Summer is here, it’s hot, and the bugs are out in force. This reporting period has ended with some pretty windy weekends. I think it has been the first time in my flying career that, even after I noted the wind was blowing a bit while getting ready to go, when I got to the run-up area it did seem to be a bit brisk out, but when I got the ATIS information, I discovered that the wind was actually greater than the airplane’s capability, or my capability to cope with. With this information I thought, “this is supposed to be fun,” so I turned the airplane around and taxied back to the hangar and put the airplane away ‘till another time. Short-coupled tail draggers and crosswinds are not very compatible. A couple of days later I had a great flight. Let’s go flying, but let’s make it an early, calm start!
Something to note, nearly 100 organizations representing multiple industries are renewing appeals for the Federal Communications Commission to set aside its order that would enable Ligado to access a part of the spectrum in the L-band adjacent to the frequencies used for GPS and satellite communications. This would mark the two-year anniversary of the Ligado order that the organizations, including many major aviation groups, sent letters to congressional leaders and President Biden, urging them to work with the FCC to ensure the order is halted.
The groups expressed concern about Ligado's recent announcement that it would deploy its network as soon as September 30, which would probably be well before the FCC might address the petitions. “The record convincingly demonstrates that the order is legally and factually deficient, and the potential for harm grows closer on a daily basis, but the FCC may not have the additional information regarding the full extent of harmful interference in advance of Ligado's planned launch,” according to the letters.
The FAA has announced it is standardizing hot spot symbology, as well as verbiage, on airport diagrams within the chart supplements and the Terminal Procedures Publications starting May 19 per the example.
Hot spots are complex or confusing taxiway and/or runway intersections with a history or potential risk of collision or runway incursion. They require increased attention by pilots. The FAA is making the change because “wrong surface events continue to be a focus area for the FAA because they do present a significant safety risk.”
The FAA is releasing Arrival Alert Notices (AAN) for several airports around the country, and the AAN’s are graphics visually depicting the approach to a particular airport with a history of misalignment occurrences. These AAN’s are being published in the FAA Chart Supplement (Green Book) in the Special Notices section.
The Phoenix TRACON is preparing Letters to Airmen (LTA) for separation services during VFR Practice Approaches at: FLG, PRC, DVT, SDL, FFZ, IWA, and CHD. Use this website for a NOTAM, and LTA search: https://pilotweb.nas.faa.gov/PilotWeb/
The Phoenix TRACON, the FAA, and Contract Towers in the Phoenix area are starting to formulate plans for handling the anticipated influx of air-traffic for the NFL Super Bowl in February of 2023. Be sure to mark your calendar to not plan on doing any flying around the valley that weekend because it will be very busy, air-traffic-wise.
Last January the Department of the Air Force (DAF) was preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of optimizing their MOAs and associated Air Traffic Control Assigned Airspace to support the Air Force mission in Arizona. In an attempt to obtain additional information, the Air Force had reopened the comment period until June 3, 2022. I hope you got your comments in. The DAF will be reviewing and evaluating all the comments received, and because so many departments of the Air Force are involved in the process, progress will likely be slow, and we shouldn’t be looking for any action on the subject very soon.
Bishop (1AZ0, formerly Mobile Airport) will be ramping up their contract parachute operations. They will be dropping both people & equipment, so be aware, and give them a wide berth.
The Marines have announced they will have significant helicopter activity on the evening of June 10 between GBN, GYR, and GEU. There was no information on what they will be doing, other than there will be significant helicopter activity between these airports that evening.
To avoid having another mid-air collision like they recently experienced, Chandler Airport (CHD) is making changes to the traffic patterns for RWY 4R/22L to mitigate helicopter and fixed wing traffic pattern conflict. By the time you get this newsletter, the changes will probably be in effect, so be prepared for something slightly different when you make your next arrival to the south runway at Chandler.
Cottonwood Airport (P52) has raised their traffic pattern altitude to 1,000 ft. AGL. Most, if not all airports around the state have now revised their traffic pattern to 1,000 ft AGL.
Gateway Airport (IWA) announced that RWY 30C will be closed for several weeks this summer for the construction of a taxiway connector, and the ILS for 30C will not be available. The exact timing of this activity was not available.
SR22T Warning issued by the FAA. If you fly or instruct in a Cirrus SR-22T, you should be aware that six recent SR-22T accidents have shown fuel flows of as much as 50 gallons per hour just before loss of engine power. The NTSB is warning pilots and asking the FAA and Cirrus Aircraft to investigate the unexplained loss of power during takeoff climb in an SR-22T. “We encourage all pilots and operators with Cirrus Aircraft to read this AIR and review the circumstances of the six accidents investigated by the NTSB,” said an agency release.
Fortunately, the number of pilot deviations were down from last reporting period. Sometimes it’s hard to believe what some pilots will do, and when you see some of the deviations being made, it makes you wonder why we don’t have more accidents reported than we actually do. It seems to be apparent that there are many pilots that have forgotten some of the information they were given during their pilot instruction… or have they have gotten to the point they just don’t care what they are doing? Pilots do need to know what type of airspace they are flying in, or may be about to enter, and be knowledgeable about what they may need to do to comply with the applicable requirements. It would also be good to pick up the Airman’s Information Manual (AIM), brush up on the airport markings, and know what they mean.
In this past reporting period, which ran from April 15 through May 12 there were nineteen pilot deviations recorded by the FAA Scottsdale Flight Standards District Office. These deviations were committed by the full range of airman certificate holders, from student through ATPs. It’s lucky that some of these deviations didn’t result in an accident. Of the nineteen deviations, it was surprising that in only two cases a Brasher notice was given to the pilot, and they were both were given for Runway Incursions.
When an ATC facility issues a Brasher Notification, future FAA action will be taken, and the controller is thus 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:
Five IFR Deviations
Three Class Delta Airspace Deviations
Three Air Traffic Control Instruction Deviations
One Wrong Surface alignment Deviation
Seven Runway Incursions
Pilots need to remain aware of what they are doing, where they are, and what type of airspace they are in, or are about to enter. For the details of this month’s deviations, see my Pilot Deviations Report elsewhere in this newsletter.
Unfortunately, Aviation Safety wasn’t the best this past reporting period because of the number of incidents and accidents that occurred, and also that the last accident in the report involved two fatalities. The rest of the accidents in the reporting period didn’t result in any injuries. We all really need to do what we can to get the number of incidents and 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 warmed up and delayed projects have been starting. Because we are back into the warmer summer temperatures, airport projects are starting with funding that is available from the FAA and State.
Mesa Falcon Field (FFZ) announced they are re-starting some delayed paving projects, and the construction of a major hangar complex is progressing on the northwest corner of the airport. Much of this project is being planned for corporate jets. The airport has a growing waiting list for its open tie down spots, in-addition to the covered tie downs and small hangars.
The Chandler Municipal Airport has some new paving projects to come online this summer, and, in spite of the encroachment of population around them, they are also planning on getting a wildlife (animal) management project started.
Gateway Airport (IWA) has the construction of several new large hangars is underway, and there are numerous construction cranes on the airport. The construction of the new tower is nearing completion and planned to be operational in August of this year.
Unfortunately, we don’t have all the latest details on all of 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 group dinner and camping weekends 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.