I thought we were supposed to be on the downside of summer, with the super-hot days in the rear view mirror, but that doesn’t seem to be the case at all! As I’m writing this for the September APA newsletter, the temp. outside is 117°. These are near peak summer temperatures. Even if you get up extra early to beat the heat it doesn’t work because by the time you head for home it’s already too hot for comfort. I really hope this breaks soon, and we can get on the cooler side of the summer. These temps. are not fun, so join me in a cool spot, and hold out for cooler weather so we can once again enjoy flying.
When we can get out and fly again, there is something that we all need to be aware of, and that is the increased parachute activity throughout the state. It’s not the usual sport operations that are common at airports like Eloy (E60), Buckeye (BXK), the Grand Canyon (GCN), and Hidden Valley, south of Estrella Sailport (E68) that are of extra concern. What we are concerned about is the increase in military and government operations being conducted by contractors, dropping special forces and their equipment, around the clock, using civilian airfields scattered throughout the state. There are military operations at Marana (AVQ) landing personnel in the infield next to the active runway that would conflict with the instrument approach and missed approach procedures. Arizona’s weather is attracting military users from other nations also using airports such as Coolidge Municipal (PO8), Pinal Airpark (MZJ), Sawtooth, a private field nine miles SW of Eloy Muni (E60), and at Bishop Airfield, a private field NW of Estrella Sailport (E68). Special Ops. forces may also be occasionally using Benson Municipal Airport (E95) east of Tucson. An alarming thought is that the military may on occasion conduct High Altitude, High Opening (HAHO) drops where the jumper may exit the airplane in Class A airspace at Flight Level altitudes approximating 30,000 ft., and opening their parachute many miles from the intended landing area. The big questions are: will you see the parachute, were you monitoring the correct frequency, and did you get the NOTAMS regarding parachute drops along you route??? This increased parachute activity has only recently begun and will be continuing. The APA is not presently aware of a conclusion of the presently increased activity. We can only ask that pilots fly with an increased awareness of what could be out there in your flight path, and fly safe!!
Mr. Mike Whitaker has been nominated for the position of FAA Administrator and is yet to be confirmed. Mr. Whitaker was second in command of the FAA under Michael Huerta and was focused on the modernization of the air traffic control system.
The Federal Aviation Administration said it was naming David Boulter, a long-time FAA official and pilot, to serve as the FAA’s associate administrator for aviation safety. “Mr. Boulter is well qualified to make flying the world’s safest form of travel even safer."
Effective with the August 10, 2023, chart editions, wind turbine farms will now be depicted with a dotted blue outline and internal 45° diagonal cross-hatched lines. A masked elevation box within or near the farm will contain the mean sea level elevation of the highest wind turbine in the wind turbine farm. See the Aeronautical Users Guide and the Aeronautical Information Manual for more information.
I’m not aware of any airspace changes or FAA regulation changes, or proposals for changes that could negatively impact your flying activities, and I hope this status quo will continue.
Pilot deviations were down a bit this month, and it was a relief to see it down when compared to earlier reports. It is truly amazing to see some of the things that pilots do while flying. Apparently, sometimes they really aren’t aware of what type of airspace they are flying in, or may be about to enter, and what is going to be required of them. Pilots need to listen more carefully to ATC instructions and be sure to follow them. If you can’t comply, immediately tell the controller why you can’t comply. When flying in controlled airspace, a pilot should not get creative, but tell ATC first before you do something that differs from the instructions given. Always know what type of airspace you are flying in and know what the controller may be expecting of you. Pay attention to airport signs and runway markings, know what they mean, and comply with them. Always fly with care and forethought.
In summary, the general aviation deviations this reporting period are:
|3 IFR Deviations||3 Brashers|
|2 Class Delta Airspace Deviations||1 Brasher|
|2 Runway Incursions||2 Brashers|
|1 TFR Incursion||No Brasher|
|1 Wrong Surface Landing||1 Brasher|
|1 Taxi Instructions||No Brasher|
For the details of these deviations see my Pilot Deviations Report located elsewhere in this newsletter.
This past month general aviation safety was particularly good. The number of accidents and incidents were really down, the severity of the accidents was also down, and most importantly there were no reports of fatalities. For the details of these accidents and incidents see my Accident/Incident Summary Report located elsewhere in this newsletter.
This past reporting period the FAA reported one Near Mid Air Collision. The incident happened on July 13 at Williams Gateway Airport (IWA) and it involved two aircraft from the same school as follows:
Piper #2 was departing RWY 30L with a right turn out. Piper #1 was departing RWY 30R, and was to remain in right closed traffic, and the two aircraft became airborne simultaneously. ATC issued Piper #2 a traffic advisory, and the Piper reported the traffic in sight. ATC issued Piper #1 a traffic advisory and instructed him to begin a right crosswind. Piper #1 replied that they would watch for traffic. ATC then amended Piper #1s instructions to “fly straight out.” ATC assigned Piper #2 “if able, to pass behind the Company Archer” (Piper #1). Piper #1 advised they were unable to fly straight out. Both aircraft then made evasive turns to avoid each other. Neither aircraft were issued a traffic alert. Closest proximity: 0.08 NM and 0 feet vertical.
It’s summer and many of the airports around the state have numerous construction projects underway or are at least well into the planning stage. Unfortunately, we don’t have any specific details on all these projects, but we certainly suggest that you always check for NOTAMS at your destination airport, so you don’t have a big surprise when you arrive.
APA is always working 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. Presently Eloy Municipal Airport is just starting their Master Plan update, and Payson airport is in the final stages of their 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 they have ceased until fall.
On the second Saturday of the month, consider flying down to Ryan Field (RYN) near Tucson for breakfast or lunch at Ritchie’s Restaurant. They are open daily from 6 am to 2 pm to serve you.
The Falcon Field Warbirds Squadron had a fly-in breakfast on the third weekend of the month, but it has ceased until next October.
Grapevine is open full time, and the third Saturday camping and cookouts will resume on October 13-15. 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.
When you fly to any of these venues, be sure to look for the Fly Arizona Passport Placard at the restaurant, or at the airport terminal. Scan the placard with your smart phone to get credit on the passport program for being there.
Check with the APA Getaway Flights program and online calendar for fun weekend places to fly.