By Jim Timm
WOW, fall is finally here, the temperatures have been great, and we have been able to go flying without getting banged around and cooked. Sure hope it stays this way, but I’m sure we are still in for a few days of hot weather yet before cooler winter is here for good. There are a lot of fly-ins and aviation events showing up on the schedule. Have fun, and most importantly, fly safe.
The latest word out of Washington is that they passed a short term FAA Reauthorization bill funding the FAA for another six months without addressing the issue of privatization of air traffic control (ATC). We have, however, been assured (warned) that the House of Representatives will attempt to pass a bill with the privatization of ATC within the first few weeks of October.
Privatization of ATC is not really privatization in the normal sense. It is the establishment of a monopoly with a corporation that is not controlled by the free enterprise system of checks and balances, but only by the motives of the majority of its 13 member board. The new corporation, “American Air Navigation Services Corporation,” would have a board of directors consisting of the CEO, 2 Directors appointed by the Secretary of Transportation, 1 Passenger Air Carrier Director, 1 Regional Air Carrier Director, 1 Cargo Air Carrier Director, 1 General Aviation Director, 1 Business Aviation Director, 1 Air Traffic Control Director, 1 Airports Director, 1 Commercial Pilot Director, and 2 directors selected by the other directors. The ATC and Commercial Pilot directors were proposed to be a representative from each of their respective unions.
This proposal is not just the transferring of ATC services, it is also includes the uncompensated transfer of the “real and personal property, including air navigation facilities of the United States under FAA jurisdiction, that are necessary and appropriate for the corporation to carry out the air traffic services.” While it was not specifically addressed, it presumed that the corporation would also have jurisdiction over the design of airspace containing their operations. The corporation is also authorized to charge fees and enforce the collection fees found to be consistent with the providing of ATC services.
Based on the makeup of the board, the needs of general aviation could easily be cast aside. Our airspace is public, and it needs to remain in close control of the FAA and our elected government. The present system has produced the safest, busiest, and most accessible air transport system in the world! The potential downside of this bill is tremendous, and it could be the most devastating blow to general aviation we have ever been dealt! To preserve our aviation future, we need to contact our Representatives in Washington and tell them we are opposed to the Privatization of ATC by calling 1-855-265-9002. You will be automatically transferred to each of your reps based on your zip code.
Once again, in the last reporting period we got last minute notification of GPS Interference Testing that could affect Arizona, which was going to be conducted at Alamogordo, NM, China Lake, CA, and Barstow, CA, that would be conducted over most of September and very early October. We are being told to notify the nearest FAA Air Traffic Control facility advising them of the time, location, and altitude if at any time you encounter an unexplained loss of GPS navigation signal lasting more than a minute or two. We are asking pilots to please contact APA, also. We are beginning to wonder if anyone flying in Arizona has ever encountered any results from this testing? In the past two years or so we have only heard of one possible case. What has been your experience? The question is, how long is this going to go on, and should we simply ignore it?
Falcon Field Mesa (FFZ) will again have the Copperstate fly-in scheduled for October 27 & 28. The arrival procedures this year should go much better than last year. The arrivals will be handled by the Falcon Field Tower rather than the Phoenix TRACON. Look for and study the arrival procedure NOTAM.
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 is available at: http://prescott.erau.edu/octoberwest/index.html
We again want to remind everyone to exercise caution, particularly when flying in the southern and southwestern portion of the state, to be aware of the restricted areas, particularly R2301, R2304 & R2305 ranges. 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 of a training mission at a very significant cost, and could be extremely hazardous for you. Always 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 significantly improved in that only two accidents had been reported, and neither of them involved serious injuries or fatalities. See my September Aviation Summary for the available accident details.
There are still a lot of airport construction projects happening around the state, including the Phoenix area. Before taking off, be sure to check for NOTAMS at your destination airport so you don’t have a surprise awaiting you. Those of you flying into high altitude airports, still be sure to check the density altitude, and review your aircraft performance data. Also, it’s still warm out, so drink plenty of water, stay hydrated, plan ahead, and please fly safely.
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. The Superior Municipal Airport (E81) master plan update is being prepared around developing the present location rather than changing the present airport location. An update of the Sedona Airport (SEZ), Flagstaff (FLG), and Grand Canyon Airport (GCN) master plans are also 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, was on hiatus until October.
- The Falcon Field EAA Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast and car show has been on the third Saturday. Hopefully, they will resume this month.
- 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, there is a lunch made available by the APA at the USFS Grapevine Airstrip (AZ88) next to Roosevelt Lake, check the APA Calendar.
- 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 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 have yet to try it out, and perhaps add this to the Saturday Morning Fly In breakfast list.