It does appear that the summer season is almost upon us. While the flying weather is still pretty good with the cool mornings, I fear that will be changing all too soon. I guess it won’t be too long, and we’ll be having to get up early to take advantage of a cool smooth flight. So, let’s have fun and go flying.
This month’s Accident Summary is a bit unusual in that the final item in it isn’t really an accident, but an aviation “stunt” gone awry. Perhaps some of you may have seen the coverage of it on the evening TV news. It was the case of two pilots taking off in two airplanes, climbing to altitude, jumping out of them, and attempting to swap airplanes in flight. Well, it appears that all didn’t go according to plan. One pilot did make the swap, but the other didn’t make it, and his plane bit the dust without him, and he wound up with just a parachute ride. It certainly will be interesting to see how the FAA will react to all this. I wonder if it will wind up in my next Pilot Deviation Report from the FAA. The Aviation Safety Network reported it as an accident, that’s why it’s in this month’s Safety Summary. Next month we’ll see if the FAA reports it as an accident also. See my Accident/Incident Summary in the newsletter for more details.
As a result of the advocacy efforts by user groups, the FAA announced in April that they will be withdrawing a notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) that would have proposed the adoption of an Airworthiness Directive (AD) that would have been applicable to Grumman American AA-5A and AA5B aircraft. The proposed AD would have required a labor intensive process to inspect for specific delamination beyond what is currently required. Existing maintenance requirements currently require inspection for this delamination, and a Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin may be published, emphasizing the need to "complete these required inspections during the annual inspection.”
The Federal Aviation Administration has opened the application process for funding to modernize air traffic control towers at many small municipal airports. The FAA will fund projects that will sustain, construct, repair, improve, modernize, replace, or relocate airport-owned towers and install communications equipment. This funding will help ensure that air traffic is safe and reliable in communities across America. The program provides $20 million annually for five years within the newly established Airport Infrastructure Grant program. The grants awarded under this program are at a 100 percent federal participation level, and no airport match is required.
In the past reporting period, there haven’t been any changes, or proposed changes, that I’m aware of that could possibly impact our flying activity. Let’s hope that it stays that way for a while.
Last January the Department of the Air Force (DAF) was 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. They explained that they would like to plan on modifying the size and use of their MOAs, and associated Air Traffic Control Assigned Airspace in Arizona, and asked for our specific comments on the impact of these proposed changes. I was advised that the DAF is still in the initial phases of reviewing, and evaluating the comments received, and because several departments of the Air Force are involved in the process, progress will be slow, and we should not be looking for any action on the subject for at least two years.
The number of pilot deviations are again up from the last reporting period. It is hard to believe what some pilots will do, and you have to ask yourself why. In some cases, it seems that they may not know what type of airspace they are flying in, or they may be about to enter. In some of the cases it appeared that the pilot didn’t know, or understand, what some of the airport markings meant, and what their action should be.
In the past reporting period, which ran from March 12 through April 14, there were twenty-eight pilot deviations recorded by the FAA Scottsdale Flight Standards District Office. These deviations were committed by the full range of airman certificate holders, from private through ATPs, and one case it also included a military pilot. It’s surprising that some of these deviations didn’t result in an accident. Of the twenty-eight deviations, seven of them were serious enough for air traffic control to issue a Brasher notice to the pilot. When an ATC facility issues a Brasher Notification, future FAA action will be taken, and the controller is giving the airman the opportunity to make note of the occurrence and collect their thoughts for future interaction with Flight Standards.
The summary of the general aviation deviations committed this reporting period are as follows:
Nine IFR Deviations Five Brashers
Six Class Bravo Airspace Deviations No Brashers
Four Class Delta Airspace Deviations No Brashers
One Restricted Airspace Deviation No Brasher
Seven Runway Incursions Two Brashers
One Movement Area Deviation No Brasher
Pilots need to be aware of what they are doing, where they are, and what type of airspace they are in, or may be entering, and always establish the radio communications as required. Pilots should take some time to review the Airman’s Information Manual (AIM) and refresh their memory on what the airport signs and runway markings mean, and be prepared to recognize and comply with them. Don’t be the pilot that commits a deviation. For the details of this month’s deviations, see my Pilot Deviations Report at the end of this newsletter.
Unfortunately, Aviation Safety wasn’t the best this past reporting period because of the number of incidents and accidents that had occurred, and that one of them involved a fatality. The rest of the accidents in the reporting period either didn’t result in injuries or the injuries were minor in nature. We really need to get the number of incidents/accidents down.
For a detailed report of the accidents and incidents that have occurred, see my Accident & Incident Summary report located elsewhere in this newsletter.
The weather has been warming up, and delayed projects will be starting. As we get back into the consistent warmer summer type temperatures, airport projects will be starting with funding that is available from the FAA and 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. Getting a surprise when you arrive isn’t necessary, so be cautious and fly informed.
APA is continuing to work with airports around the state assisting with the updating of their Airport Master Plans by providing the pilot, and aircraft owner’s perspective in the process. The FAA wants to see airports update their master plans approximately every five or so years and incorporate 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) Municipal Airport is the only Arizona airport currently in the Master Plan update process.
THINGS TO DO - PLACES TO FLY FOR BREAKFAST:
The fly-in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08) was on the first Saturday of the month, but has ceased for the summer months.
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, which was on the third weekend of the month has also ceased for the summer months.
Grapevine is open full time, but the dinner camp-outs have ceased for the summer months. 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 continuing to be put on by the Casa Grande Masonic Lodge in the air-conditioned Terminal of the Casa Grande Airport. 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.