Lately, Saturday mornings have been great for flying out for the weekend breakfasts, except for one Saturday when the weather was a bit questionable, and a number opted to go to the local IHOP instead of flying. The flying conditions are just what we have been waiting for during the past long, hot summer. So now let’s get out there and go flying!
I’m sure you have noticed, but since just before Thanksgiving the winter visitors have been arriving. If we don’t have enough air traffic as it is, now we have the northern population that doesn’t want to put up with the snow and cold, and are free to escape, are now showing up. Please be safe and keep your eyes open for this slight up-tic in traffic. Some may not be aware of the crowded skies we share in Arizona.
I’m sure you’ve heard, the FAA has extended the comment period on the Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certification (MOSAIC) Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) to January 22, 2024. It’s important that you to review the document if you have even a slight interest in the subject, and submit your comments to this new rule because, when the rule is implemented, it will have a significant impact on what type of aircraft can be flown by Light Sport Aircraft Pilots. Because the document is a bit long, some of the alphabet organizations (AOPA, EAA) have developed a synopsis of the NPRM to assist you in your review of the rule.
Presently I’m not aware of any FAA regulation changes, or proposals for changes, that could negatively impact our flying activities. I certainly hope this status quo continues.
Because we are entering an election year, and Arizona is purported to be a swing state, the President may be here, along with his VIP TFR. Be aware that these VIP TFRs are administered by the Secret Service, NOT the FAA, and these TFR’s are indeed serious, and administered by serious individuals, and must be avoided at all costs.
The Tucson International Airport (TUS) was supposed to have renumbered it’s runways on November 30, 2023. Runway 11L-29R will be renumbered 12-30, and the crosswind runway 3-21 will be renumbered 4-22. Runway 11R-29L is planned to be closed for two years for replacement. This renumbering is the result of a slight, and normal, shift in the magnetic variation.
The pilot deviations seem to have gotten out of hand this past reporting period as there were thirty-five deviations. Usually there are about eighteen to twenty per month. I just continue to be amazed to see some of the things that pilots will do while flying. Often, they just don’t seem to be aware of what type of airspace they are flying in, or are about to enter, or understand what is required of them. Pilots need to listen carefully to ATC instructions and follow them, and if you can’t comply, immediately tell the controller why you can’t. Pilots need to be aware that when flying in controlled airspace, a pilot should never be creative, but first tell ATC before doing 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, and know what they mean, and comply with them. Always fly with forethought and caution.
In summary, the pilot deviations this reporting period are:
7 IFR Deviations
4 Class Bravo Airspace Deviations
1 Class Charlie Airspace Deviation
6 Class Delta Airspace Deviations
1 Air Traffic Control Instructions
14 Runway Incursions
1 Movement Area Deviation
1 Vehicle on A Runway
For the details of these deviations see my Pilot Deviations Report located elsewhere in this newsletter.
This past month general aviation safety was not the best because of the rather large number of accidents and incidents that occurred. Contained in the report this month is the synopsis of a fatal accident that involved an Arizona pilot that occurred outside the state of Arizona.
For the details of these accidents and incidents see my Accident/Incident Summary Report located elsewhere in this newsletter.
It was indeed fortunate that in this past reporting period the FAA did not report any Near Mid-Air Collisions.
We would like to remind everyone that on November 30, 2023, Tucson International Airport (TUS) was supposed to be renumbering their runways and would be closing runway 11R-29L, the primarily runway used by small general aviation aircraft. Runway 11R-29L will be closed for two years because it will be demolished and replaced with a runway 150 feet wide and 11,000 feet long. They are suggesting that pilots who want to practice approaches, taxi backs, or touch-and-go landings use Ryan Field (RYN) for the duration.
It’s that time of the year when airports around the state have construction projects underway, or at least well into the planning stage. Unfortunately, we don’t have any specific details on all of these projects, but we certainly suggest that you always check for NOTAMS at your destination airport so you don’t have an unexpected surprise when you arrive.
APA is 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. Payson will be having their final Master Plane Update meeting this month, and Eloy, and Sierra Vista Municipal Airports are just starting their 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 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 normally has had a fly-in breakfast on the third weekend of the month, and it was planned to start in October, but because of the storm damage at FFZ, the October breakfast was canceled, and it is presently undetermined when they will be able to restart their breakfasts. We will advise when we have new information.
Grapevine is open full time, and the third Saturday weekend camping and cookouts have started. 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 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, and at the airport terminal. Scan the placard with your smart phone app 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.