Winter weather is here, and the days are really becoming shorter. The Saturday morning fly outs for breakfast are having to start out at dawn to get to breakfast on time. It won’t be long before we will have to start at official sunrise and probably still be a bit late, unless you are authorized to fly at night, and take off before sunrise. Anyway, it sure is nice flying weather all day long for a change. While half of the country is starting to hunker down, we in Arizona are just starting to have our flying season. So, let’s get out there and go flying and have fun.
While this issue may not normally directly impact our flying, it certainly could impact the business aircraft (NBAA) community and air carrier industry, which could impact our travel plans, and that is the implementation of 5G wireless networks. Apparently, there are some cell phone companies that are delaying implementation to further evaluate concerns that have been expressed by the aviation community. How this all got started is what seems to be the FCCs lack of concern of what the impact of some of their decisions may have on the aviation community. The agency (FCC) seems to be very difficult to establish a working contact and working relationship with. This became apparent when we were attempting to obtain four communication frequencies for the four flight training areas around the Phoenix area. Fortunately, the problem is being resolved by “borrowing” un-used, or under-used frequencies from another agency. After several years of effort, hopefully this will be happening sometime this next year.
The FAA is soliciting designs for future air traffic control towers. They are issuing a nationwide call, seeking a standardized tower design that will meet operational and cost requirements, maximize energy efficiency, be rapidly constructed, and could easily be modified to meet possible changes in height requirements. The FAA has more than one hundred control towers at regional and municipal airports around the country that will need replacing in the near future. Last month the FAA had an online forum to answer questions from engineering and architectural firms that may be interested in submitting design proposals.
Fortunately, in the last reporting period, we haven’t heard of anything from the FAA in the way of airspace changes or proposed changes that would impact on us. We did learn that the PHX TRACON will be pulling together a working group in year 2022 to explore the possible acquisition of the airspace between Phoenix and Tucson which would then permit “tower to tower” operations similar to what we now have between Phoenix and Flagstaff.
The following item may not have much of an impact on your flying activity, but in the way of gee whiz information, the ASR8 RADAR antenna located at Williams Gateway Airport (IWA) is being scheduled for decommissioning due to its age and location. It’s now surrounded by warehouses and the 202 Freeway, and it doesn’t provide much useful input into the STARS FUSION system which consists of 7 other ASR or CARSR RADAR systems, and ABS-B. Several years ago it was planned to move this ASR8 antenna to a location at or near Rittenhouse Airport where it was hoped that it could possibly be used to help direct the traffic using the Casa Grande ILS and also potentially be used to develop tower to tower operations between Phoenix and Tucson. APA expended a lot of effort in trying to make this happen. The biggest hurtle was the substantial cost of the relocation. With the passage of time, and the development of newer technologies, the IWA ASR8 RADAR Antenna will be decommissioned and go away. However, without the ASR8 Antenna, we may still be able to achieve tower to tower operations south, but the challenge still remains as to what can be done to make the Casa Grande ILS operation safer for everyone that uses the airport.
Be aware, the traffic pattern at Deer Valley Airport (DVT) has changed. TPA - 2500 PISTON ENGINE AIRCRAFT (Both single engine & multi engine) TPA - 3000 TURBINE ENGINE AIRCRAFT Apparently this was done because there is a wider difference in airspeeds between piston engine aircraft and turbine engine aircraft than there is between single engine and multi engine aircraft.
We have again been reassured that control towers for Pinal/Silver Bell airport (MZJ/02AZ) and Marana Regional (AVQ) are under development. We do have to realize that this will require an NPRM process, so it won’t be happening soon.
Advances that have been made in the new Electronic Flight Bags and other electronic flight aids have reduced the number of Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) accidents, however, there has been concern raised that pilots may also be relying to much on their electronic devices and not developing and maintaining an adequate situational awareness, and this could also be a precursor to a CFIT event. The VFR pilot has to be more observant to what is happening outside of the airplane and not have their attention buried in the electronic devices inside the airplane.
Apparently, pilots are still not always fully aware of precisely where they are and what they are doing, or should be doing, based on the number of pilot deviations that are being made. Fortunately, the number of pilot deviations are again down a bit for this past reporting period when compared to last month, but there are still more than there should be. In the time period from October 15 through November 10, 2021, there were ten pilot deviations recorded by the FAA SDL FSDO.
There were Three IFR Operational Deviations.
There were One Class Bravo Airspace Deviation.
There were One Class Charlie Airspace Deviation.
There were Three Class Delta Airspace deviations.
There was One Runway incursion.
There was One Active Restricted Airspace Incursion.
Always be aware of where you are, and what you should or should not be doing. Know what the airport signs and runway and runway markings mean and obey them. Don’t commit a pilot deviation. For the details of these deviations, see my Pilot Deviations Report elsewhere in the newsletter.
While aviation safety has been good this past reporting period in that we haven’t experienced any severe accidents resulting in a loss of life, but, unfortunately, the number of accidents/incidents hasn’t really gone down. Some of these incidents shouldn’t have happened, but unfortunately they did. I really hope we can keep the number, and severity of the accidents down. For a detailed report of the accidents and incidents that have occurred, see my Accident & Incident Summary report elsewhere in this newsletter.
With the advent of cooler fall and winter weather, some planned airport projects are being delayed until we get back into the warmer summer type temperatures. However, some projects can continue, so with funding that is still available from the FAA, and State, some airports around the state may still 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 may be happening, so you don’t have a surprise when you arrive. Be cautious 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, is on the third weekend of the month. The breakfast is put on by the Falcon Field Warbirds and the Aviation Explorer Post 352 in the Warbirds Hangar.
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.
Normally on the last Saturday of the month, the breakfast put on by the Casa Grande Masonic Lodge in the Terminal of the Casa Grande Airport has been temporally shifted to December 18. Time will be from 7:00 to 10:00 am. We will advise of any further changes. From observations, the terminal dining area construction is wrapping up and a new tenant should be in place shortly.
For those that had been going to the Bent Prop Restaurant at the Eloy Airport (E60) for breakfast, be advised that because of the inability to hire staff, the restaurant will no longer be serving breakfast, but will only be opening at 11:00 am for lunch.
A lot of pilots had been going there for breakfast, and it’s unfortunate they had to cut back service.
Check with the APA Getaway Flights program and online calendar for fun weekend places to fly.
Check with the APA Getaway Flights program and online calendar for fun weekend places to fly.