Well, we are into the new year and I hope all is going well for everyone. The flying weather has been pretty good, and we haven’t had really cold mornings to put up with. I haven’t had the problem this winter of getting out to the airport at or before dawn to fly someplace for breakfast, scurry around with the preflight inspection, push the plane out, ready to go (breathing heavy) get in, headphones on, and bingo, the canopy or windshield suddenly fogs up big time, and IFR taxiing is not suggested. So far this year the winter has either been too warm or the humidity has been much lower or perhaps both. Anyway, the early morning flights have been good, and I hope you have been enjoying them also.
We are still in the cold and flu season, and the FAA has prepared a list of over-the-counter (OTC) medications that are broken down into two categories: fly and no fly.
In addition to covering antihistamines, decongestants, and cough and pain medicines, the list also includes medications for rashes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and indigestion, to name a few. The list highlights diphenhydramine, a sedating antihistamine found in many over-the-counter medications such as; Benadryl, ZzzQuil, and most “PM” medications, which continues to be the most common drug detected in fatal accident toxicology reports.
The guide includes a series of questions for pilots to ask themselves to determine whether they are fit to fly, and it provides guidance for carefully reading the labels on all over-the-counter medications, and it contains two charts of medications that pilots can print for ready consultation.
The FAA provides guidance for medications that fall into the no-go category by recommending pilots wait at least five dosage intervals after the last dose is taken before flying again. For example, wait at least 30 hours before flying if you are directed to take the medication every four to six hours and at least 60 hours if directed to take it every 12 hours. The guide also provides links to additional resources about other medications for hypertension, antidepressants, and more. This FAA OTC guide is available at https://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/medical_certification/media/OTCMedicationsforPilots.pdf
In the FAA’s efforts to modernize and streamline service, Flight Service has discontinued the Hazardous Inflight Weather Advisory Service (HIWAS) on January 8, 2020. HIWAS was a legacy service with a continuous recording of inflight weather advisories broadcast over a limited network of VORs providing pilots with meteorological information related to hazardous weather.
The FAA introduced Flight Information System Broadcast, (FIS-B), as a replacement for HIWAS. FIS-B provides a broader range of aeronautical weather information products, often in a graphical format, which was not available via HIWAS. For pilots who choose not to equip their aircraft with this new technology, a Flight Service Specialist will still be available for providing weather information over a radio outlet.
Flight Service published a notice of final decision in the Federal Register on December 9, 2019, to discontinue the text-to-voice recordings of HIWAS.
Marana Regional Airport is getting an Air Traffic Control Tower. The city of Marana contracted with an airport development firm to petition the FAA to accept the airport into the Federal Control Tower (FCT) program citing busy single- and multi-engine aircraft operations, corporate jets, and flight training operations. They had numerous individuals, companies, and organizations supporting their request.
The new tower, estimated to cost approximately $8 million, would be funded by FAA grants for approximately 90% of the cost for construction and communications equipment. Upon completion, the tower would be staffed by federally contracted air traffic controllers. The city thinks the new tower could come online within two years. The FCT program requires the airport to build the tower within five years of acceptance of their request, or they will lose access to the federal funding.
Aviation safety was not the best in the last reporting period. While the NTSB didn’t issue any accident reports for the past reporting period, we did, through the media, become aware of an accident that occurred near Payson that claimed the life of the pilot and seriously injured the two passengers. This is not the way we hoped to start the year.
Even though we only had one accident that we were aware of, this month’s report did wind up being a bit long because it appears that the NTSB went through all of last year’s reports, and released several “Findings Reports” for accidents that had been sitting, waiting for the release of their detailed report. See my February Accident Summary for this month’s details.
Be aware that Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08) still has runway 5-23 closed for rebuilding, and it’s scheduled to reopen May 22. Runway 17-35 was closed on December 12, 2019 and is planned to reopen the week of February 17, 2020. Be sure to check NOTAMs for changes.
There are many airports around the state that have construction projects in process or are being planned to start. Unfortunately, we don’t have all the latest details of what projects are coming up, but at the moment the best advice we can offer you is to check for NOTAMS for your destination airport, and when you get there, use extra caution. We don’t want to have your flight end up as one of the subjects in the monthly Aviation Accident Summary report. Fly safe!
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), Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport (IFP), and Grand Canyon Airport (GCN) are currently in their Master Plan update process.
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, however, because of the runway construction in progress, the fly in breakfasts have been canceled for both January and February. Check NOTAMS for when and which runways are open or closed.
- The Falcon Field EAA Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast, and car show on the third Saturday has not officially restarted yet. The City of Mesa repainted the warbird hangar inside, and the contractor ran into serious issues with the painting, and they are attempting to get the job done soon. Don’t be surprised if the breakfast date gets moved to March or later. Watch for notices.
- 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 weekend 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 still a fly in breakfast at Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ). The Airport’s restaurant, Foxtrot Cafe, is operating in the 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
As always, you can check your APA Calendar for events!
Check with the APA Getaway Flights program
and online calendar for fun weekend places to fly.