By Jim Timm
Thanksgiving is over and the temperatures still seem to be like warm, mid-fall while this report is being written. The early mornings are nice and cool, and the improved aircraft performance is really appreciated, making flying a lot more fun. I hope everyone is out enjoying it and doing it safely.
Locally, the next few months are going to be interesting and fun as our “flying season” unfolds with all the flying events taking place, while most pilots in the northern part of the country are securing their airplanes for the winter season as their aviation activity comes to a crawl, if at all. However, on the national level in Washington DC, things should really be heating up in the next few weeks. On January 1, 2018, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta leaves office. How the administration decides to replace him, with who, and how it goes about getting him or her nominated will be interesting. Their selection could shape U.S. aviation policy for decades to come. Specifically, it could have a significant impact on the ATC Privatization issue.
On the issue of privatization, the proposal to privatize ATC still hasn’t make it to the floor of the House, and apparently the proponents are still trying to secure enough votes to assure passage of the bill. We must continue to contact our legislators in Washington and continue to tell them we are in opposition to the so-called ATC Privatization! Only persistence will pay off in the end!
In case you haven’t noticed, Transpac Aviation Academy has changed management and it is now known as Aeroguard.
Changes that have occurred in the Earth’s Magnetic Variation have forced the FAA to make revisions to instrument procedures for Flagstaff Airport. The changes involve four approaches, one SID, and one ODP. The changes are effective December 7, 2017. The Flagstaff runway numbers will remain the same. The Show Low runway numbers may change in the future due to the magnetic variation shift.
The FSDO Aviation Safety Office has advised that reports of pilot deviations are up significantly. A lot of effort is being placed on education, but pilot proficiency and preflight planning still seem to be an issue.
For the next several months, exercise caution at and around Gateway Airport (IWA), because Boeing is going to be conducting heavy lift test operations in the area with H-47 Chinook helicopters.
In a recent meeting we were advised that the FAA reimbursable agreement to move the air traffic control ASR-8 RADAR antenna from Gateway Airport (IWA) to Rittenhouse has been canceled. This is a major setback to get the antenna relocated to a new location that would permit the establishment of tower to tower operations between Tucson and Phoenix like we now have between Flagstaff and Phoenix. In addition to the tower to tower operations, the antenna relocation could also possibly assist in easing the chaos at the Casa Grande ILS.
With the cooler weather, a lot of the airports around the state have numerous construction projects going on, particularly in the Phoenix area where one airport is replacing their runway and taxiway lights with LEDs, and another is undertaking new run-up area construction, and another will be having taxiway construction. So, in other words, before taking off, be sure to check for NOTAMS at your destination airport so you don’t have an unpleasant surprise awaiting you. Always fly informed, and please fly safely.
Flight safety this last reporting period has not really improved much with the NTSB reporting five accidents in Arizona; however, the really bad news is that one of the accidents resulted in a fatality. The other accidents resulted in either minor or no injuries. See my December Aviation Accident 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 (FFZ) has just initiated their master plan update process. The Superior Municipal Airport (E81) master plan update phase 2 report is presently being reviewed. This phase covers a review of previous airport plans, and considers a variety of solutions to accommodate the projected facility needs. This element of the update process proposes various facility and site plan configurations which can meet the projected facility needs. An analysis is completed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each proposed development alternative, with the intention of determining a singular direction for development. 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 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 lunch is made available by APA at the USFS Grapevine Airstrip (AZ88) 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 through 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 are $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 are trying to get this one added to the Saturday Morning Fly In breakfast list.