The month of April really flew by faster than I wanted, but the nice cool spring mornings did produce some good flying weather. I fear the hot summer is going to be on us sooner than we want, and with the onset of warmer weather, I’ve noticed the bug count has also been increasing. On my last flight I think I might have killed a significant portion of the bug population based on what I had to clean off after landing. After flying for a couple of hours, I’m tired and don’t really relish the task. I hope all of you have also enjoyed the past month’s flying as much as I have, and most of all, fly safe.
I saw a press release the other day that really got my attention. The California Aeronautical University is opening a new campus at Falcon Field Airport. Their plan is to offer programs with flight training and aviation business courses to prepare students for careers as professional pilots and aviation business professionals. In the Bachelor of Science in Aeronautics, and the Associate of Science in Aviation Studies programs, students will earn a number of pilot ratings along with their degrees. Degrees will be offered in both aeronautics and business administration.
Initially they will be located in the top floors of the office building located on the west side of Falcon Drive as you enter Falcon Field. Later, they are planning on locating in the new hangar/office complex, currently in the final stages of construction, located on the north side of the airport on E. Mallory Circle. The California Aeronautical University main campus is located in Bakersfield, California.
Presently, it hasn’t been disclosed if they will concentrate on foreign students for pilot training or if they will concentrate on domestic students. In any case, you can be assured that the south flight practice area will become even more crowded than it presently is. I think it would be nice if there would be a concentration on training domestic pilots to help ease the communication issues that we experience with the present foreign students at Falcon Field. Time will only tell how this will unfold.
Believe it or not, GPS Interference Testing is still with us. In this reporting period, we are still receiving last minute Flight Advisory notices of GPS Interference testing that will be occurring that could possibly affect our GPS use while flying in Arizona. I hope the AOPA and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) efforts are successful in having the military minimize the effects of its GPS jamming testing on general aviation. Civil aviation depends heavily on reliable GPS and its impact on flight safety. 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.
In our last report we discussed the sale of Mobile airport, located west of the Estrella Mountains, to Dillon Air (which is also known as CPS) and that they are actively involved in the business of conducting contract parachute operations at the airport. They also have a similar operation at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08). We were advised that they have made approximately 1,000 drops since the first of the year. With this very active parachute operation at Mobile, the Lufthansa formation flight training, the Estrella glider operations, and an actively used aerobatic box in the area, it would be advisable to use considerable caution when flying through that area. We also understand that there is a plan to change the name of the airport from Mobile to Bishop. The reason and timing of the name change was not given.
At the present, the airspace system seems to moving along smoothly and we are not aware of any current or upcoming issues that would warrant your attention or seriously impact your flying activity. As usual, fly carefully, remain aware of the airspace you are flying in, and be aware of its limitations.
As a reminder, we are entering the forest fire season, so be on the watch for smoke and fire TFRs. Before every flight, check for TFRs and NOTAMS, and always fly informed.
When you are flying, it’s imperative that you are cognizant of the limitations of the airspace that you are flying in and what Air Traffic Control (ATC) may be expecting of you. Apparently, this has not always been the case, because in the time frame of March 12 to April 15 there were nineteen pilot deviations reported to the FAA SDL FSDO, with seven of these cases reported with a Brasher issued. A Brasher is a notice that is issued when further FAA action is needed. The deviations are as follows:
There were three IFR deviations. Two were route deviations and one was an altitude deviation, with a Brasher issued.
There were three Class B Airspace deviations. The pilots had entered the Bravo airspace without an ATC clearance, and in one of the cases, the pilot was issued a Brasher.
There were three Class D Airspace deviations. The pilots either entered or flew through the Delta airspace without first contacting ATC. In one of the cases, the pilot was issued a Brasher.
There were two cases of the pilot failing to follow ATC Instructions. In one case the pilot did not maintain an ATC assigned altitude in the controlled airspace. In the other case, the pilot did not adequately clear the runway when requested, resulting in an airplane having to go-around.
There was one case of a pilot failing to obtain either taxi or takeoff instructions at a controlled airport.
There was one case of a pilot failing to obtain taxi instructions after landing, and resulting a ground conflict. A Brasher was issued.
There were six runway incursions. One of them was a person that had wandered out on the active runway. In one case a pilot started to make an intersection takeoff while another pilot was starting a takeoff at the approach end of the same runway. (Fortunately, both were stopped). There were four cases where the pilot did not hold short of the runway hold short line as instructed, often with another plane on short final. In three of the cases a Brasher was issued.
These deviations were committed by the entire range of airmen certificate holders, ranging from private through ATP. Not one was a student pilot, something to think about. We do fly in a very complex and busy airspace system, but as you can see, a large number of the deviations were made by not complying with some relatively basic rules. You must know what the taxiway and runway markings mean and comply with them. Some pilot deviations were even made after the pilot made a correct read back of the ATC instructions. We need to comply with ATC instructions, or tell them why we can’t comply. We need to continually remain alert, aware, and understand what is going on. Develop and always maintain a good situational awareness, and please fly safe. Don’t commit a pilot deviation.
ACCIDENTS & INCIDENTS
Aviation safety in this reporting period has not been good based on what has happened, especially the last part of it. These accidents really didn’t have to happen. Many of them were relatively minor in nature, and nobody got hurt. As a pilot, you need to take a careful look at these accidents and make sure you don’t commit the same type of errors.
Starting this month, we are changing the format of the accident summary report somewhat, because we will be taking additional information from other sources. In addition to the NTSB, which only covers accidents that had incurred structural damage to the airplane, we will continue to use information from the Aviation Safety Network (ASN), which has been collected from the media, and law enforcement agencies, and we will now also be including information collected by the FAA regarding both accidents, and aviation incidents that had been reported to them. Fortunately, we are now able to sort out Arizona accidents and access all the information in preliminary reports issued by the NTSB. We will also continue using accident information supplied to us by APA members.
While some of the information received may be duplicated by some of the agencies, we will combine information from all sources into a single report on each accident. I believe that by making all the information we have received available to you, it will give you a much more comprehensive awareness of what all is happening, and therefore make you a safer pilot.
With funding being made available by the FAA, many airports around the state have construction projects planned or in progress. Unfortunately, because we don’t have the latest details on all these projects, it would be a good idea to always check for NOTAMs at your destination airport to see what is happening, so you won’t have an unexpected surprise when you arrive. Use caution and always fly informed.
APA is presently 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), Grand Canyon Airport (GCN), and the Willams, H. A. Clark Memorial Field (CMR) are currently in the Master Plan update process.
THINGS TO DO - PLACES TO FLY FOR BREAKFAST:
Because of the virus pandemic, some of the airport restaurants may have take-out service available. Call ahead.
The fly in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08), has shut down for the summer and will restart in the fall.
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 2 pm to serve you. They will have a breakfast special for you if you mention you are an APA member.
The Falcon Field EAA Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast is on hold because of the virus pandemic through the coming summer. Here’s hoping for an October restart.
Grapevine is open full time, but the 3rd Saturday group camping has paused for summer. Always check for TFRs because Grapevine, which lies within a National Forest, is heavily used by the Forest Service for fighting wildfires and the Military for Special Training.
The City of Casa Grande has yet to accomplish more refurbishing of the food service area in their Airport terminal. They are also in the process of getting the myriad of paperwork signed off and they have several possible food service providers in line for consideration. Hopefully, they may be able to reopen by the end of the year.
Check with the APA Getaway Flights program and online calendar for fun weekend places to fly.