Fall weather is finally here, and although some of the days have been a little warmer than normal, the flying weather has been great. I hope all of you have been enjoying it, also. It’s been good going on the weekend morning breakfast flights, and enjoying them with friends, and not getting banged around on the way home. This is the time of the year that we have been waiting for. So, let’s go flying!
I just saw a news release that a nonprofit organization in Dayton, Ohio, the Wright Flyer Inc. had completed the construction of a Wright Flyer “B” lookalike and they had just made its first flight. The Wright Model B was the first production airplane produced by the Wright brothers, and one of the first customers was the U. S. Army. Interestingly, the first aviation fatality was Army Lt. Thomas Selfridge, who died in a Wright B airplane accident. The new Wright Flyer “B,” which was under construction for the past five years, was constructed to the latest standards, and with the latest materials and components. The Flyer was designed to be capable of being readily disassembled and shipped around the country for display and demonstration. I would hope it may also be available to provide a chance for someone to fly in a Wright Model “B” airplane. Several years ago, I had an opportunity to ride in the predecessor to this airplane. The biggest hazard that came to mind during the flight, was the possible impact with a big bug, as you were really out there and exposed.
There were no items from the FAA that would have an impact on us in the reporting period.
Nothing has come to my attention in the way of airspace changes that been made or are being proposed that would impact us that are flying VFR, and I hope it all continues to stay that way.
I was beginning to think that we, here in Arizona, were the only ones that were getting these last-minute notices of GPS Interference Testing. It turns out that many other parts of the Southwest are having the same problem, and in some cases, significant GPS use interruptions. It is a problem that is vexing not only pilots, but controllers as well. Apparently, the problem is becoming enough of an issue that AOPA, and other aviation organizations, have expressed reservations about the amount of intentional government jamming of GPS reception, that a movement is taking place to appeal to the military to have the amount of GPS Interference Testing significantly reduced.
In a recent meeting, a U.S. Army representative advised that a plan is in process to establish a control tower at Pinal Airpark, and no schedule was mentioned. Also, there was no mention of how the activity was going to get the Stagecoach Heliport Class Delta Airspace established to gain the desired control of the airspace over and around the heliport. He did advise that during the week their heavy traffic time is between 8:00 to 10:00 am local time.
For those pilots in the Phoenix area that fly in the northwest practice area, it seems that there have been complaints about low flying aircraft over the northwest proving grounds and test track. Apparently, there may have been aircraft doing “engine out” procedures over the test track. It is suggested by the Arizona Flight Training Workgroup (AFTW) that adequate altitude be maintained when flying over the proving grounds.
Shining a laser at an aircraft is a serious safety threat that continues to rise, and the Phoenix area is number four in the nation for reported laser strikes on aircraft per the police department aero squadron. Nationwide, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has received 7,186 laser strike reports so far for 2021. This exceeds the total of 6,852 for 2020. The greatest number of strikes have been occurring around Sky Harbor Airport. The police department commented that during the holidays when lighted decorations are set up, there is also an increase in reported laser strikes. Many decorations use laser lights, so when setting up display lighting, if it involved laser lights, watch where they pointed. When flying, if you are lighted by a laser, immediately advise the control tower of the occurrence, and where it occurred.
Apparently, pilots are still not really aware of what is 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 again down a bit for this reporting period when compared to last time, but they’re still more than there should be. In the time period from September 10 through October 14, 2021, there were twelve pilot deviations recorded by the FAA SDL FSDO.
There were Two IFR deviations.
There were Three Class Delta Airspace deviations.
There were Seven Runway Incursions.
Please, always be aware of where you are, and what you are supposed to be doing or expected to do. Know what the airport and runway signs and markings mean and obey them. Don’t commit a pilot deviation. For the details of these deviations, see my Pilot Deviations Report elsewhere in this newsletter.
Aviation safety has not been good in that we have had some fatal accidents, some accidents with serious injuries, and an increase in the number of accidents in the reporting period. Given the number of pilot deviations that have occurred, I’m a bit surprised there weren’t more accidents and people getting hurt. I hope we can keep these accident numbers and their severity down. For a detailed report of the accidents and incidents that have occurred, see my Accident & Incident Summary report elsewhere in this newsletter.
The FAA FAASTeam is suggesting, don't get high and fly! Impairment from over-the-counter medication and CBD products can compromise a pilot’s ability to safely fly and can adversely affect the pilot’s judgment and decision-making. To read more about this, and avoid adverse drug interactions, go to the following website. printable (PDF) fact sheet.
Falcon Field (FFZ) Mesa had plans to shut down Runway 4R - 22L for a few days to apply an asphaltic overlay this fall, but monsoon rains, and now the lower temperatures have forced the project to be delayed until next spring when warmer temperatures return.
With funding that has been available from the FAA and Arizona, 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 Williams, 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) 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.
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.