Summer may be rapidly approaching, but in actuality, the flying weather hasn’t been bad at all. It’s been a bit windy at times, that can be particularly challenging for us taildragger pilots, but really not too bad temp-wise in the mornings. I’m bracing myself for what’s to come. I sure hope we don’t have a hot one like last year. I think I’m getting too old for that again. So, let’s go flying and enjoy what we have while we can, and please fly safe.
Speaking of flying, I’ve got about a year to go, but I got to thinking about what to do about getting a bi-annual flight review next time. There are a lot of things you can do to satisfy the requirement, such as getting another rating, getting into the FAA Wings safety program, or getting a bi-annual in another type of aircraft. One time, because I hadn't been very active in flying gliders for a while, my instructor insisted I do my bi-annual in a glider because it would put me in an unfamiliar aircraft environment for the review, and the ground portion would pretty much be similar to a powered airplane. It turned out to be challenging and a lot fun. Getting a glider rating or seaplane rating could be fun, expand your flight experience, and satisfy the BFR requirements, but if you want to stick with your usual realm of flight, and your current airplane, give consideration to getting into the FAA Wings program. In the Wings program, shortly before you’re due for your BFR, you can make couple of defined instructional flights with a CFI and meet the BFR requirements. It winds up being a lot more of a stress free and casual situation, and because it’s more instructional, it will make you a safer pilot, and that is the primary objective. It’s been determined that pilots that have used this program have had a history of not being involved in aircraft accidents. Let’s face it, we all want to be safer pilots, and we don’t want to have accidents. Give it some thought. The next time your BFR comes due, don’t wait until the last moment, and go out with a CFI friend, and get a quick BFR “to meet the requirements.” Just meeting the requirements may not be the best way, do what will make you a safer pilot. For more information on the FAA Wings program go to: https://medium.com/faa/wings-pilot-proficiency-program-11618458ed02
Unfortunately, a couple of potential Airworthiness Directives (ADs) have come to our attention that could impact some of our members.
The Grumman AA-1 and AA-5 aircraft have come to the FAAs attention with a horizontal stabilizer issue. A Grumman American AA-5 recently experienced an inflight loss of pitch control which resulted in a serious accident. The post-accident investigation of the aircraft revealed a separation, or debonding of the left-hand horizontal stabilizer upper and lower skin surfaces from the end mounting flanges had occurred. An examination of an example aircraft for a comparison was made, and a similar compromise of the structure was found. After discussions with the FAA Aircraft Certification Office (ACO), it was determined that an Airworthiness Directive (AD) should be created to address this debonding issue with the AA-5 and AA-1 horizontal stabilizer. The quickest path to producing an Airworthiness Directive (AD) would be the pursuit of an Immediately Adopted Rule (IAR), which is in process. Because the AD is still weeks out from completion. This information is being distributed, in an effort to educate the aviation community until the AD is published.
Apparently, the FAA may also be proposing wing inspections on more Cessna 210 models, and also some Cessna 177 series aircraft that would require visual and eddy current inspections of the wing carry-through spar lower cap, and also protective measures under an airworthiness directive they proposed on May 11. The AD, which is open for public comments until June 25, was proposed in response to the May 2019 in-flight breakup of a Cessna 210M flying a low altitude aerial survey mission in Australia. Post-accident examination identified fatigue cracking that initiated at a corrosion pit. Reports of corrosion on the later Cessna 210 models and Cessna 177s, suggests that the corrosion is likely to exist or develop on other products of the same type design, prompted the new proposal. It calls for visual and eddy current inspections of the carry through spar lower cap, and corrective action if necessary, being the application of a protective coating and corrosion inhibiting compound (CIC), and also reporting the inspection results to the FAA. The inspection and application of the protective coating, and reporting inspection results to the FAA will potentially be rather expensive, estimated somewhat in the neighborhood of $1,800.
Presently everything seems to be moving along smoothly in the airspace system, and there haven’t been any issues that have cropped up that would suggest changes that could impact your flying activities. Once again as a reminder, we are entering the forest fire season, and unfortunately, this year it may be a bad one. Watch out for smoke and forest fire TFRs, and do give them a wide berth. Be aware that a fire TFR can pop up at a moment’s notice. Also exercise extra caution around airports such as Prescott, Payson, Williams Gateway, and Falcon Field Mesa where there may be firefighting aircraft operating from them. Before every flight check for TFRs and NOTAMs and fly informed.
When you go flying it’s imperative that you are aware of the type of airspace that you are going to be flying in, and that you know it’s requirements and limitations, and what Air Traffic Control (ATC) may expect of you, and that you can comply with them. It’s apparent that some pilots don’t do this and wind up with problems. As an example, in the time frame from April 16 to May 12, there were sixteen pilot deviations that occurred and were reported to the FAA SDL FSDO. These deviations were made by private pilots, commercial pilots, CFIs with students, and ATPs. They were not made by students learning to fly. Of the sixteen deviations made, there were five Brashers issued. A Brasher is a notice that is issued when further FAA action is needed. The pilot deviations in this last reporting period are as follows.
There were five IFR deviations, four were altitude deviations and one was a route deviation, and there were three Brashers issued for the altitude deviations.
There were two Class Bravo airspace deviations for entering the airspace without first getting an ATC approval.
There were six Class Delta airspace deviations. Four of the deviations were for entering without first establishing communication with ATC, and two were cases of failing to follow ATC directions. A Brasher was issued in one case for entering without authorization, and one was issued for a case of failing to follow ATC instructions.
There were three runway incursions that resulted from not following ATC instructions, and in some cases, in spite of the pilot giving a correct read back of the instructions. If you don’t understand the ATC controllers’ instructions, ask for a repeat of the instructions, and follow them, and if you can’t, then tell the controller why you can’t. It’s true that we operate in a very complex, and sometimes crowded airspace, and it can only be safe if everyone operates in a safe and predictable manner.
Don’t commit a pilot deviation, and please fly safe!
Aviation safety this past reporting period has improved somewhat from the last report, but it’s still not the best as it could or should be. There were only a few serious injuries and most of the accidents, or incidents didn’t incur any injuries. It would appear that people are still not thinking about what they are doing. This is rather apparent based on the large number of no injury accidents and incidents.
Benson (E95) begins operation of its new self-serve fuel station this month.
With funding available from the FAA, many airports around the state have construction projects planned or in progress. Unfortunately, we don’t have the latest details on all these projects, and 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 upon your arrival. 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:
The fly in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08), normally on the first weekend of the month, 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, on the third weekend of the month, is on hold because of the virus pandemic, and the coming summer. Here’s hoping for an October restart.
Grapevine is closed until further notice due to its current use in firefighting operations. 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 still has 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 before the end of the year.
Check with the APA Getaway Flights program and online calendar for fun weekend places to fly.