By Jim Timm
It’s that time of the year that we are having a number of fly-ins and airport open house events. Keep your eye on the calendar, and take some of them in. It’s a lot of fun to take the time to go to some of the events and see what’s happening in aviation around the state. Besides, it’s a good excuse to get out and go flying. Sometimes it’s fun to think about that part of the country that’s hunkered down in cold survival mode, and we are enjoying the prime time of the year for flying. Let’s go flying, but do it safely! I’ll be seeing you at some of the events.
Last month we were wondering who may be appointed to fill the open FAA Administrator’s position. In finding a replacement for retired FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, President Donald Trump has recommended his personal pilot, John Dunkin, to run the Federal Aviation Administration. An administration official provided the following information on Mr. Dunkin’s qualifications for the Job. "He's managed airline and corporate flight departments, certified airlines from start-up under FAA regulations, and oversaw the Trump presidential campaign's air fleet, which included managing all aviation transportation for travel to 203 cities in 43 states over the course of 21 months.” Apparently he has been interviewed for the job and was found to be impressive. The current acting FAA Administrator Dan Elwell, who has impressed many in the administration and the industry is also under consideration for the position. It will be interesting to see if any other candidates come forward, and we learn who our new FAA Administrator will be.
As we reported earlier, Casa Grande Municipal Airport (CGZ) received a notification from the FAA that, because they have received federal funding, they will need to come into compliance with their FAA Grant Assurances by permitting Sky Dive operations on CGZ. The City has decided to appeal the decision based on safety and economic concerns, and will be working with legal counsel to bring the users together with the FAA and Sky Dive operators to find a safe workable resolution. We will keep you informed as the issue moves forward.
Luke Air Force Base will be having an open house on March 17-18 with the Navy Blue Angles demonstration team, and the USAF Wings of Blue Parachute Team performing each day. Note: there will be a part time TFR From March 15 thru March 18 over LAFB at 5 NM up to 16,500 ft altitude. They will have F35, and F16 static displays. Unfortunately, no general aviation fly in will be permitted.
Be advised that Boeing is still conducting heavy lift test operations in the area around Gateway Airport (IWA) with H-47 Chinook helicopters. Continue to be alert, and use caution.
Falcon Field (FFZ) is replacing their runway and taxiway lights with LEDs, and there will be runway and taxiway closures from time to time to accomplish the task. Be sure to always check for FFZ NOTAMS for a possible closure of one of the two runways.
On Saturday, March 24, 2018, Falcon Field will be having an open house. There will be warbirds on display, a warbird flyby, military equipment display, and a classic car show. Be sure to put the event on your calendar.
Deer Valley Airport (DVT) has new run up area construction project underway. So watch for NOTAMS and use caution.
In other words, before taking off, always be sure to check for NOTAMS at your destination airport so you don’t have an unexpected surprise awaiting you. With the cooler winter weather, many of the airports around the state may have a construction project under way, or possibly an open house. So always fly informed.
In the latest Phoenix Airspace Users Working Group meeting, the proliferation of sky dive operations, and their locations in the area between Phoenix and Tucson was discussed, and how to inform the pilots of their location and size. The following graphic, prepared by the PHX TRACON, was presented depicting the location of the known drop zones.
Flight safety this last reporting period has not been the best with the NTSB reporting three accidents in Arizona. The really bad news was that one of them was a tour helicopter that collided with the ground inside the Grand Canyon, resulting in five fatalities and two serious injuries. The other reported accidents resulted in either minor or no injuries. See my March Aviation Accident Summary for details.
APA is still working 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. An update of the Superior Municipal Airport (E81) master plan, 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.
- BENSON: CANCELED FOR MARCH – Breakfasts will resume in April. 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 (88AZ) next to Roosevelt Lake. $8 per person donation encouraged.
- 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.