December is here, and it started out a bit warm, but has finally settled into the normal cool days and evenings, fortunately. Just the right formula for enjoying some pleasant flying conditions. I wish I could take advantage of it. I’m still waiting for my engine to come back from its overhaul, which should be anytime now. I’m eager to get it broken in and going flying for fun again.
Because of the continuing pandemic, this month’s report may be short. Some of the usual meetings are continuing online, and some have been discontinued for the duration of the COVID Virus threat. On a positive note, all the usual meetings that are continuing, are either as a teleconference or a video conference, which I think it is really great. No more wasting time driving to meetings, and surprisingly, the meetings are more to the point, and just as productive as before; however, perhaps some of the personal interaction is missed a bit.
It seems like the FAA has been busy, in spite of the virus pandemic, issuing Airworthiness Directives. They recently adopted AD 2020-21-22 for Cessna 180, 182, and 185 airplanes for reported cracks in the tail cone and horizontal stabilizer. The AD will require inspecting the tail cone and stabilizer for corrosion and cracks, and repairing as necessary. It’s estimated that this AD will impact approximately 6,586 airplanes domestically, and it will go into effect December 7, 2020. More detailed information is available on their website here. How many additional aircraft this will impact internationally could be interesting, because these models are often considered backcountry work planes.
If this wasn’t bad enough, the FAA apparently didn’t want anyone to think they were picking on them, so they also issued perhaps an even more impressive AD on Piper Aircraft. Apparently, a wing spar corrosion problem in a hard to inspect area in specific Piper PA-28 and PA-32 models that could cause a fatal failure was the basis for the issuance of the new wing spar inspection AD. The directive was published on November 23 and will be effective on December 28 with compliance required within 12 months, or 100 hours of service, whichever comes first. Both right and left main spars must be visually inspected, and corrective action must be taken if necessary. Also, re-inspection will be required every seven years. It is estimated that this AD will impact approximately 11,476 aircraft. See final rule for the details of the Airworthiness Directive.
The forest wildfire season is supposed to be over, however, still be on the watch for fire TFRs. Before every flight check for TFRs and NOTAMS, and always fly informed.
It seems the airspace world appears to be operating calmly and smoothly, and there hasn’t been anything that we are aware of that would warrant your attention or impact your flying activity at the moment. Just fly carefully and be aware of the airspace you are flying in and it’s limitations.
Aviation safety in the past reporting period may not have been the best, but it may be a bit hard to determine. Late last October the NTSB decided they were going to build a new and better aviation accident reporting website, and then shut down the old website. However, it’s a bit hard to fathom why they shut down the old website now, while the new website is nowhere near completion. So, now we don’t have an NTSB source of detailed information at all. We are using the Aviation Safety Network (ASN) as a source of information, but that has its issues. First is that information provided is very brief, not very detailed, and the source of information is from media reports. These TV and newspaper reports may not be a very reliable or accurate source, as you can well imagine. One has to realize, the reporters are often not knowledgeable about aviation. The second part of the problem is that the ASN reports cover the entire world and include military accidents. Some of the accidents reported may not even involve structural damage, as defined by the NTSB, but were reported by the media. Also, the reports are not easily sortable, so much time is spent reviewing all the world’s aviation accidents to find the ones occurring in Arizona.
This month’s report contains nine accidents, and fortunately they apparently were all minor in nature, and there weren’t any aviation injuries or fatalities. See my November Accident Summary report elsewhere in this newsletter for the details, and please continue to fly safe.
Evidently, funding is being made available by the FAA and several airports around the state have construction projects planned or in progress. Unfortunately, we don’t have all the latest details of these projects, so check for NOTAMs at your destination airport to see what may be occurring so that when you arrive you aren’t unpleasantly surprised. Always use caution and fly informed.
APA is actively working with a number of airports around the state assisting with the updating of their Airport Master Plans, thus providing the pilot and aircraft owner’s perspective in the process. 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 the Master Plan update process. The H. A, Clark Memorial Field in Williams has just started their airport master plan update process.
THINGS TO DO - PLACES TO FLY FOR BREAKFAST:
Because of the present virus pandemic, some of the airport restaurants may have take-out service available. Call ahead.
The fly in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08), is on the first Saturday of the month, and the Breakfast season is operating on schedule.
On the second Saturday consider flying down to Ryan Field (RYN) near Tucson for breakfast or lunch at Ritchie’s Restaurant. They are open from 6 am to 3 pm. The owner, Richie, will offer a fly in special to pilots that mention that they are AZ Pilots Members and saw the offer in the newsletter. For more info contact Richie at 520-444-7467.
The Falcon Field EAA Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast and car show which was on the third Saturday of the month is still on hold awaiting approval from the City of Mesa to restart.
Grapevine is open full time, but the third Saturday of each month is a special time for a group camp dinner on Saturday evening. Come and camp for the weekend! The camp host will prepare the main course, and campers, please bring a side dish or dessert to share. Always check for TFRs because Grapevine, which lies within a National Forest, is heavily used by the Forest Service for fighting wildfires or the Military for Special Training.
The City of Casa Grande is planning on refurbishing the food service area in their Airport terminal area formally occupied by the Foxtrot Cafe and will be issuing a request for quote for someone to provide food handling services at the airport. Hopefully, the Casa Grande Airport will again have a fly in breakfast available soon on the last Saturday of the month.
Check with the APA Getaway Flights program and online calendar for fun weekend places to fly.