Well, the winter weather is on us, and the northern part of the country is hunkering down trying to keep warm and trying to survive. I got a note from a friend near Oshkosh, and they were commenting that with the wind chill that night the temperature was expected to be -34°F. That’s enough of a reason to be living here in Arizona. So far, we’ve had a mild enjoyable winter permitting a lot of flying time, so let's go flying and enjoy what we have.
I do envy those that can and do own and fly light jets with some of the amazing things that you can have on them. One of those things that amaze me is the Autoland feature that is now available on some of them. Cirrus has developed an Autoland system for their Cirrus Vision Jet. Their “Safe Return Autoland” system is truly amazing in what it can do. I’ve heard there are rumors that they may be developing an Autoland system for their piston powered SR series of aircraft. If they do, how long will it be before the Autoland system will also be available on other aircraft we commonly fly? Think about GPS navigation and the relatively short time it has been with us, and how amazing it is with all its navigation information. Autoland would be an excellent feature. Lately, most of my landings would be better classified as arrivals rather than landings.
In one of my earlier articles, I had discussed the impact of the cell phone 5G C-band system on the aviation community, and its impact being felt by the corporate jet and air carrier aircraft. Apparently, it will also impact the light jet community also, especially those with autoland systems. With all the concerns and attention the problem is receiving from the FAA, the Business Aircraft, and Airline Industry, I hope it can be rationally resolved soon.
We have recently been made aware that CBD can be risky for pilots, and it’s found in more products than you would think. CBD is the second most active ingredient in cannabis (marijuana). CBD is noted for its benefits, without the psychoactive response of THC, the main active ingredient in cannabis. CBD can be found in many hygiene, wellness, and consumable products. CBD is considered a non-psychoactive compound but can legally have trace amounts of THC that are not enough to cause a psychoactive response but would be sufficient to show up on a drug test, which currently can’t differentiate between THC and CBD. In spite of state laws, THC is still an illicit substance in the opinion of the federal government, and the FAA has a zero-tolerance policy regarding illicit substance use. Because drug tests can’t tell the difference between THC and CBD, pilots who are suspected of using THC, accidentally through CBD use, can be subject to certificate revocation because of a positive drug test following an accident. The pilot could even jeopardize insurance coverage. The FAA’s application for a medical certificate also requires pilots to report “any and all positive drug tests.” With the recent increase in CBD popularity, pilots have found CBD in everything from shampoo to water and cocktails. Avoidance is therefore recommended when it comes to any CBD products. It’s helpful to become aware of common CBD terminology like “full or broad spectrum,” and read product labels carefully, including the ingredients. Use caution, because the results could be devastating.
Everything seemed to be a bit quiet on the FAA front this past reporting period. There was nothing from the FAA that came to my attention that would impact your flying. Being the first of the year, I hope they aren’t planning on something to spring on us or our airplanes in the new year.
AIRSPACE—Proposed MOA Changes
We just obtained a copy of a letter from the Department of the Air Force, dated January 2, 2022, with the subject: Notice of Intent to prepare Environmental Impact Statement for Special Use Airspace Optimization to Support Air Force Missions in Arizona.
The Department of the Air Force (DAF) is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of optimizing the special use airspace that is available to support the Air Force missions in Arizona.
In their letter they explain that they would like to plan on modifying the size and use of their MOAs and associated Air Traffic Control Assigned Airspace in Arizona. These MOAs were charted decades ago and have had minimal improvements over time to meet the evolving training requirements. The Department of the Air Force (DAF) is proposing new modifications to this special use airspace to address the training shortfalls caused by this presently insufficient airspace.
These proposed changes would include Changing the published times of use, adjusting the horizontal dimensions of one MOA, lowering the defined floor of some MOAs to allow for low-altitude training, and adjusting the attributes of some airspace to allow for supersonic flight below 30,000 feet MSL, and allow for the use chaff and flares. The proposed changes would not include ground disturbance beneath the MOAs, or weapons deployment. The special use airspace, or MOAs, addressed in the EIS includes Tombstone, Outlaw, Jackal, Morenci, Reserve, Bagdad, Gladden, Sells, Ruby, and Fuzzy.
The DAF is soliciting comments on three preliminary alternatives that would optimize the existing MOAs. Visit the project website ( www.ArizonaRegionalAirspaceEIS.com ) for detailed information on each of these alternatives. The Department of the Air Force will also be hosting several in-person public meetings around the state on the proposed action. The location, date, and time of the meetings are available on the above website.
See this chart for the location of these MOAs and the “starred” meeting locations.
The winter season often brings with it the usual colds or sniffles. Before you take a medication or herbal compound to ward off the malady, read the introductory item in this report warning about taking an item for your problem that may contain a CBD, and then very potentially winding up with an even greater problem.
Based on my latest FAA report of deviations that pilots have made, it’s hard to believe pilots are still flying around, apparently not aware of what type of airspace they are flying in, or what type of airspace they may be about to enter. This is continuing to be evident by the number of pilot deviations that are being documented each month. This past reporting period the number of deviations was down slightly from the previous reporting period, and the number of serious deviations requiring the issuance of a brasher notice was also significantly down. In the past reporting period, which ran from December 10 through January13, 2021, there were 13 general aviation pilot deviations recorded by the FAA SDL FSDO. These deviations were committed by private, commercial, CFIs, and ATPs. Of the thirteen deviations made, there was a need to issue three Brasher notices.
A summary of the deviations that were committed are as follows:
Two IFR Route Deviations (Two Brashers)
One Class Bravo Airspace Deviation
Three Class Delta Airspace Deviations (One Brasher)
Six Runway Incursions
One Failure to Follow ATC Instructions
Note: a Brasher is a notice that is issued when further FAA action will be taken.
Pilots do need to be aware of where they are and what type of airspace they may be entering and always make the required radio communications. Time also needs to be taken to review the Airman’s Information Manual (AIM) and refresh the memory on what the airport signs and runway markings mean, and be prepared to respond to them. Don’t be the pilot committing a deviation. For the details of this month’s deviations, see my Pilot Deviations Report elsewhere in this newsletter.
Aviation safety wasn’t the greatest this past reporting period because of the large number of incidents and accidents that occurred. Last year, 2021, didn’t end well, in that on the last day of the year we did have an accident with one fatality. However, we did start the year 2022 well, because none of the accidents/incidents involved serious injuries. I hope we can keep that trend going for a while.
For a detailed report of the accidents and incidents that have occurred, see my Accident & Incident Summary report located elsewhere in this newsletter.
Even though the winter weather has been warmer than usual, some planned airport projects are still being delayed until we get back into the spring and warmer summer type temperatures. However, some projects are continuing, so with funding that is available from the FAA, and State, some airports around the state may still have construction projects in progress. Unfortunately, we don’t have all the latest details on all these projects, so always check for NOTAMs at your destination airport to see what may be happening. You don’t want to have a surprise when you arrive. So 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. Working with the Coffman Associates firm, the Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ) just started their Airport Master Plan update process at the very end of this reporting period. The master plan update process for Casa Grande is anticipated to take approximately 15 to 18 months. The FAA would like to see airports update their master plans approximately every five years, incorporating a twenty year outlook in the process. Assistance with the funding for these master plans is available from the Arizona State Aeronautics and the FAA.
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 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. This month’s event will slip one week to February 26th due to the Copperstate event. Come and camp for the weekend! The camp host will prepare the evening main course, and campers, please bring a side dish or dessert to share. As always check our pilot info page for safety briefs on Grapevine and other backcountry airstrips. Grapevine, which lies within a National Forest, is heavily used by the Forest Service for fighting wildfires and the Military for Special Training.
On the last Saturday of the month, a fly-in breakfast is put on by the Casa Grande Masonic Lodge in the Terminal of the Casa Grande Airport. The required terminal Cafe modifications are completed, and hopefully it shouldn’t be much longer before a permanent cafe tenant is in place.
Check with the APA Getaway Flights program and online calendar for fun weekend places to fly.