By Jim Timm
It looks like the Arizona fun flying season may have officially started with the Copperstate Fly In at Falcon Field at the end of October. The weather was good, and it looked like quite a few people flew in for the event. In addition to many vendors, the APA was there, and it was a pleasure to have had the opportunity to meet and visit with many of you that stopped by the display to see us. With the cooler weather finally here, there are going to be many more aviation events coming up, and I’ll be looking forward to meeting many of you out there. So in the meantime, fly safe, and we’ll be watching for you.
Well, it looks like Washington, at the last minute, passed a short term FAA funding bill sans ATC privatization, but the fight still isn’t finished. I haven’t heard anything very definitive, but apparently this privatization issue isn’t dead by any means. At the moment, I’m being told that the best thing we can do is to continue keeping the pressure on all of our Washington legislators, and continue calling them on occasion, reminding them of your continued opposition to the so-called privatization of ATC. If we don’t win, I fear our aviation future could really be grim!
I know, this is really monotonous, but we continue to get last minute notices of GPS interference testing in our area; only this time, they’re in locations a bit different than the usual. The locations now are San Diego for October 21 - 23 from 0700Z - 1059Z and Yuma for October 25 - 26 from 2030Z - 2230Z. The testing at San Diego probably wouldn’t have affected much of Arizona except the western edges at very high altitudes. However, the Yuma location would have very likely impacted the central area of Arizona, and again, if anyone encounters an unexplained loss of GPS navigation signal lasting more than a minute or two, notify the nearest FAA Air Traffic Control facility advising them of the time, location, and altitude of the occurrence, and please advise APA also. In the year 2020 when almost everyone will be required to fly using ADS-B, I would think this interference testing would have to cease.
The old expression “here we go again” comes to use once more. What was supposed to have started in fall, the FAA is further postponing the implementation of the international flight plan format, also known as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) format, for all flight plans filed with Flight Service, within the National Airspace System, and to Canada, because testing inconsistencies among the FAA and its international partners remain unresolved. These are resulting from software discrepancies and problems in getting the system to issue flight-plan acknowledgement messages. The FAA is no longer giving a target date for the switch over from the present flight plan format to the ICAO format.
Even though the weather is cooling down, many of the airports around the state still have hot construction projects going on, including the Phoenix area. Before taking off, be sure to check for NOTAMS at your destination airport so you don’t have an unpleasant surprise awaiting you. Please fly informed, and fly safely.
Flight safety the last reporting period was not very good, with five accidents having been reported by the NTSB. The really bad news is that one of these five accidents resulted in two fatalities, one had two serious injuries, and one accident resulted in both minor and serious injuries. It’s hard to believe that one of the accidents this reporting period was a mid-air collision where both airplanes made a safe landing and no injuries were encountered. See my November Aviation Summary for the accident details.
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. Adding to the list of airports that are updating their master plans, Mesa Falcon Field will be kicking off a master plan update process in November. The Superior Municipal Airport (E81) master plan update is being prepared, developing the present location rather than changing to a new 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), is on the first Saturday of the month.
- The Falcon Field EAA Warbirds Squadron fly in breakfast and car show is on the third Saturday of the month.
- The third Saturday of the month there is still a well-attended fly in breakfast at Benson (E95) at Southwest Aviation. (There are special fuel prices for breakfast attendees.)
- On every third Saturday of the month around noon a lunch is made available by APA at the USFS Grapevine Airstrip (88AZ) 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 $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.
Check with the APA Getaway Flights program and the online calendar for fun weekend places to fly and don’t forget this month’s backcountry gathering at Young International (24AZ) on the weekend of the 10th through 12th!