Accident Trends 

GAARMS Report: January 2018  

fred-gibbsFred Gibbs 


Happy New Year to one and all!  May this coming year be your best yet, and as the Arizona aviation community, let’s try to make 2018 the safest year on record.

2017 appears to have mirrored 2016, with the total number of fatal accidents (6) staying the same, but unfortunately, the total number of fatalities jumped from 9 in 2016 to 13 in 2017.  As you can see in the chart below, the accident rate over the past 10 years (when GAARMS was initiated) has improved by slightly more than 50%, a significant improvement, and I hope a positive trend we can continue.  

gaarms accident trends 1

All of the 2017 accidents will be reviewed and discussed at the General Aviation Accident and Reduction Mitigation Symposium (GAARMS),  planned for March of 2018, location to be announced  in the February 2018 newsletter and on FAASAFETY.GOV.

While there is no direct correlation between GAARMS and the improvement of the accident rate, I would like to think that the awareness of the accident rate, our continuous attention to the accident rate, and our continuous stream of information to you, the aviation community, raised your awareness of the importance of aviation safety. APA’s commitment to you, our membership, and the entire pilot community to improve aviation safety is ongoing and relentless, and we are proud to be a significant part of the FAA’s FAASTeam program.  We continue to present WINGS Safety programs statewide in concert with the Scottsdale FSDO and to present our yearly GAARMS symposium covering the previous year’s fatal accidents.  Ironically, statistics indicate that the overwhelming majority – in fact almost all – of the pilots involved in the fatal accidents over the past 13 years did NOT participate in the WINGS safety programs, and that trend continues to hold true for 2017, as well. One of our primary efforts is to increase the participation of the pilot community in those programs.  Those of you who attend regularly are always urged to bring another pilot with you, to help us spread the word and get more folks involved.

gaarms accident trends 2


  • The old Obstacle Departure procedure has been replaced with a Standard Instrument Departure (SID) procedure, the Flagstaff One Departure; 
  • The VOR-A approach has been deleted, as well as the RNAV-B overlay of the VOR-A approach;
  • The GPS Y and GPS Z approaches to runway 21 have been deleted, replaced by a single RNAV (GPS) 21 approach; and 
  • Even the ILS has been revised, with all new fixes and some pretty “goofy” names…  

So, when you come up to Flag to practice approaches, be aware of all the new approaches, the new names, the new missed approach procedures and the new holding fixes, as well as the fact that the new approaches will involve more flying time.  Here are some important notes you need to be aware of: 

  1. FRISY and SHUTR intersections are NO longer part of the ILS approach;
  2. the MAP for the ILS is completely changed, and the holding fix for the ILS is NO LONGER the FLG VOR, but the OATES Intersection;
  3. the FLAG ONE SID takes everybody out (off of both runways) over the OATES Intersection, then on course; and
  4. the new initial approach fix (IAF) for the new RNAV GPS 21 approach is HEDRU, and the MAP now takes you to HOXOL intersection to hold, some 15 miles from both the airport and the HEDRU IAF;
  5. the new MAP for the RNAV GPS 3 sends you out to TAWNE to hold, so I reckon you will need vectors from TAWNE back to SEZCY to redo the approach;
  6. the VOR RWY 21 approach has new inbound reporting fixes, and DME is still required for this approach.

AND, most importantly, all approaches MUST be coordinated thru PHX Approach on frequency 126.375, not the tower like before.


On a different note, hopefully by the time you read this, I will have had a very satisfying month of flight instruction, turning out 4 new private pilots, another pilot with his multi-engine rating, and  a significant part in working with (and paying for) my stepson in his training for his multi-engine rating towards his commercial ticket back in Maryland.  Sometimes things really do work out, and all the work and effort you put into someone pays off.  Two of the students had their own airplanes, both C182s, the multi-engine was also privately owned, and the other two students completed their flight training in our flight school C172s.  One of the great things about flying here for Wiseman Aviation is the huge variety of aircraft I get to fly, from the school’s C172s, to owner C182s, C206s, even a P210T, lots of Bonanzas, Mooneys, Piper Cherokees, Warriors and Archers, the occasional Malibu, Cirrus’s and TTXs, every once in a while an Aztec or a C310, and on occasion, in my spare time (HA HA), my personal speed machine, my trusty ol’ Bellanca Super Viking.  Funny, when I need to escape the daily pressures, frustrations, stresses, etc of life, jumping into an airplane for either pleasure or instructing takes me away from all that and is just where I need to be – in the sky, flying.  UP THERE, WITH THE EAGLES - AND CLOSER TO GOD!!



There are a lot of FAASTeam safety programs on the schedule over the next couple of months all around the state, so go to WWW.FAASAFETY.GOV and click on “Seminars” and check them out.  You might find one that interests you.  Should you desire a particular safety or educational program at your local airport or pilot meeting, like the BasicMed program or our “Winter Wonderland” snow season special, simply contact me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call me at 410-206-3753.  The Arizona Pilots Association provides the safety programs at no charge.  We can also help you organize a program of your choice, and we can recommend programs that your pilot community might really like.


Airplane doesn’t sound right or feel right to you? Land NOW, and have it checked out, and most importantly, DO NOT take off with that dark cloud of uncertainty hanging over you. Remember, there is no such thing as an emergency takeoff!!! Problems encountered during the takeoff phase of flight can be, and usually are, deadly. There is no time for contemplating a course of action, no airspeed to save you, and no altitude below you to give you time, and we all know you can never make that turn back to the airport. On top of everything else, a forced landing on departure is probably one of the very few times you can have too much gas in your airplane!!!

On a different subject, just in case you have not noticed, monsoon season is here, with lots of thunder boomers, heavy rains, poor visibility in the rain, dust storms, and many other weather issues to make your day exciting, so be careful out there. ADS-B In is a great situational awareness tool, but not to be used to dodge thunderstorms. Remember, ADS-B In data is a picture of what the weather was, and where it was, NOT WHERE IT IS NOW!!! I got to use it this last weekend flying from Scottsdale back up to Flag. Between the ADS-B In weather radar depicting the precipitation in 3 colors (YES, there was definitely some RED around), compared to what the controller was telling me about the precipitation he was painting on his ATC radar, and what I saw by looking out the windshield (a very critical part in the decision making process), I was able to easily and safely make my way home to Flag staying in VMC the entire way. The only precipitation that I got on my airplane was the light drizzle at the Flag airport while pushing the airplane away. It was utilizing all the tools and services available to me that made the flight easy and successful.


Another subject – With the installation of all the “stuff” I have installed into my airplane, is my 1973 Bellanca Super Viking now considered a Technically Advanced aircraft (TAA) under the definition of a TAA aircraft?

It used to be that only professional pilots like corporate or airline pilots needed to be trained in modern avionics and other modern on-board technologies. Today, this same high-tech equipment is being used widely in small aircraft, which means that pilots of these small aircraft must be trained in TAA, or run the risk of being inept at using this equipment, or worse, a safety hazard to themselves and others. 

What's Makes an Airplane a TAA? The FAA defines a TAA as an airplane that is equipped with the following:

· A moving map display - I have an 8 inch screen iPad mounted on my yoke that is Bluetooth connected to my permanent mounted FAA-approved TSO’d ADS-B In that displays other ADS-B equipped aircraft and weather data.

· An instrument-approved GPS - I have a Garmin 430 WAAS unit

· An autopilot - I have a 3-axis autopilot coupled to my HSI with GPSS steering

Additionally, I have a new Garmin G5 artificial horizon that is just like a glass cockpit display that shows attitude, airspeed, altitude, and turn coordinator information all in one instrument, giving me a ton of information in one place, improving my scan.

Many aircraft are equipped with all of these and even more complex systems, making it difficult for even the best of pilots to navigate through their aircraft's avionics, let alone the airspace they're in. Many pilots are familiar with the term glass cockpit. An aircraft that is considered to be a TAA is not always a glass cockpit aircraft, but a glass cockpit aircraft is always considered a TAA. A glass cockpit goes beyond the description of a TAA, and is generally defined as one with a Primary Flight Display (PFD) and a Multi-Function Display (MFD), both of which replace most of the old-style gauges in an aircraft. According to AOPA, more than 90 percent of new aircraft today are coming off the line with glass cockpits. These aircraft are all considered TAA.

New Avionics in an Old System

The FAA has come under fire because of the influx of TAA and the FAA's lack of a modern flight training program. The current flight training standards have been in place since 1973, and were designed with basic stick-and-rudder flying in mind. Current training syllabi do not leave room for TAA training, but that could change in the future. As of right now, pilots are training on both the old style instruments and the new glass panel displays. The old six-pack displays are still very common, but as glass panel displays become more commonplace, we'll see the old six-packs disappear.

TAA are generally a good thing for the average pilot, as long as the pilot knows how to use the equipment correctly. Still, many accidents are attributed to the pilot's lack of understanding of the aircraft's avionics. When a pilot doesn't fully understand the avionics on board his aircraft, he can quickly become task-saturated trying to figure out how it all works. This task-saturation, coupled with excess heads-down time in the cockpit, can lead to disorientation and loss of aircraft control. 

The criticism of technologically advanced airplanes being more of a distraction than a helpful tool holds merit, though. For this reason, the FAA created the FITS program, and new training program that supplements the old one, created specifically for use with TAA. The FITS program is designed to assist flight instructors and flight schools in training pilots for TAA, and includes a more scenario-based training environment.

So, when all is said and done, when I fly my 44-year old tubular steel, fabric and wood airplane, can I legally log that flight time under the TAA column??? I certainly believe so!!




There are a lot of FAASTeam safety programs on the schedule over the next couple of months all around the state, check out the APA Calendar Online. Should you desire a particular safety or educational program, like the BasicMed program, at your local airport or pilot meeting, simply contact APA via our website and connect with me through the Safety Program Director. You can also contact me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call me at 410-206-3753.  The Arizona Pilots Association provides the safety programs at no charge. We can also help you organize a program of your choice, and we can recommend programs that your pilot community might really like.


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