GAARMS Report: April 2018
(Your guy in Flagstaff)
The seventh annual APA General Aviation Accident Reduction and Mitigation Symposium – GAARMS VII – will be held across the state this year: Phoenix, Prescott, Yuma, Tucson
By the time you read this, three of the four annual APA General Aviation Accident Reduction and Mitigation Symposiums – GAARMS VII – will have been held, the third one was in Prescott (at the ERAU’s Davis Learning Center) Saturday morning, April 7th from 9:00am to Noon, and the fourth one, scheduled for Tucson, out at the Ryan Airport, on Saturday morning, April 14th, from 9:00am to noon. You can pre-register at FAASAFETY.GOV or just show up…
With regard to General Aviation, and specifically the Arizona GA community, 2018 is off to a good start, with NO fatal GA accidents occurring during the first three months of 2018. Unfortunately, the commercial tour helicopter industry was not so lucky.
It's still not clear what caused the Grand Canyon EC130 tour helicopter to crash while attempting to land in the Grand Canyon back on Feb 10th. Five passengers died. The pilot and one passenger still remain in critical condition.
The FAA announces plans to discontinue the Direct User Access Terminal Service - DUATS (II) -Program on May 16, 2018.
Excerpt from AOPA article:
The FAA will continue to work with the two current DUATS II providers, Leidos and CSRA Inc., during the transition by “conducting pilot outreach, establishing commercial interfaces, and providing user migration assistance.”
Pilots will still be able to access internet-based services including weather and aeronautical information, flight plan filing, and automated services at no charge at the Leidos flight service website – http://www.1800wxbrief.com - and are encouraged to register to use it. Leidos and CSRA, Inc. will post banners on their websites alerting pilots to the change and detailing options available for receiving online weather briefings.
“The functioning of the flight service website, operated by Leidos, will continue as usual after the end of DUATS II,” said Rune Duke, AOPA Senior Director of Airspace, Air Traffic, and Security. “An option available to pilots is the AOPA Flight Planner, which offers a free preflight briefing service through Leidos. AOPA will be supporting pilots during this transition and will work with the vendors to ensure that briefings and flight plan filing remains seamless,” Duke said.
“DUAT services were first offered in 1989, and their introduction is credited with helping pilots transition to using automated information services,” Duke said, noting that the decision to end the DUATS II contract at the end of its current one-year extension “was based on agency cost savings and an increase by pilots in the utilization of other methods of accessing preflight briefings, including commercial vendors.”
NOTE TO MEMBERS: I have been using the Leidos site for quite a while and find it satisfactory and easy to use. Registering to use it is easy, and there are plenty of benefits to using it. I am not wild about the graphics, but they are satisfactory for the average pilot. While other websites are available, like the Aviation Weather Center ADDS products, using the Leidos website documents and records your transaction(s) and validates that you have received a preflight briefing.
A VERY CLOSE CALL –
A long-time friend and fellow flight instructor relayed this story to me of a very close call he had while out with a student. Seems they were in the pattern at a small towered airport doing takeoffs and landings, working towards soloing. On final approach during the 3rd or 4th landing, the tower urgently called him – by name – to alert him that there was another aircraft right there with them! The tower could NOT tell which airplane the instructor was in, they were so close. My friend took control of the airplane, broke hard right at about 300 feet, and in his words, “Got the hell out of there!” He never saw the other aircraft until it touched down on the runway as he leveled his wings on a low right downwind leg climbing back up to pattern altitude. There were no radio transmissions from the other aircraft at any time while in the class D airspace. The aircraft turned off the runway and taxied into the FBO.
The tower controller was quite upset and apologized to my friend and thanked him for the quick reaction to the situation. He also asked him to call the tower when he landed. After a few more takeoffs and landings, my friend terminated the training lesson and returned to base, the FBO where the other pilot parked. The student was NOT rattled because he never saw the other airplane until it was landing and did not know how close it was. Sometimes ignorance is bliss!
My friend went looking for the pilot of the other aircraft to discuss the “occurrence” and to find out why the pilot entered class D airspace and landed at a towered airport without any radio communications. Was he even aware of the other aircraft (him) in the pattern, and did he even realize how close they came to a potential mid-air?! The pilot stated that he was on a cross country trip and experienced a complete electrical failure. He landed at a small non-towered airport looking for a mechanic, but the airport had no such services available. Knowing the next airport down the road had a tower and a maintenance facility, he simply asked the lineman at the small non-towered airport to call the FBO and get their lineman to call the tower to alert them he was coming over as a NORDO – a no radio capable aircraft, and off he went! Well, the line boy did call the FBO, talked to another lineman, and simply advised him that an airplane with no radio was coming over. That was it. No coordination with the tower, no instructions for the pilot, no N number transfer, no time of arrival, NO NOTHING! The pilot assumed – wrongly, I might add – that he had done what was necessary to get into the towered airport. He shucked off his pilot-in-command responsibility to a well-meaning but uninformed lineman. The die had been cast. Had it not been for the alert local controller at the tower - who saved the day – it could have been ugly.
My friend politely but firmly explained the situation to the pilot. He abdicated his pilot-in-command responsibility to a non-pilot for coordinating a NORDO arrival into a towered airport; he deliberately entered class D airspace without establishing communications; he landed at a towered airport without clearance; and he nearly caused a mid-air collision.
And, to put the cherry on top, the pilot defended his actions and showed no remorse! My friend never told me if the tower took any action. I think they would have to report a near mid-air, and I would think the local FSDO would investigate the occurrence. Or do you think if no one was hurt, what’s the big deal???