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Summer sure is here! It seems like you can’t get up early enough to beat the heat. The bugs must have got it figured out though, as I noticed that on the last few flights that I hardly pick up any bugs, and it didn’t take much to clean the windshield. I think the airplane may be handling the hot weather better than I, because the last time I flew out for breakfast with a group, at the end of the flight the engine temps did get a bit warm, but I felt totally cooked. With the unfortunate forest fire season we are experiencing, watch out for the fire TFRs, and exercise extra caution around airports such as Prescott, Payson, Williams Gateway and Falcon Field, Mesa, and Grapevine, as there are firefighting aircraft operating from them. Please fly safe, keep cool, and stay hydrated.

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Because of the extremely dry conditions, and the fire threat we are being faced with, the Arizona State Land Department has been forced to announce the closure of State Land to all users. This will apply to all Vehicles, all Hot Air Balloon operations, and will also mean the closure of all the backcountry airstrips on State and Federal Lands used by APA. This closure will remain in effect until we see a significant amount of moisture statewide. We don’t like to see this happen, but unfortunately it’s necessary, because they don’t want anyone to be responsible for the catastrophic results of another fire.

 

MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS

FAA 

Last month we commented on a Grumman AA-5 and AA-1 horizontal stabilizer issue. In the middle of June, the FAA Safety Team sent out notice NOTC1827. This was reissued to inform everyone that True Flight Aerospace has issued Service Bulletin SB-195, Revision A, Bondline Inspection. This Service Bulletin is applicable to the following aircraft: AA5, AA-5A, and AA-5B/all, as well as AA1, AA-1A, AA-1B, and AA-1C/all. In the interest of safety, it is recommended that anyone operating or maintaining these aircraft read this Service Bulletin and comply with the maintenance actions specified.

The time interval that VFR Sectional and TAC charts are to be reissued is being changed from every six months to every 56 days so they will be refreshed on the same dates as the IFR charts and publications. This change started on June 25, 2021. For those that still fly with paper charts, this could be a problem. However, for those that fly with an electronic flight bag, this won’t be much of an issue. You will only have to press the “Update” button a bit more often. It’s another incentive to fly with an electronic flight bag. The only known changes to the Phoenix VFR Charts for 2/25/2021 is that the Squaw Peak landmark name has been changed to Piestewa Peak, and the I-10/Squaw Peak Stack has been renamed I-10 Stack.

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AIRSPACE 

Everything seems to have been operating smoothly in the airspace system lately, and we haven’t heard of any recent problems or issues.

The military has advised us that there has been a change made in how the low altitude Military Training Routes are being used. While the specifications for the routes allow a minimum flight altitude of 100 feet AGL, they had been limiting all flights on the routes to a minimum of 500 feet AGL. They have recently changed their minimum flight altitude on the routes down from 500 feet to 300 feet AGL. When you encounter a Military Training Route, try to cross it at 90°, and do not fly parallel to it. They are ten miles wide and should be crossed as expeditiously as possible. If you see a fighter on a route, always look for the second one. Generally, there will always be two or more fighters in a flight.

The Scottsdale Municipal Airport (SDL) runway was closed on July 5 and will remain closed for 45 days. During that time, the ATC Tower will remain open as there will continue to be helicopter operations occurring, and the Delta Airspace around SDL will remain in effect. So, don’t commit an airspace violation by entering the SDL Class Delta Airspace without first establishing communications with the SDL ATC Tower.

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The process is still under way within the Department of Defense (DOD) to establish a Delta Airspace for the Stagecoach Army Air Force (AAF) Base located 11 NM northwest of Pinal Airpark (MZJ). The Stagecoach AAF Base is a helicopter staging base for the Army helicopter training school located at Pinal Air Park. Stagecoach has to have specific certified weather observation equipment operating on the site before the Delta Airspace can be established, and they are in the process of budgeting and acquiring the required equipment. The dimensions of the Delta Airspace will be 4NM and 2,500’ AGL. The DOD and the FAA seem to move at the speed of a glacier on items like this, so it may be a while before anything happens. 

 

SAFETY

When you are flying it is imperative that you are aware of the type of airspace you are flying in, or the airspace you may be about to enter, and that you know what the requirements and limitations are, what Air Traffic Control (ATC) may be expecting of you, and that you can comply with them. It is very apparent that some pilots are not aware and wind up with problems. From May 13 through June 10, 2021, there were eighteen general aviation pilot deviations recorded by the FAA SDL FSDO. These deviations were committed by students, private, commercial, CFIs with students, and ATPs. Of the eighteen deviations that were made, there were five Brashers issued, and it was also noted that there seemed to be a significant number of runway incursions made during the reporting period.

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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 four IFR deviations, three were altitude deviations and one was a route deviation. There were two Brashers issued for altitude deviations.

There was one Class Alpha Airspace deviation for entering the airspace without first getting an ATC clearance. A Brasher was issued for the deviation.

There was one Class Charlie Airspace deviation for entering the Charlie Airspace without first establishing two-way communications with ATC before entry.

There were five Class Delta Airspace deviations, and all of the deviations were for entering without first establishing communication with ATC. In one case the pilot entered the Delta Airspace and only called the tower when he was on a two-mile final for landing. A Brasher was issued to the pilot for that deviation and a Brasher was issued for one of the cases of flying through the Delta Airspace without contacting the tower.

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There were seven cases of runway incursions. One of the runway incursions did not involve an airplane but was a pedestrian that had climbed over the security fence at Sky Harbor Airport and wandered out on the active runway, forcing closure of the runway and rerouting some airliners. Airport Police captured and arrested the pedestrian. The other incursions were cases of the pilot not holding short of the runway as instructed, but proceeding onto the runway and taking off, and there were cases of the pilot being told to hold short of the runway but taxiing past the hold bars, and holding position, and also a case of taxiing onto the runway, and holding in position on the runway.

Despite giving a correct read back of the instructions, some pilots still committed a deviation. If you don’t understand the ATC controller’s instructions, ask for a repeat of the instructions and follow them. We operate in a very complex and sometimes crowded airspace, and it will only be safe if everyone operates in a safe and predictable manner. Don’t commit a pilot deviation and fly safe!

Aviation safety this past reporting period was not good in that we had a fatal accident late in the reporting period. While it’s fortunate that the number of accidents and incidents were down slightly this reporting period, they are still not as low as they should or could be. Based on the number of pilot deviations being committed and the number of accidents occurring, it does appear that pilots have not cut back much on their flying activity, but there are a significant number that are not paying attention to their flying or are being distracted from what they are supposed to be doing. To get more detailed information on this past month’s accidents and incidents, see my Accident & Incident Summary in this newsletter.

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Members, please continue to send accident information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the date, location, aircraft make, and type, if anyone got hurt, and with as much detail as possible. Thank You!

 

CONSTRUCTION

Scottsdale Municipal Airport (SDL) closed their runway 3/21 on July 6 for 45 days for rebuilding the runway. As a result, many of the aircraft based there have relocated to other nearby airports resulting in a substantial increase in operations at many of the other airports. Helicopter operations at SDL will continue, and the control tower operation will continue as before the runway closure.

Falcon Field (FFZ) Mesa is constructing several new hangars on the northwest corner of the airport, and a number of corporate sized aircraft will be moving into the new larger hangars.

Gateway Airport (IWA) is in the process of building a new control tower. Perhaps in the next newsletter we may be able to give you an anticipated date for the opening.

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Marana Regional Airport (AVQ) is still planning on acquiring an FAA control tower. The city and the airport are still on schedule with their plan with the preparation of the many FAA required studies and reports.

Prescott Airport has a new terminal they have just opened. We need to stop by and check it out. They also announced ERAU has just added 25 new aircraft to their fleet, so the skies around Prescott are going to be getting a bit busier. Prescott also has ongoing runway and taxiway projects under way, so check NOTAMS before arriving so you won’t encounter any unexpected surprises.

With funding that has been 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 a surprise when you arrive. Use caution, and always fly informed.

APA continues to work 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 because of the forest fire season. 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 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.

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