forward to seeing you out there.
Well, last month we were encouraging you to possibly get out there and look for the Grumman Avenger that had crashed in the White Mountains a year ago, last spring, and collect the finder’s reward being offered. I’m sure some of you may have seen the article in the news that the reward is off the table if the airplane is on Fort Apache Indian Reservation land. Initially the Apache Indians believed Ron Carlson, the former owner of the Avenger, was encouraging people to violate tribal and federal laws by searching for the airplane. The White Mountain Apache Tribe and Carlson have now come to an agreement that Carlson asks that anyone who is not a member of the Fort Apache Tribe to not search for the plane on tribal lands, and any unauthorized person who does, will not be entitled the cash award. The Tribe will work with Carlson to search for the plane. A professional aerial search of the tribal lands, with tribal approval, will be made, and tribal rangers and guides will make a ground search for the plane.
Based on Carlson’s research, there is now an increasing likelihood that the airplane may have continued flight for several miles after they bailed out of the plane, and it may not have crashed on reservation land. The status of the award if the plane is located off of the Apache Reservation by someone who was not an Apache Tribal Member was not addressed. It sort of sounds like the Apaches may have laid partial claim to the Avenger if it’s on Apache Tribal Land. So continues the saga of the “Lost TBM Avenger.” It’s still out there, if you are still interested in looking for it! Is there is still a finder’s award for finding it off the reservation? A lot of questions still exist, and a good reward could buy a lot of avgas, so good luck!
Time has nearly run out for getting your airplane equipped with ADS-B Out, and the deadline is still at midnight December 31. It appears that the cheapest and easiest system to install at this time is the uAvionix tailBeacon ADS-B Out unit. They have just recently received their FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) approval for their tailBeacon unit for installation in a certified airplane, and it can be easily installed by any A&P mechanic. To save time and simplify paperwork, the company has created a sample FAA Form 337 for the tailBeacon installation. Cost; $1,999 for the TSO unit, and $1,646 for the experimental aircraft unit. Installation costs should be relatively minimal. If necessary, good luck on getting in compliance on time.
Late in October, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced the Drone Integration and Zoning Act, a bill that seeks to take control of the national airspace out of the federal government's hands and allows multiple parties to divide the lower levels of the airspace in an attempt to integrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). The federal regulation of airspace has not always been perfect in every instance, but dividing the national airspace into a patchwork of state, local, and tribal jurisdictions will only serve to impede growth and safe UAS integration. This would be a disaster, and hopefully the AOPA and/or the EAA can inform our legislators and see that this bill doesn’t see the light of day.
We continue to get last minute notices of GPS interference testing that is happening in neighboring states that could have an impact on air navigation here in Arizona. We want to remind you once again, If you encounter a loss of GPS signal lasting more than a couple of minutes, immediately contact ATC and advise them of the outage providing the time, altitude, and location when the outage was encountered. I hope this testing will come to an end when we have ADS-B mandated.
Be aware that starting December 10, 2019, pilots that are flying under BasicMed will be able to travel to Mexico in their aircraft per a policy letter signed by Mexico’s Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics, on October 11, 2019. In recognizing BasicMed, Mexico joins the Bahamas as a BasicMed-friendly destination. The Bahamas recognized BasicMed soon after the new form of aviation medical qualification took effect in May 2017.
The Phoenix and Mesa Police Aviation Departments, in discussing the problem of tracing laser strikes on aircraft, mentioned that we are approaching that time of the year when citizens will be putting up Christmas decorations and lights, and in some cases the light decorations may include lasers. Use caution, if your decorations include these types of lights, and use caution to ensure they are pointed downward so they won’t strike an aircraft in flight.
The General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC) and the NTSB have determined that a significant number of general aviation fatalities could be avoided if pilots were to conduct more thorough preflight inspections of their aircraft that have just been returned to service. As the final authority for your aircraft’s fitness for flight, it's important you know how to properly preflight your aircraft after maintenance. Increasing your knowledge of your aircraft’s history and becoming more aware of your mechanic’s repair activity are critical components of an advanced post maintenance preflight. For tips on how to conduct an advanced preflight after maintenance, check out the FAA FlySafe fact sheet: Download Fact Sheet
The past reporting period has been pretty good in that there were only two accidents reported by the NTSB, and as a bonus, there were no fatalities. Unfortunately, this month’s report does contain eight accident reports, with six that occurred in previous reporting periods, but the NTSB detailed reports were released in this last reporting period. It’s unfortunate that a large number of the accident reports this period have not had their preliminary reports released for our review. This is usually an indication that the damage may have been relatively minor in nature, and there were no fatalities involved. In any event, see my November Accident Summary for the details, and in the meantime, please fly safe.
The latest information we have just received is that the Coolidge Municipal Airport (PO8) will close runway 5-23 on November 22, 2019 rather than November 4, and is scheduled to reopen the runway on May 22, 2020. During this closure, runway 17-35 will also be closed on December 12, 2019, and is scheduled to reopen it on February 3, 2020. During the closure, runway 5-23 is being completely rebuilt, have paved shoulders added, new medium intensity runway edge and end lights, new airfield guidance signs, new runway distance remaining signs, and new REILS, and PAPIs. The closures will be NOTAMed accordingly.
We are also aware that many of the airports around the state are having construction projects in process or are being planned. Unfortunately, we don’t have the latest details of what projects are coming up at the various airports. At the moment, the best advice we can offer is to check for NOTAMS at your destination airport, and when you do get there, use an extra amount of caution. The last thing you want to have happen is to have your flight end with it being a contribution to the monthly NTSB accident summary. Always fly informed.
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. Chandler Municipal Airport (CHD), Kingman Municipal Airport (IGM), 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 currently in their Master Plan update process. Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport (IFP) has recently joined the list, and will be starting the planning process also.
THINGS TO DO - PLACES TO FLY FOR BREAKFAST:
- The fly in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08), is normally on the first Saturday of the month. They will be on hold during both runway closures in January and February. Check NOTAMS.
- The Falcon Field EAA Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast, and car show on the third Saturday of the month will be restarting on Saturday, December 21st. There is currently construction underway, so there will be no fly in breakfast in November.
- 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, and the BBQ lunch hosted by the APA is on the third Saturday of the month. 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 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.