Saturday, December 3, 2011




One of the mission statements of the FAA is to promote safety in Aviation. My contention is that the FAA does not promote safety for General Aviation and makes flying GA dangerous.

I own a 1954 IFR certified Bonanza with steam gauges and no auto pilot. To install an STC’d GPS and auto pilot would cost me almost as much as the value of my airplane. Yet if one buys or builds an experimental airplane, they can install non STC’d avionics at one-third of what STC’d products cost, and these products have been proven to work as well as their STC’d equivalent. I know that it is very expensive for a manufacture to get STC approval. The cost is just not justified to install STC’d avionics on an older aircraft. However wouldn't it be safer for me to fly in IMC with any auto pilot. Also it would be safer for a VFR only pilot to have use of an auto pilot if caught in IMC or for night flying. The FAA should allow non STC’d products to be installed in older certified airplanes in the name of safety.

I believe that the IPad, with APPS such as Foreflight and WingXPro, is the safest invention for GA since the introduction of GPS. The FAA has allowed us to download digital charts for years. Now the FAA wants to eliminate any individual from using this service. Additionally the FAA wants to charge a premium to suppliers that provide chart subscription programs. Again this is not promoting safety in Aviation.

Over Thanksgiving we lost a Rockwell twin turboprop that departed Phoenix from Mesa Falcon Field (FFZ). Three young children and three young adults were killed when they flew into a mountain VFR at night. The FAA, over the objections of the Phoenix pilot community, lowered the Class Bravo to 5000 feet from 8000 feet just west of the Superstition Mountains. The Class B is now 5000 to 9000 feet leading into the Superstition Mountains whose height is 5057 feet. One can request a clearance into Class B in this area, however I have been told by pilots that fly this route it is hard to get a clearance from ATC. WingX created an amazing simulation of this flight using their VFR chart and synthetic vision that shows there was no way to clearly fly this route staying under Class B. You can see this on You Tube. Even without synthetic vision the chart was lit up in “RED” that means if you continue you are going to hit the mountain.

This is what the FAA wants to take away from us by charging who knows what to continue using WingXPro and others. My understanding is part of fuel taxes we pay provide cost for these services from the FAA. I know that Jeppesen has lost subscriptions to the IPad. Fees from Jeppesen run anywhere from $750 for a section of the United States to $2000 for complete US coverage. I hope Jeppesen is not behind requesting a price increase for the others. The FAA has lost sales on paper charts as more pilots are using iPads. If the price becomes prohibitive to pilots for these APPS it could put companies like Foreflight and WingX out of business as pilots can no longer afford these programs.

It is my contention that the FAA is not promoting safety for GA and will cause more useless accidents and deaths if it remains on it’s current path.


The Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, several months ago cancelled the blocked aircraft registration program (BARR). BARR allowed any aircraft owner or operator to block any trip from showing on the numerous internet aircraft tracking programs. I had my N# blocked as I didn’t want anyone to know when I would be out of town or where I was. LaHood decided you could only block an N# if it was a matter of national security. AOPA and NBAA brought suit, and I am proud that my testimony was part of this suit. Congress told LaHood to reverse his decision and allow anyone to block their N# with no explanation needed. The law suit was scheduled to be heard in Federal Court December 5. LaHood backed down this week and now anyone, no reason needed, can block their N#. LaHood has been the worst Secretary of Transportation that I have ever encountered. Its a great day for America, just email the FAA and request a blocked N#.

Our current President is the worst enemy to Aviation that this Country has ever seen. He needs to be voted out of office next year. Please remember to vote, as your vote will count heavily to future of Aviation in the US.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011




In 1986 California voters passed the Clean Water Act known better as Proposition 65. The California Attorneys General office is responsible for enforcing Prop 65, however that does not preclude private individuals or groups from filing their own lawsuits. Since the inception of Prop 65 many thousands of lawsuits have been filed.

There is a group that has filed numerous lawsuits using Prop65 as it’s basis. When asked how they make money, they stated through settlements on Prop 65 cases. The latest lawsuit under Prop 65 is against CA FBO’s and fuel distributors. This group targeted 3 small FBO’s who by themselves could not afford to defend the suit. When word got out among the Aviation FBO community many FBO’s decided to fight back and sued the AG’s office and the State of CA. Since Prop 65 was enacted lead has been reduced by 50% in 100LL. Several firms have been working in coordination with EPA and the FAA to eliminate lead in piston aircraft fuel.

Legally Federal law supersedes Sate Law and Congress is telling CA to butt out of this issue. My hope is that CA will not pursue this any further and drop the case. I would also like to see the FBO’s sue this group for filing a frivolous law suit.

The Obama administration has not been a friend to Aviation. The BARR act, which allows anyone to block their N number from the web tracking sites, was repealed. Now anyone can see where you are traveling if you are on any squak code other than 1200. Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation, has been in the forefront to dismantle this program. This case will be heard in the court of appeals with a lawsuit filed by AOPA and NBAA on December 2. Mr. LaHood has proved himself to be incompetent on many issues facing aviation. I am proud that my testimony is being used in this case. It’s nobodies business where I am going and when.

On a local level I am in dispute with the City of Scottsdale that wishes to build 3 apartment complexes very close to the airport. All 3 fall where jet and piston aircraft would cross on final approach at 1000 feet agl. The new Council is very pro development and approval of these complexes could lead to legal action against the City by individuals, the FAA and the State for taking grants under false pretenses, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary responsibilities.

I am going to the NBAA convention in Las Vegas for one day October 11. This will be my first trip to NBAA. It is similar to AOPA EXPO/Summit. There will be a static display at Henderson (HND) Airport, and the meetings and vendors will be at the Convention Center. I registered under my press credentials, and the main differences between NBAA , EXPO, Sun N’ Fun and Oshkosh is that I have been receiving press releases from vendors for the past month. This helps me better plan my event and I might stay over another day if necessary. I wish the other conventions would do the same.

I have been privileged to work with the FAA locally and through the western region. We were able to reinstate the major ground based approach into Scottsdale (SDL), VOR A DME. This was necessary for the pilots that do not have IFR GPS receivers. Additionally there are no category D approaches or departures for Scottsdale. With the increase of faster airplanes this was a necessity and the approaches are now approved. They should all appear on the next cycle. I’m not a big fan of the FAA in Washington however we have some great people on the local level.

If you are near Scottsdale on November 5 and 6, Scottsdale has reinstated their Air Fair after a 10 year lapse. You can find the information on the City of Scottsdale web site.

I can’t begin to tell you what it means to have a professional airport manager in place. Under the previous administration SDL did not receive any grants for 2 years. The Airport was run by the City Manager who was fired. There was no airport manager in place. Since out new airport manager was hired he has secured 8 million dollars in grants for this year. The opposite is occurring at Phoenix Deer Valley (DVT). The airport, which is the busiest GA airport in the world, promoted a man who oversaw swimming pools for the City. DVT has received zero grants for the past year. Grants are what make the airports sustainable, without grants airports will go into decay.

As I mentioned earlier the Obama administration is anti-Aviation. Their latest foray is to tax airlines and business jets $100 per leg. This is just the tip of the iceberg, piston planes will be next. The cost to monitor this program will outweigh the fees collected. Santa Monica ( SMO) charges everyone a landing fee of which mine is $6.21 for my bonanza. I was told the cost to bill me $6.21 is $30, and if not paid on time they will bill you another 2 times which equates to $90 for a $6.21 landing fee. The same will happen with user fees if enacted. Airline ticket taxes will double to help pay for the TSA which is a totally inept organization. Also the accelerated depreciation program for fan jets will be dissolved. Airplanes are one of our few exports. We manufacture chips, cars and airplanes in this country. I am not worried about the “fat cats” buying their jets. I am worried about the laborer who makes these jets being out of a job. They can barley afford to pay their mortgages and put food on the table now. So the Obama administration is trying their best to have more unemployment. Remember what happened to the boat industry when a luxury tax was sunk!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011




Two examples left in the United States that manufacture goods are the chip industry and transportation. We know that the US is a leader in automotive production, and we are also a leader in the production of airplanes.

The President wants to discontinue accelerated depreciation on new aircraft that has been in effect for the past 10 years. He states that is time that the “fat cats” who buy these jets pay their fair share. Mr President, it’s not the fat cats I’m worried about. It’s the laborer who builds these airplanes in the US that you are doing your ignorant best to put out of a job. Are these laborers fat cat millionaires? I think not. These are hard working people trying to stay afloat to pay their mortgagees and put food on the table.

Mr. President if you have your way many of these hard working people will line up on the unemployment line collecting unemployment insurance and not be able to afford health insurance. Companies will be closing plants which means less tax revenue to the municipalities in which they live.

So please explain to me Mr. President your economic plan to create more jobs which will result in job loss in an industry where we are a leader. You would think I just took this scenario out of “ATLAS SHRUGGED”.

The President should not take all the blame for this. I posed a question to a leading aviation manufacture asking what is the aviation industry doing about this. Their answer was that they have lobbyist in Washington working on it. I then asked why don’t the CEO’s request a meeting with the President in Washington. The reply was frightening...well we never thought of that. If the President refuses to meet with the CEO’s then use the media to your advantage.

Those people I know involved in aviation vote. They talk to their spouses and friends influencing them to vote. As it stands now the President, whose favorables are way down, could use all the support he could garner. There is no common sense in any level.

While we are on the subject of incompetence in government, I would like to address the BARR program. This is a program that allowed blocking of airplane registration numbers on public websites. As it stands today any flight tracker program will show your flight in real time providing the registered owner of that aircraft and the complete flight track of that aircraft. Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation, decided to do away with BARR. Mr. LaHood could not carry Norman Mineta’s lunch box if you get my drift. AOPA and NBAA have filed a lawsuit in Federal Court to reinstate BARR. Until that suit is decided upon, BARR ceases to exist.

The House of Representatives passed the FAA reauthorization bill today that would fund the FAA through January. In that bill is a provision to reinstate BARR. One can only hope this will survive the Senate.

Don’t even get me started about the FAA Administrator, who as president of the Pilot’s union at Eastern Airlines, forced the collapse of Eastern. What a fine bunch we have leading the Aviation industry in this country.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011




My last column for Plane and Pilot News was on the flying with the IPad with Foreflight and WingXPro. I have flown with both extensively this summer and would like to provide an update. It’s been very hot everywhere except on the West Coast, and that is where I have spent most of my summer. It has been 115 in Scottsdale and lows in the 90’s with numerous dust storms. I picked a good summer to leave town. We traveled to Colorado Springs, Laguna Beach, Palo Alto and several trips to San Diego to avoid the heat. I also flew the airlines to Atlanta to celebrate my Mother’s 90th birthday. We were lucky to have good weather in Atlanta.

After many experiments I found the best place to mount the IPad was on the yoke arm of my Bonanza. I mounted my 396 on the yoke. By placing the IPad on the yoke arm I have a good view of the IPad in my scan flying both VFR and IFR. I do not like to keep my eyes down when flying VFR and can quickly check the IPad while continuing to look outside the cockpit.

I have 2 APPS to fly with on the IPad, Foreflight and WingXPro7. They both offer many of the same things but WingXpro offers more. Flight planning is easy on both. WingX offers better weather information with a plain English weather briefing. They both supply TFR’s, Foreflight under the notams and WingX under TFR’s, but with WingX TFR’s are also displayed on the charts. If one needs more information on a TFR on WingX, just press the TFR red circle and all the information pops up in flight. WingX also offers static weather on their charts.

The charts, both VFR and IFR, have been enhanced on WingX and are more readable than Foreflight. Having been rerouted numerous times in the Los Angeles basin this is much appreciated. When being rerouted by ATC I just push the next waypoint(s) on either program and add it to my flight plan.

WingX has an option to show terrain on the charts. It shows yellow when you are within 1000 feet of a conflict and red when you aren't going to clear the next obstacle. Foreflight does not have terrain avoidance.

Another major feature of WingX is the split screen. I can have my taxiway diagram with geo referencing on one side and the scratch pad with the ATIS on the other side. Flying enroute I use one screen. When I am arriving at an airport I have the enroute chart on one screen and the approach on the other. When I see the airplane icon on the approach plate I just switch to full screen to the approach. With Foreflight I have to leave the enroute page and load up the approach waiting for the icon to show on my approach plate.

Both programs now can tether to weather in route, although each went in different directions. Foreflight uses the Baron to receive XM weather. A subscription to XM is required and the 396/496 will not work with the Baron. One has to also buy a XM weather receiver that will plug into the Baron. The Baron cost $199, and I don’t know how much a XM unit cost. WingX uses SkyRadar ADS-B in to show ADS-B weather. This is also very expensive as the SkyRadar unit cost $1500. There isn’t a subscription fee for ADS-B but it doesn’t show as many wether features as XM. I use my 396 for XM weather.

Foreflight was the originator of IPad APP for flying but they have let WingX leave them in the dust. When I bought Foreflight, WingX didn’t even have sectional charts. They do now and much more information than Foreflight. Cost for Foreflight is $150 a year and WingXPro is $175 a year including geo referenced approach plates on both. I thought at renewal that I wouldn’t buy the geo referenced approaches again but have changed my mind. This is a great situational awareness feature that I don’t want to be without. On my last flight I was rerouted and the approach changed. I haven’t flown a full IFR approach in years and am vectored to pick up the approach. With geo referencing I can see exactly where I am.

WingX has also introduced synthetic vision for $99 a year. I wasn’t impressed with their demo. If one flies the approach correctly in IMC this should not be needed. It’s another safety factor but too expensive for the type of flying I do. I will have to see this in person to make a better decision. I hope that WingX will be at NBAA in Las Vegas this October so I can make a more informed decision.

In summary WingX is a MUCH better product. They have jumped to the forefront and never looked back. I have not encountered any problems with the IPad concerning heat or altitude. I have landed in 112 degree temperature and flown at 13,000 feet. The key is to keep direct sunlight off the IPad or it will shut down. Also I recommend buying an external WASS GPS. With the IPad built in GPS you can loose signal and it is not as accurate as an external GPS. I fly with the Bad Elf, $99, as I do not want a bluetooth GPS that had to be recharged. I also recommend carrying paper print outs of approach plates for your destination and alternate along with paper charts for back up.

I feel that the IPad and aviation APPS available are the greatest enhancement to flight safety since the invention of GPS.

I submitted this column to Plane and Pilot News, but they would not run it as they are negotiating with Foreflight for advertising for their paper. This is the conundrum for Aviation Publications. If you make your vendor mad they will pull their advertising which helps pay for the publication.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

FAA drinking the KOOLAID again. No Common sense.

Government Advocacy

FAA Drinking the KOOL AID agian. Absolutely no common sense whatsoever.

AOPA, NBAA formally file court brief to preserve BARR

AOPA and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) filed their opening brief in court Aug. 29 to challenge the government's decision to severely limit the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program.

In their briefing, filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, the associations argue that the FAA’s revisions to the BARR program are unlawful and should be invalidated.

“The FAA has failed to explain why it reversed its long-standing policy recognizing that very real concerns about safety, security and competitiveness justify giving aircraft owners and operators a way to 'opt-out' of having their flights tracked by anyone, anywhere in the world with an Internet connection,” said NBAA President Ed Bolen. “This reality has been pointed out in the overwhelming opposition to the government's plans for the BARR. The government ignored these concerns, but we believe the court will not be so dismissive.”

AOPA President Craig Fuller added, “We want the court to understand that this issue should alarm anyone who supports basic privacy protections, whether or not they ever get on an airplane. After all, just because the government collects information doesn't mean it should be broadcast over the Internet for viewing by electronic stalkers, the paparazzi, or a businessperson's competitors. We are confident the court will find the FAA’s unprecedented new policy to defy both law and common sense.”

The decade-old, congressionally enabled BARR program provides operators of private aircraft the ability to opt out of having their aviation movements tracked. However, earlier this year, government officials announced plans to severely limit the program only to aircraft owners and operators who can verify a “valid security concern.”

In June, NBAA and AOPA announced that they would challenge the government's plan in court, and the Experimental Aircraft Association filed a friend of the court brief supporting the suit.

The government's plan to curtail the BARR program went into effect on August 2.

The FAA has until Sept. 28 to file a brief in response to the legal filing from NBAA and AOPA. The two associations will then have an opportunity to file a final brief on Oct. 12. The Court of Appeals will hear arguments shortly thereafter.

August 29, 2011

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Monday, August 29, 2011

The words FAA and common sense do not go together!

FAA: Own-ship Position Display on iPads Is a Problem

The FAA does not want pilots to use Apple’s iPad tablet computer for navigation. Yet pilots are using the iPad and the many moving-map applications available for the device to navigate and view approach plates, Sids and Stars, en route and sectional charts, aircraft documents and a lot more. While the FAA is sanctioning uses of the iPad not involving navigation, the rapid proliferation of the iPad into the ranks of corporate and light aircraft pilots has been nothing less than stunning. And that means that pilots are using the iPad to navigate, whether or not the FAA approves.

The FAA is clear in its opposition to display of own-ship position (geo-referencing) on the iPad and other devices that qualify as Class 1 electronic flight bags (EFBs). In fact, as iPad apps with moving-maps have proliferated, some now offer the ability to turn off the own-ship display. This seems more like a sop to the FAA’s desire that pilots use only certified avionics for navigation; after all, what pilot is going to turn that feature off unless there is an FAA inspector looking over his or her shoulder?

The FAA’s opinion on own-ship display on Class 1 EFBs is expressed in draft advisory circular 120-76B. “Own-ship position is not authorized for display or used for any application, for navigation or otherwise, on a Class 1 or Class 2 EFB in flight. Do not use this AC by itself to add own-ship position on moving maps on Class 1 and Class 2 EFBs.” The FAA is more willing to allow own-ship display on Class 2 EFBs for ground operations, but refers those interested to AC 20-159, which outlines procedures for design and production approval.

The recently released Mobile FliteDeck iPad app exhibits Jeppesen’s first approach to display of own-ship position on the iPad. Jeppesen’s first iPad app–Mobile TC–was for display of terminal charts only, but Mobile FliteDeck is a full Jeppesen Airway Manual, with worldwide terminal charts as well as en route charts and Airway Manual data for all world regions. Jeppesen has implemented own-ship position, but only for en route charts and airport taxi diagrams, not for approach plates. Jeppesen plans to add approach chart own-ship position in the near future. Mobile FliteDeck is free if users already have a Jeppesen subscription for avionics and remaining unused product keys.

Real-world iPad Use

Corporate pilot Stoney Truett uses an iPad for chart display. Because his company has been flying mostly in the U.S., he canceled the subscription to Jeppesen charts and bought two iPads, one for each company pilot. “We were paying $6,000 for the Jeppesen services,” he said. In the first year of using the iPad, including the cost of the iPads and the WingX app by Hilton Software, he said, “we saved over $4,000.”

Truett also uses the iPad when teaching student pilots, and he wanted to find out the FAA’s view on using the iPad to teach navigation tracking in airplanes not equipped with a VOR receiver. In researching the subject, Truett read FAA Information for Operators bulletin 11011, which outlines guidance used by Part 135 and 121 operators to seek approval for use of iPads as Class 1 EFBs as chart and document display devices in the cockpit. No such approval is required for Part 91 operators.

Truett contacted the FAA about InFO 11011 and wasn’t encouraged by the response. “I can tell you what the FAA’s position is on the iPad [for navigation],” Truett said. ‘No way!’” Truett added that the FAA’s attitude is that it will never allow use of iPads or other uncertified devices like handheld GPS units for primary navigation. And to bolster that position, he was briefed about a series of negative reports about iPads to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System database as justification of the FAA’s position.

AIN reviewed 12 reports in the ASRS database containing the word “iPad” and 65 reports containing “handheld+GPS.” The majority of the iPad reports are for navigation errors while pilots were trying to figure out how to use their devices. Many of the “handheld+GPS” reports cite how these devices help prevent a lot of possibly serious situations when aircraft instruments or systems failed. “You have to practice [using the iPad],” Truett pointed out.

“My preference would be to see the FAA allow own-ship positioning as a reference, not [as] primary navigation,” he said. “[It is] just trying to keep you from using it as primary because [it doesn’t] have control over it. As far as own-ship positioning on the iPad, I’ll never turn it off. I’ve flown a dozen different aircraft types with the iPad to see how well it works in different situations. I have found it to be consistently stable, simple, easy to use and very, very safe. I think the iPad is as significant and important as Loran and GPS were when they came into the aviation world. Even if you turn own-ship off, you have all the charts you need in an eight- by ten-size device that’s simple and easy to assess. [But] own-ship position display is a huge enhancement in safety and situational awareness.”

Examples of accidents where more situational awareness could have helped abound. In many of these accidents, the aircraft equipment was not capable of own-ship display on approach charts, so an iPad could have helped.

On July 13, 2009, the pilots flying a Gulfstream IV-SP became confused about their position after a windshield cracked during takeoff from Kerry Airport in the UK. While trying to return to land via the ILS approach to Runway 26, the crew mistakenly followed a false localizer indication and began descending well away from the airport, to within 702 feet of the ground. After an alert radar controller at Shannon Center warned the tower controller that the GIV was low and well away from the localizer course, the pilots were instructed to climb immediately and subsequently landed safely.

There are other accidents, especially those involving controlled flight into terrain, such as the GIII that crashed during an instrument approach into Hobby Airport in Houston on Nov. 22, 2004. The GIII crashed away from the airport, after the pilots followed what they thought was the glideslope indicator but instead was the angle-of-attack indicator. That, of course, was well before iPads were developed and before most handheld GPS units with moving maps offered own-ship display on approach charts.


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