By Jim Timm
The month of January started off with bad weather for flying and it has seemed that almost every Saturday has not been the greatest for flying out for breakfast. The New Year started with a tragic weather related fatal accident that really never should have happened. While we are going through this period of questionable weather, please don't push your luck. Fly with extra caution, and get a good weather briefing before launching off on a flight.
Gateway Airport (IWA) suspended the general aviation services terminal parking fees last month, and the suspension will continue until March 1, 2017. At that time the fees are anticipated to be reinstated with the understanding that the parking fee will be waived with the purchase of 10 gallons or more of fuel. In this interim time period the ramp in front of the terminal is being rebuilt and the parking area is in a significant state of construction activity, parking is limited, and much caution is needed when operating in the area. If all goes well, the terminal ramp work should be finished the later part of February. A significant amount of ramp replacement will be ongoing for several months, so use caution if you are flying into Gateway.
Please be aware, there are still a lot of major and minor construction projects also ongoing at many airports around the state, and unfortunately, the activity will be continuing for a while. Before you take off, make sure you check for NOTAMS at your destination airport so you don’t have a surprise awaiting you when you arrive.
The good news is that flight safety continued to improve in the last part of the year 2016 with only one relatively minor non-injury accident occurring in the month of December. Unfortunately, 2017 did not start off well at all. On January second we experienced a weather related accident that certainly should not have happened, and it resulted in four lives lost. Then later in January, there was a takeoff accident that resulted in two lives lost. A report on this last accident has not yet been issued. See my February Accident Summary for available details. A synopsis of all the 2016 aircraft accidents is also at the end of the February Accident Summary.
APA continues to work with various airports around the state, providing the pilot and aircraft owner’s perspective in the process of updating their Airport Master Plans. An update of the Sedona Airport (SEZ), Flagstaff, and Grand Canyon Airport (GCN) master plans are currently in process.
THINGS TO DO - PLACES TO GO FOR BREAKFAST:
- The fly in breakfast at Coolidge Municipal Airport (P08) is on the first Saturday of the month.
- The second Saturday of the month is now open for a new fly in breakfast location because the Tucson Airport Authority, which operates Ryan Field (RYN), refused to renew the lease for the restaurant and it closed down as of January 1, 2017. We have not heard of any plans for the future.
- The Mesa Falcon Field EAA Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast and car show is on the third Saturday.
- The third Saturday of the month there is a fly in breakfast at Benson (E95) at Southwest Aviation.(There are special fuel prices for breakfast attendees.)
- Also on the third Saturday, around noon, a donation lunch is served by APA at the USFS Grapevine Airstrip next to Roosevelt Lake.
- The last Saturday of the month there is a fly in breakfast at Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ). The Airport’s restaurant, Foxtrot Cafe, operating in the Terminal Building, is open 6:30am to 2:00pm Monday thru Saturday. On the last Saturday of the month they have a “Fly in Breakfast Special” available on the menu; the price for adults is $7 and kids $5.