By Jim Timm
Summer must be coming to an end, kids are going back to school, vacation travels are ending, and the EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh is over. This year’s AirVenture had outstanding weather. The temperatures were comfortable, and it was unmarked by any severe wind and/or rain storms. This year’s event did have some rather notable events such as an outstanding Blue Angles Airshow, seeing the only two B29s in the world flying at the same time, having a warbird show with 14 or 15 B25s flying at the same time recreating Doolittle’s WWII bombing raid on Japan, and a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo manned space program with several of the astronauts present. A truly great event that I wouldn’t have missed for all the world. Besides, I made some valuable contacts for the APA and saw some friends that I only get to see once a year. If you didn’t get to go, there’s always next year. It really is a must see event, even if only once.
The latest word out of Washington on the ATC Privatization issue, Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Highways and Transit Subcommittee, said the House will need an extension of the FAA’s funding instead of the controversial 21st Century AIRR Act (H.R. 2997), a bill that would remove air traffic control from the FAA. Without some sort of legislative action, the FAA will run out of spending authority on September 30. A funding extension or something needs to be in place by Sep. 30. It’s reported that the push to privatize ATC would be shelved temporally, to help the House and the Senate pass funding legislation, and because there is no consensus in the aviation community, the best course of action would be to remove the controversial privatization section. A funding extension is inevitable, but the fight over the so-called privatization of air traffic control is certainly not over. We all need to continue to push our legislators in Washington to support long term funding for the FAA without privatization of ATC.
Falcon Field Mesa (FFZ) has confirmed they will again have the Copperstate Fly-in, scheduled for October 27 & 28. The arrival procedures this year should go much better than last year. This year the arrivals will be handled by the Falcon Field Control Tower rather than the Phoenix TRACON. Look for a NOTAM on the arrival procedures.
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) and the City of Prescott are planning a Wings Out West Fly-In and Airshow on October 7, 2017. An airshow with aerobatic performers is planned with a show time and TFR at 1000-1200 local time. There is planned to be an EAA Pancake breakfast available, and there will be fly-in and static displays. A schedule of events will be available here.
With the proliferation of UAVs, or Drones, of all sizes, I wasn’t too surprised that the Pentagon very recently issued guidance to the armed services outlining the military’s authority to disable or shoot down any drone that is believed to be a security risk that violates the airspace restrictions over a U.S. base. Information was sent to military bases around the country so they can alert their nearby communities about the restrictions and the actions the military can take to stop any perceived threat, including destroying or seizing any UAV, including the smaller ones that the general public can buy, that is flown over a military base. It may sound a bit drastic, but will the U.S. Forrest Service wildfire fighting services be given a similar authority to eliminate UAVs that violate a forest fire TFR and hamper firefighting efforts? An interesting possibility.
Luke AFB has advised us that their training schedule has been getting busier and they are increasing their use of the Aux 1 ILS. Anyone using the Aux 1 ILS needs to be advised that civilian use of the ILS may be a bit more limited because of the increased military use.
In a recent airspace users meeting I was advised by the Goldwater range safety office that recently they have been encountering numerous GA intrusions into the Goldwater Range restricted areas. Not just on the edges, but well into the range airspace. These are the R2301, R2304 & R2305 ranges. Some of the intrusions have been at low altitudes and were detected and tracked intermittently.
The military aircraft operating in these ranges are conducting combat training and are firing live ordinance and dropping bombs. An intrusion results in the cancelation and rescheduling of a training mission at a very significant cost to all of us as taxpayers. What is even scarier is that some intrusions are occurring at very low altitudes, and may not get immediately detected by radar. The word needs to get out, stay well clear of the Goldwater restricted areas! You are risking your life, and possibly that of a military pilot, by flying into the R2301, R2304, and R2305 restricted range areas. The bottom line – when flying in the southwest part of the state, know where you are and don’t accidentally wander into any of the restricted areas! Please pass the word around!
Flight safety this last reporting period has not really improved since the last report. This reporting period we had four accidents reported, with one of them resulting in serious injuries while fortunately, the other three did not have any reported injuries. See my September Aviation Summary for available accident details.
The summer heat is continuing and so are a lot of airport construction projects happening around the state, and in particular, the Phoenix area. Before taking off, be sure you check for NOTAMS at your destination airport so you don’t have a surprise awaiting you upon arrival. Those of you flying into high altitude airports, be sure to check the density altitude, and review your aircraft performance data. Also, drink plenty of water, stay hydrated, plan ahead, and please fly safely. We’ve exceeded our quota of accidents so far this year, particularly fatal ones, so please fly with extra care!
APA is still continuing 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. We have just finished reviewing the first section of the Superior Municipal Airport (E81) master plan update. An update of the Sedona Airport (SEZ), Flagstaff (FLG), 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), normally on the first Saturday of the month, is on hiatus until next month.
- The Falcon Field EAA Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast and car show will resume next month when it is cooler again.
- The third Saturday of the month there is still 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, the lunch by APA at the USFS Grapevine Airstrip (AZ88) next to Roosevelt Lake resumes this month on the 16th.
- The last Saturday of the month there is still a fly in breakfast at Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ). The Airport’s restaurant, Foxtrot Cafe, operating in the air conditioned 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 $8 and kids $5.
- The Tucson Airport Authority has completed the renovation of the restaurant at Ryan Field, and it’s now open under the name of Richie’s Cafe. The hours are 6:00 am to 2:00 pm doing breakfast and lunch daily. We will have to try it out, and perhaps add this to the Saturday Morning fly in breakfast list.