I hope everyone has been enjoying the nice fall flying weather. We may have had a few days when it rained on our parade, but what the heck, generally it’s been great. Now is the time to get together with a group of fellow pilots and fly somewhere for breakfast or lunch, and enjoy the conversation, solving the world’s problems. Enjoy the flight, and fly safe!
I’m certain that we don’t have to remind you that if you haven’t installed your ADS-B Out yet, it’s now almost too late. The FAA deadline has not changed from midnight December 31. If you don’t plan on flying in airspace that requires a transponder, I guess you will be okay. Given the complexity of our airspace these days, I can’t imagine flying in Arizona without wanting to, or needing to, fly in airspace requiring a transponder. Let’s face it, flying in Arizona keeps getting more complex every day, and I don’t see an end in sight. Based on comments I have heard, and based on the relatively low cost of the equipment, I think most privately owned airplanes will meet the new ADS-B Out requirements. However, what is a bit disturbing, is the prediction that approximately 5,400 business aircraft will miss the December 31 midnight deadline. According to a study released by a national aircraft sales and maintenance provider, nearly one quarter of bizjets, and approximately half of the business turboprops, are noncompliant. Installing ADS-B equipment on this type of aircraft will usually require going through the aircraft pressure vessel which greatly complicates the installation process and compounds the cost. I haven’t seen any comments from the air carrier community, but I suspect they may be in a similar state of noncompliance as the business aviation community. So much for the December deadline, the last minute exceptions will be interesting. If you have questions concerning ADS-B go to the FAA Equip ADS-B website: https://www.faa.gov/nextgen/equipadsb/
With the cold and flu season well under way now may be a good time to take good look at the FAA list: What Over-the-Counter (OTC) medications can I take and still be safe to fly? The list can be broken down into go and no go categories. In addition to covering antihistamines, decongestants, the cough and pain medicines, the list also includes medications for a host of other issues you may encounter. The list highlights sedating antihistamine found in several over-the-counter medications (Benadryl, ZzzQuil, and most “PM” medications), which continues to be the most common drug detected in fatal accident toxicology reports.
If you’re feeling a bit under the weather, don’t take a chance, it would be best to consult the FAA over-the-counter medicine list and see what’s safe before you launch on a flight. Remember, altitude can often amplify the side effects of medications.
Be aware, the latest Phoenix Sectional Chart contains nine newly added VFR RNAV Waypoints in southern Arizona. Also, the latest Phoenix Terminal Area Chart (TAC) contains four newly added VFR RNAV Waypoints in the area of Deer Valley Airport (DVT). Elsewhere on the chart there are a few other waypoints that have been “adjusted” so that these waypoints being used are now correctly depicted on the chart.
As you may recall, we had cautioned you to note the location of the Picacho ARNG (PCA) Heliport approx. 4 nm west-northwest of Picacho Peak, and because they do have a staffed operating control tower, it is a controlled field, and they have been experiencing aircraft over flying the airport at low altitudes. It’s very easy to miss its existence because they do not have a Delta Airspace assigned to the field. We have been advised that the Department of Defense and the FAA Charting people have initiated activity to have a block of Class Delta airspace assigned to the heliport. Because only government agencies are involved, the process may only move forward at the speed of a glacier. We will attempt to push a bit if we can, but the process will take years to happen, so in the meantime, be aware, be safe, avoid the area at low altitude, and/or contact them on 126.2.
Be advised that Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IWA) has a new RNAV (GPS) RWY 30R Approach effective December 5, 2019.
As part of a nationwide movement to reduce costs, the FAA is in the process of eliminating underutilized instrument procedures around the country. Chandler Municipal Airport (CHD) has received a note that the FAA would like to cancel the VOR and NDB procedures for RWY 4R. APA has expressed opposition to the elimination of these procedures, because, while we may have good weather in our area, these procedures are highly valued by the aviation community for meeting training and currency needs. We have a number of large flight schools in the area training foreign students that will eventually be flying commercially in other areas of the world served only by NDB or VOR approaches. With this high density of aviation activity taking place, we cannot afford to lose any of the current resources we presently have.
Once again we have continued 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 that, 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 really hope this testing will come to an end when we have ADS-B mandated.
Be advised 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.
I think this comes under the heading, what next do we have to look out for that’s falling out of the sky. Now it may be space capsules. The Boeing company officials have briefed the Cochise County Board of Supervisors on its plan to land manned space capsules, being developed for NASA, on a site that’s roughly in the center of the Willcox Playa, which is owned by the U.S. Army and the state. This may possibly be only one of several sites they may be considering. Perhaps we can only hope they find a better site.
The Phoenix and Mesa Police Aviation Departments are concerned about the problem of tracing laser strikes on aircraft, and because we are rapidly approaching that time of the year when citizens will be putting up Christmas decorations and lights, in some cases, these light decorations may include lasers. Use caution, if your decorations include lasers; ensure they are pointed downward so they won’t strike an aircraft in flight.
Be aware that there may be a new flight school starting operations at the Glendale Municipal Airport (GEU). As a result, expect to see additional traffic in the area and also in the training areas.
Luke Air Force Base has increased the number of F35 Training Squadrons, and as a result, you can expect to encounter more F35 fighters operating at the edges of the Luke SATR and in the associated MOAs.
Aviation safety in this past reporting period was not too bad in that there were only four accidents reported by the NTSB, and none of them involved fatalities. This month’s report will also contain three reports of accidents that occurred at an earlier date, but the detailed accident reports were released in this reporting period. See my November Accident Summary for the details, and in the meantime, fly safe, and don’t contribute to the report.
Be aware that while Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08) has runway 5-23 closed for repairs, runway 17-35 will also be closed on December 12, 2019, and is scheduled to reopen on February 3, 2020. Be sure to check NOTAMs for changes.
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 all 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 is starting the planning process also.
THINGS TO DO - PLACES TO FLY FOR BREAKFAST:
Ø The fly in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08), is normally on the first Saturday of the month. They may be on hold during both runway closures in January and February. Check NOTAMS for when and which runways are closed.
Ø 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 21. Check the calendar to verify.
Ø 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.)
Ø 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 weekend of the month. Watch the APA Facebook page for postings when there are special military practice days that you will want to avoid.
Ø 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.
Ø 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.