The monsoon weather has been interesting to say the least. It’s taken down trees around the various airports, and caused other minor, and in some cases, major damage because in some cases it’s done in some airplanes also. Apparently, it wasn’t always because the airplanes weren’t properly secured. I was told, in one case, the tie down rings were torn out of the wing. I guess the only way around that is to keep your plane in a hangar, if you can afford it. I was fortunate to have mine inside, and it only got dripped on from the usual roof leak. Aside from the damage, and havoc, the weather has taken its toll on the fly in breakfast scene, resulting a few canceled or redirected breakfasts. I guess we should be happy, the rain has provided a welcome relief from the drought (and the weeds have loved it). The mornings are becoming cooler, and the fall flying temperatures will soon be with us. So, let’s get out and go flying.
I haven’t heard of anything that is new or changed recently by the FAA; however, I did become aware of a subtle limitation in the FAA Advisory Circular AC 43.13 that lists approximately thirty preventative maintenance items that the pilot/aircraft owner may perform on his airplane without an “A&P” mechanic having to sign off on the work. The aircraft pilot/owner can still continue doing these preventative maintenance items, and sign them off, as long as the aircraft continues to be operated under Part 91, personal use operation only. If the aircraft is to be used for commercial purposes, these preventative maintenance items MUST then be signed off by an “A&P” mechanic.
There have not been any significant airspace changes made or changes being planned that would impact the FFR pilot in the state of Arizona that have come to my attention.
While this may not exactly be an airspace issue, I’m certain that many of the pilots are aware of the two radio frequencies that are used in the Phoenix area for the north and south flight training practice areas, 122.75 for the north and 122.85 for the south. These may be going away and be replaced by four new frequencies. The flight practice areas would be divided east and west by the I-10 Interstate Highway, and north, and south by Sky Harbor Airport. Because of frequency congestion, and sometimes position ambiguity, The Arizona Flight Training Workgroup (AFTW) has been working with the FAA, and the FCC to get a discrete frequency for each of the four practice areas. This effort appears to be nearing completion. This effort will benefit not only those involved with flight training, but the also the general aviation VFR pilot. Pilots flying in any of the areas will more readily be able to determine if anyone is flying near them, where they may be, and what they are doing.
It's summer, the temperatures are high, and density altitude is a factor. So be sure to recognize this, and determine your aircraft’s limitations, as well as your own when planning your flight in the high country. Be sure to stay hydrated this time of the year.
Per the Phoenix Police Department Aero Division, there have been a number of laser strikes lately on aircraft flying in the greater Phoenix area, and these laser strikes haven’t been limited to air carriers. If you do encounter a laser strike, immediately call the nearest FAA Control Tower, and tell them where the laser strike came from, and they will contact the police department for an immediate response in an attempt to determine the source of the laser. The PHX PD Aero Division also stated there has also been an increased problem with the sighting of UAS being operated in airspace near the local airports, and they also reported that there have been cases where an airport has had to temporarily shut down operations because of an UAS operating in the area. They also stated they have had reports of a UAS being spotted as high as 8,000 feet. From this, I would surmise that we apparently have another item we need to keep an eye out for when flying near a populated area. They can be relatively small, and be very hard, or impossible, to spot in time to do anything, and they can be very dense and destructive if hit. It appears we now have another thing of concern that we didn’t need.
It’s obvious that some pilots are still not aware of what’s going to be expected of them when they go flying, and wind-up committing pilot deviations. In the time period from July 16 through August 12, 2021, there were twenty-one general aviation pilot deviations recorded by the FAA SDL FSDO. These deviations were committed by the full range of certificate holders from student thru ATPs. Of the twenty-one pilot deviations that were recorded by the FSDO, there was a need to issue eight Brashers.
A Brasher is a notice that is issued when further FAA action will be taken.
There were an excessive number of IFR Operations deviations (10) this period followed by runway incursions (5).
The following are the twenty-one deviations that were committed this past reporting period.
THERE WERE TEN IFR DEVIATIONS.
Four were for altitude deviations. In two cases the pilot made a change in flight level without authorization by the air traffic controller, and a Brasher was issued in each of these cases. In another case, the pilot misunderstood an air speed request for an altitude request which was corrected, and the other case was a pilot drifting off the assigned altitude and was corrected.
There were four instrument departure deviations. In all four deviations the pilots did not fly the procedure as it was published. In one case the failure to fly the procedure as publish resulted in a conflict with another aircraft, and a Brasher was issued for that deviation.
There were two route deviations. In one case the pilot didn’t follow ATC corrective instructions and entered a block of active controlled airspace which resulted in the issuance of a Brasher. In the other case the pilot was issued a departure procedure to fly and he confirmed and accepted the procedure, but flew an entirely different departure procedure than the one he was given. A Brasher was also issued for this deviation.
THERE WERE THREE CLASS BRAVO DEVIATIONS.
In all three cases, the pilot entered the Bravo Airspace without receiving a clearance from ATC. In one of the cases the pilot entered a shelf of the Bravo, flew around, and then returned to his “home” airport, and got a Brasher.
THERE WAS ONE RUNWAY HOLD BAR DEVIATION.
The pilot landed at an airport with parallel runways, and after he landed, he taxied off the runway but stopped short of the runway hold short bar, leaving him technically, still on the runway. He contacted Ground Control, and he was instructed to clear the runway and to taxi up to and hold short of the parallel runway. The pilot read back the instructions correctly and started to taxi. Ground Control was about to tell the pilot that when exiting a runway, to always taxi past the “hold bars” to clear the runway, when they noticed the pilot was taxiing past the parallel runway hold bars and would be entering the parallel runway. Ground Control immediately told the pilot to stop, and an aircraft that was on short final was instructed to go around. The pilot was issued a Brasher for failing to recognize runway hold bars.
THERE WERE FIVE RUNWAY INCURSIONS.
Four were for entering the runway and holding without authorization. In one of the four cases, the pilot holding in position misunderstood the takeoff instructions intended for another airplane and taxied onto the runway for takeoff. He was told to clear the runway and was issued a Brasher. There was one case where an aircraft crossed the runway without authorization. The pilot called the tower, and stated he was holding short, and wanted to cross the runway. The tower had just cleared a landing aircraft off the runway and the tower noticed that the aircraft that was holding to cross was crossing the runway without an authorization.
THERE WERE TWO FAILURE TO FOLLOW ATC INSTRUCTIONS.
In one case the pilot failed to follow traffic pattern instructions, and the other pilot deviation was a failure to follow taxi instructions.
Whenever you fly, make sure that you know what the requirements and limitations are for the operation you are performing, or the airspace you are flying in, or the airspace you may be about to enter. Be aware of what Air Traffic Control (ATC) may be expecting of you and be certain you can comply with the requirements.
We operate in a crowded and complex airspace, and pilots always need to strive to perform at their peak level. Be extra wary and alert and develop good situational awareness of what is happening around you. Be safe, and think about what you’re doing, or are about to do. Don’t be the pilot that commits a pilot deviation.
Aviation safety has really been good in that there were only three accidents or incidents that had come to my attention in this last reporting period. Because the number of pilot deviations reported had increased this past month, I thought the accident/incident numbers would have increased also, but they didn’t. Pilots were out there flying, and making mistakes, but apparently, they were not having accidents. Looking at the pilot deviations being made, I’m truly amazed that there haven’t been more accidents than were reported. I certainly hope this accident trend continues. For a detailed report of the accidents and incidents that have occurred, see my Accident & Incident Summary report elsewhere in this newsletter.
The Yuma International Airport has announced plans to renovate its paved aprons in the general aviation area through a construction contract awarded to a local Yuma contractor. “This project is part of the Airport’s Capital Improvement Program and Yuma International Airport appreciates Federal grant funding received from the FAA for its successful completion,” commented Airport Director, Gladys Brown. She stated these federally granted funds would be collected through airline ticket sales. Construction is underway, so be sure to check for NOTAMS for the airport.
Falcon Field (FFZ) Mesa has a tenant continuing the construction of new hangars on the northwest corner of the airport. More corporate-sized aircraft are planning to move into the new large hangars.
Gateway Airport (IWA) is in the process of building a new control tower. Construction is progressing on schedule, and unless something unforeseen happens, it should be completed by next July.
Prescott has ongoing runway and taxiway projects underway, so check NOTAMS before arrival so you won’t have 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. Always 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. The H. A. Clark Memorial Field (CMR), Williams, just completed their third Planning Advisory Committee meeting in their Master Plan update program. 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.
- 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 hot summer. Here’s hoping for an October restart.
- Grapevine is now 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. Grapevine, which lies within a National Forest, is heavily used by the Forest Service for fighting wildfires, and the Military for Special Training.
- There is now a pancake breakfast on the last Saturday of the month at the Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ). The breakfast is being put on by the Casa Grande Masonic Lodge (Pinal Lodge #30). Time is from 7:00 to 10:00 am, and the breakfast is being served in the air-conditioned terminal. This is planned to be a monthly event until the renovation of the cafe area of the terminal is completed and staffed, which should happen near the end of the year.
Check with the APA Getaway Flights program and online calendar for fun weekend places to fly.