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The fall weather is supposed to be on us, and fortunately the temperatures have come down a bit and the mornings have produced some really great cool flying. I certainly hope we are through with the really strong damaging monsoon winds that we had this year that blew in hangar doors and upset airplanes that were outside. Here is hoping that we can put this year’s monsoon weather in our rear-view mirror for now and enjoy the more benign and cooler fall weather. It’s nice to be able to enjoy a casual Saturday morning fly in breakfast, some casual conversation, without wanting to hurry home before it gets too hot and bumpy. Let’s get out, and go flying, and take advantage of it.

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Next time you head out to fly somewhere for breakfast, or just fly for fun, ask yourself the question, is my aircraft safe for the flight intended? Does it comply with all applicable Airworthiness Directives (ADs) and Service Bulletins (SBs)? ADs are issued by the FAA and are usually mandatory and compliance is normally determined when the aircraft gets its annual inspection. Whenever an AD is issued it usually gets our immediate attention, because sometimes they can be very costly. However, Service Bulletins are issued by the aircraft, engine, or component manufacturer, and can be easily overlooked. Manufacturers issue Service Bulletins on their products to inform the user about critical, and useful information on safety, maintenance, or product improvement. FAA issued ADs are legally enforceable regulations to correct an unsafe condition that exists, and compliance with the AD is mandatory for continued airworthiness. However, for SBs issued by the manufacturer, compliance may not be required, depending on the type of operation, and whether or not the SB is included in an AD. While compliance with Service Bulletins may or may not be mandatory, but because they can potentially have a major impact on flight safety, they should never be ignored! While experimental aircraft may not be required to be in compliance either Airworthiness Directives, or Service Bulletins, in all cases, it would be prudent to make certain your aircraft is in compliance, same as a certified airplane, for your own safety. These directives and bulletins were generated for your safety. ADs, and SBs can often be obtained from your aircraft manufacturer, through aircraft type clubs, or on-line aircraft user groups. Be certain you have an airworthy airplane and fly safe. 

 

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MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS

FAA 

While this is not an item the FAA has undertaken, it will impact them; I recently heard that on September 23rd the U.S. House Of Representatives included, and passed, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bill that would reverse the FAA’s flight training policy for experimental aircraft. This is the first step in getting the amendment into the final NDAA bill, thus reversing the FAA’s policy on experimental aircraft flight training. It is hoped that the House and Senate provide a legislative solution to the flight training problem in the final NDAA bill. Hopefully the legislative process will be a lot faster than the four years the FAA is projecting to re-write the regulations to solve the problem.

 

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AIRSPACE 

I have not been aware of any significant airspace changes that have been made or are being considered that would impact the VFR pilot in the state. I certainly hope it stays that way for a while.

Last month I discussed a plan for the Phoenix area that would divide the two present north and south flight training areas into four training areas. I’m afraid I screwed up the description on how some of the boundaries for the four training areas would be delineated. The north and south areas would be defined by a line through the center of Sky Harbor Airport. The north practice area would be divided into east and west practice areas by interstate I-17, and the south area would be divided by I-10 / I-17. The new frequencies for the four areas have been identified, and everything seems to be on track. The Arizona Flight Training Workgroup (AFTW) is waiting for final approvals from the FCC, and FAA. The plan also calls for having the areas and frequencies depicted on the Phoenix Sectional charts.

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Like a bad dream, the issue of GPS Interference Testing still seems to keep coming up. The latest one that came up at the last minute was for testing at the Yuma Proving Ground. Once again, 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. 

A word of caution. Marana Regional Airport (AVQ) is a very busy airport, and to add to the problem, there may be parachutes landing close to the main runway, 12 - 30. The drop zone some parachutists use is in the center of the airport bounded by taxiways A, and C, and runway 03 - 21. Be aware and please use a bit of extra caution.

 

SAFETY

It would appear that pilots are still not really being aware of what it being expected of them when they go flying based on the number of pilot deviations that are being made. Fortunately, the number of pilot deviations are down a bit this reporting period when compared to last, but they’re still more than there should be. In the time period from August 13 through September 9, 2021, there were seventeen pilot deviations recorded by the FAA SDL FSDO. These deviations were committed by the full range of certificate holders from student through ATPs. Of the seventeen pilot deviations that were recorded by the FSDO, there was a need to issue nine Brashers.

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Note: A Brasher is a notice that is issued when further FAA action will be taken.

There wasn’t any one specific type of deviation that was prevalent this past period where pilots were being negligent. The following are the seventeen deviations that were committed this past reporting period.

There were Four IFR deviations.

One was for an altitude deviation, and one was for both, an altitude and route deviation. A Brasher was issued in each of these two cases. There were also two IFR route deviations.

There were Four Class Bravo Airspace deviations.

All were for entering the Bravo Airspace without authorization. In three of the cases, the pilot never even established radio contact with the TRACON. In one case, the deviation involved a potential conflict with an air carrier in the Bravo Airspace. Of the four deviations, a Brasher was issued in three of the cases.

There were Four Class Delta Airspace deviations.

Again, all four were for entering the Delta Airspace without prior authorization. In two of the deviations, the pilot never did establish radio contact with the controlling tower, and a Brasher was issued in one of the cases. In the other two deviations, the pilot contacted the tower only after they were maneuvering well within the Delta Airspace.

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There was Two cases of entering a taxiway without ATC instructions.

One incident was committed by a student pilot, and the other was an ATP pilot. Both incidents also resulted in the issuance of a Brasher notice for each of them.

There were Three runway incursions. 

In two cases, the aircraft were supposed to hold short of the runway, but, instead, they entered the runway, and held on the runway. In another case the aircraft was supposed to remain holding on the runway while another aircraft was to cross the runway, but, instead of holding, he took off without instructions. A Brasher was issued for this pilot deviation.

Please, always be aware of where you are, and what you at you are supposed to be doing or expected to do. Be aware of what airspace you are flying in, or about to be flying in, and be prepared to comply with its requirements. 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. Just don’t commit a pilot deviation, and always fly safe!

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In the central part of Arizona, we fly in a very complex airspace, and at times it can be rather busy, so a pilot must operate at an elevated state of awareness. Always be aware of the type of airspace you are flying in and using all the resources available to develop a good situational awareness of what is happening around you, and who is, or will be near you. Be safe, and think about what you're doing, or are about to do. Don’t be the pilot that commits a deviation.

Aviation safety hasn’t been as good as we would have liked in that in the latter part of the reporting period, we had two accidents that occurred, that resulted in a fatality in each. The other five accidents, or incidents, did not result in anyone getting hurt, only damaged airplanes. Given the number of pilot deviations that have occurred, I’m a bit surprised there weren’t more accidents, and people getting hurt. In spite of the number of pilot deviations, I hope we can keep these accident numbers down. For a detailed report of the seven accidents and incidents that have occurred, see my Accident & Incident Summary report elsewhere in this newsletter.

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.

 

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CONSTRUCTION

The Yuma International Airport has an apron rebuild and renovation program in progress as part of an Airport Capital Improvement Program, so be sure to check for NOTAMS for the airport if you plan on flying down there.

Falcon Field (FFZ) Mesa has a tenant that is continuing with the construction of new hangars on the northwest corner of the airport. Some of the hangars under construction are huge. I would suspect when these go into service, we will be seeing a substantial growth of the corporate aircraft population at Falcon Field. Falcon Field has announced they will have the south runway, RWYs 4R & 22L closed from October 18 through October 29 to put a paving overlay on the runway, and again on November 15 & 16 for paint striping on the new resurfaced runway. 

Prescott still has ongoing runway, and taxiway projects under way, so check NOTAMS before arrival so you won’t have any unexpected surprises.

With funding that has been available from the FAA, and State, 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. 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.

 

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THINGS TO DO - PLACES TO FLY FOR BREAKFAST:

  • The fly in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08), has restarted in October, and is on the first Saturday of the month.
  • 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 Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast, on the third weekend of the month, is planning on restarting on the third Saturday in November.
  • 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 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.

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