Although it has been a bit breezy at times, the weather has been pretty good for flying out for breakfast on weekends. At least we don’t have to worry about the subzero cold and snow to use our airplanes like some folks. With the good flying weather, the aviation scene is rather full of activities to participate in. The most recent fly in was the annual Copperstate Fly In which was held in conjunction with the Buckeye Air Fair on February 17-20. The attendance at the Copperstate event wasn’t as great as in the past, but still, attendance was good, and it was a real pleasure to have had the opportunity to visit with many of you that were there.
The one flying event at Copperstate that really got my attention was the STOL Drag Race event. It was a real demonstration of pilot skill and knowing your airplane. It demonstrated that the fastest airplane was not necessarily going to be the winner, and it was fun to see it all demonstrated with two airplanes at a time right in front of you. The next fly in event will be the annual Cactus Fly In at Casa Grande Municipal Airport on March 5th. I’ll be looking forward to seeing you there, So let’s go flying.
For those of you that want to fly into Canada, compliance with ADS-B Out equipment and the operating requirements will become mandatory in Canada’s Class A and B airspace above 12,500 feet MSL beginning February 23, 2023. To demonstrate compliance with the mandate, aircraft must be equipped with an appropriate transponder with ADS-B Out capabilities, meet the applicable minimum operational performance standards, and have antenna capability for broadcast toward space-based ADS-B receivers emitting 1090-MHz extended squitter. This latter requirement can be met through the use of a top and bottom antenna, or with a single antenna that can transmit both toward the ground and up to satellites. For more information, go to: ADS-B Out equipment and operating requirements
I’m sure most of you have heard that the FAA Administrator, Steve Dickson, has resigned. He certainly hadn’t been in the position for very long. I know, he stated he resigned for family reasons. I think it would be very interesting to know what the real reasons were for the decision. Perhaps time will tell us. It appears that Deputy Administrator, Bradley Mims, will be taking his place until a new FAA Administrator is appointed.
Because of a continuing problem with the misuse of expense sharing and understanding pilot privileges, the FAA has issued the following advisory notice, Number: NOTC2238
Unauthorized 135 operations continue to be a problem nationwide, putting the flying public in danger, diluting safety in the national airspace system, and undercutting the business of legitimate operators. This letter is a follow-on to the May 2020 Informational Pilot Letter and a continuing effort to remind all pilots to be on the lookout for possible illegal operations. This letter will focus on two ongoing issues: first, the misuse and/or misunderstanding of expense sharing between pilots and passengers. Second, the apparent lack of understanding of pilot privileges and limitations versus operating rules.
For Expense Sharing Reminders: (See AC- 61-142)
The forty-fourth annual General Aviation Activity Survey is under way for the calendar year 2021. If you got a card from the FAA requesting activity information, please drop them a note and participate in the survey, even if you didn’t fly your aircraft during 2021, sold the aircraft, or if the aircraft was damaged, and not flyable. The survey will be used to determine accident rates, the success of safety initiatives, and help the policymakers determine funding for aviation service needs, and also assess the impact of regulatory changes.
As much as most of us don’t like for FAA ADs to show up on our airplanes, they are often the result of a safety issue that needs attention. Because they are only applicable to certified aircraft, and certified aircraft parts, experimental aircraft owners need to be aware that some ADs could be applicable to their aircraft also. Because experimental aircraft owners don’t receive AD notices, therein lies the real challenge, determining if an AD is issued affecting their aircraft. I don’t have a good answer to that one, other than to try to be vigilant of what’s happening out there.
Recently there were ADs issued as follows:
On February 25, 2022, the FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive (AD) 2022-05-09 for certain MARS A.S. emergency parachutes. This AD results from the length of the ripcord between the pins being too long, which could cause a malfunction of the emergency parachute. This AD requires removing emergency parachutes with certain manufacture dates or serial numbers from service. The AD is available at the following link. https://drs.faa.gov/browse/excelExternalWindow/83917497-1340-48c5-be7d-8cc503c5a991
Reports of seat belt center bracket failures has prompted the FAA to propose a new airworthiness directive (AD) that will affect some Cessna Model 120 and 140 aircraft. The proposed AD requires determining if the seat belt center bracket material is made of steel and replacing any aluminum brackets with steel ones. A Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin was issued recommending operators to replace the aluminum brackets with steel brackets was released in 2015 following a 2014 fatal accident, when a Cessna 140 aircraft nosed over on landing, and the seat belt center bracket failed. An analysis of the aluminum bracket determined the part failed due to over-stress.
Not yet an AD, but this one could be soon. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is urging the FAA to take action based on the NTSB’s investigations of accidents involving airplanes designed and built by Piper Aircraft that sustained substantial damage when their rudders structurally failed in flight. The NTSB’s findings indicate that the rudder post fractured above the upper hinge and the top portion of the rudder folded over the upper tail brace wires, resulting in diminished control of the airplane. The NTSB has determined that the rudders were consistent with Piper part number 40622 and that the rudder posts were made of American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) 1025 carbon steel and likely fractured due to fatigue. Additional support for this recommendation is derived from the examination of similarly fractured rudder posts. The NTSB is issuing a recommendation to the FAA that the rudder post material be replaced with AISI 4130 low-alloy steel. For more information, go to; https://www.faasafety.gov/files/notices/2022/Feb/AIR2202.pdf
The Phoenix Interagency Fire Center will be hosting the 2022 National Aerial Supervision Training Academy. Flight training is scheduled from February 20th thru March 20th . Flights will be out of Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport to and from the simulation sites. No TFR’s will be in effect, but there will be NOTAMs issued for each site. Attached is a map of the simulation sites that will be utilized (frequencies for each site will be coming soon). Any questions or concerns please call Phoenix Dispatch Aircraft Desk at 480-457-1552. Thank you.
Roblas Sim Site: 33 19.316 X 111 14.558, 4 NM radius
Picketpost Sim Site: 33 12.819 X 111 09.763, 2.5 NM radius
Apache Sim Site: 33 30.50 X 110 44.28, 5 NM radius
Armer Leadplane site: 33 49.254 X 111 00.664, 5 NM radius
|Roblas||2500ft msl||5500ft msl|
|Picketpost||3300ft msl||6300ft msl|
|Apache||4900ft msl||7900ft msl|
|Armer||7300ft msl||10300ft msl|
For reference only, actual altitudes may vary per sim.
Last month, we presented a letter from The Department of the Air Force (DAF) stating they are 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, and 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 proposed changes would include: Changing the published times of use, adjusting the horizontal dimensions of one of the MOAs, 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 special use airspace, or MOAs, addressed in the EIS includes: Tombstone, Outlaw, Jackal, Morenci, Reserve, Bagdad, Gladden, Sells, Ruby, and Fuzzy MOAs.
The DAF was soliciting comments on the preliminary alternatives that would optimize the existing MOAs. Visit the project website ( www.ArizonaRegionalAirspaceEIS.com) for detailed information on each of these alternatives. The due date for letters in response to the proposal was March 4, 2022. The responses to the requested changes will be reviewed, and a final EIS will be prepared with a request for comments on the final specific changes. Comments on this final specific request will be taken over a time period that would normally be used for an NPRM. This will be the time when everyone must take a careful look at the final EIS proposal and submit their comments. The number of comments received will be crucial to the final outcome.
The Arizona Pilots Association did submit a letter in response to their preliminary alternatives.
The FAA is laying out a path to eliminate lead from General Aviation Aircraft Fuel by the end of 2030. An initiative that outlines how the FAA, and aviation stakeholders, can safely eliminate the use of leaded aviation fuel by the end of 2030 without adversely affecting the present piston-engine fleet is outlined in FAA Notice Number: NOTC2276. To learn more, go to: faa.gov/notc2276
The regulations governing FAA investigations and enforcement actions have been updated to correct inconsistencies and reflect the changes in organizational structure and authorities. As an example, action involving airport security, checked baggage, weapons violations, etc. have been removed because these and other items that correctly belong to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have been removed from the FAA regulations. Items more relevant to general aviation pilots such as changes which govern what action FAA may take if their investigation substantiates allegations of a violation remained. FAA noted in the Final Rule that “FAA did not intend to limit its ability to choose an appropriate response which may include taking administrative or compliance action.” FAA changed the proposed language to reflect the discretion it has under its Compliance Program. If the investigation substantiates allegations set forth in a complaint, the Administrator may take action in accordance with applicable law and FAA policy. Remember, a non-confrontational attitude will always go a long way for you when dealing with the FAA.
Based on the latest FAA report of pilot deviations, it’s hard to believe that pilots are not aware of what type of airspace they are flying in or what type of airspace they may be about to enter. This is very evident by the number of pilot deviations that are being committed each month. This past reporting period the number of deviations were up significantly from the previous reporting period, and the number of serious deviations requiring the issuance of a Brasher notice only slightly increased. In the past reporting period, which ran from January 14 through February 10, 2022, there were twenty general aviation pilot deviations recorded by the FAA SDL FSDO. These deviations were committed by all classes of certificate holders from student, private, commercial, CFIs, and ATPs. Of the twenty deviations made, there was a need to issue four Brasher notices.
A summary of the deviations that were committed are as follows:
Two IFR Route Deviations; One Brasher Issued
Two Class Bravo Airspace Deviations
Nine Class Delta Airspace Deviations; Three Brashers Issued
Four Runway Incursions
Three Failure to Follow ATC Instructions
Note: a Brasher is a notice that is issued when further FAA action will be taken.
Pilots need to always be aware of where they are and what type of airspace they may be entering and always establish the required radio communications. Time should also 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 recognize 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, not only because of the number of incidents and accidents that occurred, but one of the accidents resulted in a fatality. However, we did start the year 2022 rather well, because none of the accidents/incidents involved serious injuries, but I wish we could have kept that trend continuing 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.
This winter-spring weather we have been having has been a bit unusual because we have had a few cold days, but usually the days have been rather nice. These cool temps have kept some of the planned airport projects in a holding pattern until we can get back into the consistent spring and warmer summer type temperatures. However, some airport projects are continuing, with funding that is available from the FAA and the State. Unfortunately, we don’t have the latest details on all these projects, so always check for NOTAMs at your destination airport to determine what may be happening. You don’t want to have a surprise when you arrive. So be cautious and 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 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.
Casa Grande Municipal airport (CGZ), 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. 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.
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. Hopefully it shouldn’t be much longer before a permanent cafe tenant will be in place.
Check with the APA Getaway Flights program and online calendar for fun weekend places to fly.