Sunday, December 23, 2012


WingX has a lot of features. One of the best is terrain avoidance. A circle with a “T” shows up and turns to red if you are going to hit something ahead of your route. Also there is an option for terrain avoidance on the moving map which will change to red if you are going not going to clear terrain ahead. This week a Piper crashed into the mountains east of Phoenix and the pilot was killed. If the pilot had some kind of terrain avoidance on his plane this accident would have never happened.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012



Recently I attended a static show of some spectacular airplanes at Scottsdale Airport (SDL). In attendance were Piper Mirage (but no Piper rep was to be found anywhere), Beech Bonanza, C90 King Air, Eclipse 500, Cessna Corvallis, Caravan, Mustang, Cirrus, Phenom 300, Carbon Cub and Aviat Husky.

I had some interesting discussions with the representatives of the companies displayed. Beech was supposed to change the engines in the Bonanza and Baron to turbo charged however due to financial problems these changes were never made. You can buy a new Bonanza for $760,000 and a baron for $1.4 million.

Cirrus had their latest edition 5 seater twin turbo. Beautiful airplane with the latest G1000 avionics. The price was $770,000. 

The Cessna Corvallis twin turbo had a sexy paint job and was loaded like the Cirrus at$770,000.

The Piper Mirage with pressurization and twin turbo engine is priced at $1.1 million. It has a larger cabin than those listed previously and it is easier to enter for passengers along with air conditioning standard.

After this class of planes came the jets. One common factor was 1000 miles range. The Piper Meridian was not shown and is $2.2 million. The Meridian is single engine as well as the Cessna Caravan although the 2 planes have different mission statements. The Piper is a sleek fast pressurized plane flying at over 200mph. The Caravan is a non pressurized model that is know as a 160 knot hauler. It is used by FedEX and UPS for intrastate package movement and also as an executive and family aircraft. There are so many variations of the Caravan you would have to design what you want and then price it out. The Caravan has great short field capabilities. Other uses of the Caravan are short charters and touring.

The fan jets represented start with the Eclipse. The new 550 is only different from the updated 500 by avionics offered. I had a long discussion with the demo pilot. He feels safe flying into a 3000 foot strip but feels most would be more comfortable with 3500 feet. Anti lock breaking will be an option in the 550 and can be retrofitted to the 500. The Eclipse is a tight fit inside. The  cost is $2.7 million.
Cessna Mustang with a little more room than the Eclipse is $3.4 million and the Phenom 300 with a lot of room is $7.5 million.

I salivated going through each airplane. They were all beautiful, most fast and all had the latest avionics glass panels. For those who can afford these aircraft it must be a thrill to be able to fly them for pleasure and business.

For those who cannot afford these planes what does the future bring? Our fleet is getting old. I fly a 59 year old Bonanza, and many of my friends are in the same position. In 2020 an IFR GPS along with Transponder and ADS-B will be required. If estimates hold and the FAA gives their blessings It looks like the hardware will come in around $3000 plus installation and proper antennas. You will have to have these to fly in B and C airspace.

As the fleet get older and more planes are retired there does not look to be replacement aircraft at an affordable price. Cuba is still running carburetor cars from the 50’s and older. It will take tender loving care and a lot of money to maintain these older aircraft.

Speaking of older our pilot population is dying off, failing 3rd class physicals or just giving up because of the current related expenses tied to owning and flying a plane. Fuel being one of the major concerns for todays pilot. No one knows how much the alternative non leaded fuels will be a gallon.

LSA’s, Light Sport Aircraft, are not very functional in that the loads are low, range is short, no night flying and no IFR if you do not have a medical. The costs of LSA’s are in the $130,000 to $160,000 price range.

I believe that in ten years or less many of our pilots and airports will go away. GA flying will then be mostly for the wealthy. This does not print a pretty picture for the future of GA.


Phoenix Deer Valley (DVT), the worlds busiest GA airport, is a training airport for controllers.  Our last 2 tower managers, Toby Jones and Jim McMahon, did an outstanding job in the training of the controllers under them. Before this DVT had numerous problems with controllers. Both of these men were rewarded for an outstanding job, Toby is now the assistant tower manager and Jim is the tower manger at Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX). Thanks to Toby and Jim for a job well done!

Sunday, November 4, 2012



I have said that besides GPS I believe that the IPad is the second greatest invention for the cockpit. For approximately $1550 one can have an IPad, app with moving map and ADS-B In which helps display weather and traffic. Not bad considering built in glass costs around $15,000 or more.

When everything works all is well, when it doesn’t all hell can break loose. I have flown with Foreflight and WingXPro7 for a year each. Foreflight was always reliable and WingX unreliable. Thats why I still use my Garmin 396 in the cockpit.

That brings us to the premise of this month’s column. I had an update for WingX a couple of days ago. After completing the update I was asked to accept a disclaimer. You cannot operate WingX without agreeing to the disclaimer. In my opinion if someone took WingX to court they would win as you have already paid WingX for the use of the program, therefore the disclaimer is not worth the paper it’s written on.

The question is why did WingX add a disclaimer to it’s program. The disclaimer says WingX might work and it might not, but WingX is not responsible for something they produce and sell for the purpose of aviation navigation. No pun intended but this will not fly in court. If WingX is selling a product for a purpose and it does not work, WingX is responsible.

I do not have any information, but I believe that someone or some group have brought suit against WingX. If they have not then they should. I have always believed that WingX has the best features of any aviation app, but WingX has the worst reliability. I am stuck with WingX as I purchased a Sky Radar ADSB-In unit that only works with WingX. Therefore I carry paper approach plates, old paper charts and my Garmin 396 with me. I have been in important situations where WingX did not work.

If a lawsuit has been filed, it will be common knowledge soon. It is too bad that a leading company in aviation apps has very little quality control.

Thursday, September 27, 2012



I had the pleasure of being invited to tour the Embry Riddle (ER) Campus in Prescott, AZ. Prescott (PRC) is 90 miles northwest of Scottsdale (SDL) and an easy 25 minute flight. I was asked to call ER operations on their frequency before landing to notify them of my pending arrival. 

Taxiing to the ER ramp there were two attendants that were students to direct me to parking. I checked in with their operations, and a student drove me to the main campus. I had a brief interview with each student to find not only were they from all over the United States but from all over the World. My ramp attendant was from Seattle and my driver from Chicago. I will discuss more about this later in my column.

Upon arrival at the campus I checked in and my tour began. There are 1800 undergraduate and graduate students at ER. The normal class size is 25. All classes are taught by professors and no graduate assistants. When I think of ER I think pilots, but there are several other majors besides leaning to be a pilot. Engineering is a big part of ER’s curriculum. Several students are offered paid internships from companies such as Boeing, and they take a year off from school to do this. They then return to ER to graduate. Many students are then offered full time jobs with the firms they interned with after graduation. Other majors are aerospace engineering, meteorology and aviation accident reconstruction where students apply to the NTSB after graduation.

The costs to attend ER are $40,000 tuition and $15,000 flight training per year. ER will be starting an agreement with American International Graduate School (Thunderbird) in Phoenix. A lot of students are majoring in Business Aviation and this will tie in with Thunderbird by advancing with an International Degree in Aviation Business Management. Thunderbird is rated as one of the top schools in International Management in the world.

On my tour I was taken to several labs that had wind tunnels for design testing and one was supersonic. Walking through the lobbies were a Wright Flyer replica donated by the EAA and a drone made for NASA by McDonnell Douglas. This drone was designed to take off like a helicopter and then fly level. MD could never get this design to work. Another area of interest is robotic engineering. ER students have designed a robot to work on the moon for NASA.

Next on my agenda was lunch in one of the most beautiful settings I have ever been. It’s not the lunch that was important but the students I sat with. Across from me was a student from Lebanon and a young lady from Saudi Arabia. The gentleman next to me was retired Air Force and obtaining his education on the GI Bill. The 2 hours of discussion with these young people was the highlight of my day. 

After lunch I was taken to ER’s accident simulation campus. They have recreations of a wrecked 727 that was donated to ER and many other planes that are laid out in a field as per the original crash sites, and the students had to determine why a plane crashed.

Leaving the campus and returning to PRC ER ramp I was given a tour of their flight operations. ER students train in 172 with Glass cockpits, DA 42 diesel twins along with helicopters.

All things considered this was a wonderful and educational day for me, much more than I expected.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012




I personally feel that the best invention for aviation was the advent of GPS in the cockpit. The second best invention is the IPad in coordination with navigational APPS such as ForeFight and WingXPro7.

As you know from my previous columns I have been a proponent of WingX over ForeFlight, that is until now. When I bought my IPad 1, I had to make a decision ForeFlight or WingX. ForeFlight (FF) had much more to offer, and it was no contest. I signed up with FF for a year and was extremely happy. I never had a glitch and new features were being added during my subscription. WingX was way behind in features and not worth purchasing. Then something happened. WingX made dramatic improvements in it’s product and blew by FF. 

At the expiration of my FF subscription I decided to buy WingX. WingX now had both VFR and IFR enroute charts and also added a split screen. This allowed me to have both the enroute chart up along with Seattle Avionics Approach plate. I could see my plane on the chart and where ATC was vectoring me, as I rarely get the full approach from ATC on my travels. With FF I had to switch the page between the chart and the approach. This is not efficient.

Through this year WingX has added many features including altitude above the ground, timer, distance from a waypoint and most importantly track up. To this day the features of WingX outperform FF. 

FF has continued to stress quality over quantity making sure that everything works properly before updating their product. This is why the FAA is allowing FF to be used in airliners and charters as an approved Electronic Flight Bag (EFB). FF quality reigns supreme. WingX has taken a different tact introducing new features and not making corrections of it’s existing defects until being contacted on numerous occasions. WingX is not an FAA approved APP for an EFB. You would think that WingX would monitor it’s product and have a way of knowing if there are any defects.

I have now encountered 3 problems with WingX in the last several months that have affected safety of flight. 

1: When the IPad 3 was introduced WingX did not work properly for approximately a month. It worked fine on the IPad 1 and 2. The charts were way off showing airports and other waypoints in 2 different areas on the charts and the charts were not seamless. WingX offered  a free second year subscription for anyone who owned an IPad 3.

2: I like to start planing my flights a week before leaving. On preparing for a trip to Santa Monica (SMO) I found that the weather would not update, and that I could not do any flight planning. I emailed WingX and notified them of the problem, and they had it corrected in 2 days. If I was making the trip the next day I was totally out of luck and would have to rely on my Garmin 396. I still use my 396 for things that neither FF or WingX will do.

3: This week I am planning a trip to San Diego (MYF), and I also review my return to Scottsdale (SDL). To my amazement  the approach plates for SDL would not load, and the screen on WingX started shaking to where I had to reboot it. I contacted WingX and they stated they had found a bug in the program. They also stated they would supply a fix on the next update later in August. I find this totally unacceptable. If they have a fix send it out NOW!

The IPad along with my 396 are my lifelines when I’m flying. If I can’t have faith in what I’m using then it is not what I want to be flying with. I’m also in a quandary because I bought Sky Radar ADS-B IN which only works with WingX or Sky Radar which is not a very good APP.

In a recent article by Sporty’s, Sporty’s compared FF, WingX and Garmin APPS for the IPad. FF came out number 1, Garmin 2, and WingX last. This comparison can be deceiving as Sporty’s is tied into FF and Stratus ADS-B. Therefore I don’t give the survey much credit.

Garmin has been improving their APP and with their resources can pass WingX quickly.

I don’t understand why I might be the only one who contacted WingX with their defects. I would hope others that own the APP would be contacting WingX also. Without maintaining their quality WingX will be losing a lot of customers. It’s too bad, as I still consider this the best Navigational APP on the IPad when it works.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

This is a reply  to my ADS-B/XM column

Interesting article.  I recently got to test both on a flight back from San Diego.  My ride to Montgomery could only get me there in the late afternoon.  Only isolated thunderstorms were predicted fo Phoenix, but Flight Service was wrong.  As I was the approaching Phoenix area, Sky Harbor started holding departures.  Deer Valley was clear but the weather was between me and Deer Valley.
 Both XM and ADS-B showed gaps in the weather.  The line of thunderstorms was moving NW at 15 knots.  Every time I got around a thunderstorm where a gap was supposed to be, it wasn't there.
Buckeye was now in the gust front, and I wasn't feeling very confident about either xm or ads-b readouts, so I asked ATC how Wickenburg looked.  My plan was to head NW and either get around the thunderstorms or land at Wickenburg and let them pass.  When I got within sight of the Wickenburg area it looked terrible.  ATC still said it looked good on their radar.  I guess theirs doesn't loop, or they would have seen that the storm was going to get there before I did.
 We ended up accepting defeat and went all the way back to Blythe to spend the night.  I was glad that I had plenty of fuel onboard.
 Anyway, I found out that my I-pad ads-b only updates weather every 10 minutes.  I don't know how old it is at that point.  XM weather updates more often, but again I don't know how old it is at that point either.  Neither one is very accurate if the weather is moving or developing very fast.  I believe some ATC facilities are able to get the NEXRAD feed, and if they are using that they are not getting current weather either.
 Sorry for the long message, I just started to say that I liked your article. 
Take Care,

Saturday, August 11, 2012



I’m a big believer of having weather information in the cockpit. Before weather depiction I had to cancel numerous trips that I didn’t think would be safe to make. This was also affirmed by many pilot friends. 

For GA we had one choice for years which is XM. XM is expensive costing $55 a month. Most of my cross country flying takes place in the summer so I would subscribe to XM June through September and then put my account in suspension for the balance of the year. If I had to make a trip in the winter it was without weather in the cockpit. I had to use ATC one time to circumvent a major storm coming back from Las Vegas to Scottsdale deviating all the way to the Colorado river before turning home. I was able to complete many trips that I don’t think I could have without XM weather. My display is small using a Garmin 396 but it sure beat having no weather information. The display was clear, and I’m able to pan throughout my route. The features of XM are great and much better than ADS-B.

There is a unit made by Barron that has the capability to send XM weather to the IPad. It has a lot of wires, the cost is $1000 and you still have to pay $55 a month to XM.

A little over a year ago SkyRadar came out with wireless ADS-B IN for the IPad. I’m disappointed with ADS-B weather. There is no satellite coverage, lightning strikes or winds aloft. That being said I now have weather on my IPad that is clear to see and free. For ceilings I have to pan ahead, push on a waypoint and look at the METAR. I was surprised in a flight this summer when I was at 9000 feet and the ceilings dropped quickly. I cancelled IFR, and dropped through a whole to get under the clouds. With XM I would have had some warning that clouds were ahead.

Radar weather works great. I have only had to use it once this summer, and it was right on even though radar is usually delayed 5 minutes.

ADS B IN does not have winds aloft only winds at ground level for the area I check.

After purchasing an ADS B IN unit the weather is free. Unit prices have come down in half since their introduction. Many vendors have entered the business.

It’s too bad that units are limited to one APP. Once you buy an ADS-B IN unit you are married to the APP you bought it for. You won’t be able to switch APPS in the future. As of this writing there is only one unit for Fore Flight, and it will not work on any other APP. Gamin’s unit will only work on the Garmin APP. There are several units that work on WingXPro, but they don’t work on other APPS except Sky Radar on the Sky Radar APP. As of today there are only 2 IPad APPS for navigation that I would consider using, Fore Flight and WingXPro. In my opinion the rest are a waste of time and money. Others are trying to catch up and not doing a good job of it, and several APPS are more expensive than Fore Flight and WingX. 

Traffic is another advantage of ADS-B IN. Someone has to be flying in your area to awaken the ground stations for traffic to appear. When I receive traffic on WingX it provides the location and altitude of traffic. I would like to know whether that traffic is ascending or descending.

All that being said I’m very happy to have weather for the IPad. I think our government did a very poor job of the weather features that ADS-B provides. No satellite, no winds aloft, no traffic unless ADS B Out is on. It seems to me that the FAA was incomplete in it’s process when providing weather features. It’s too bad our tax dollars went to pay for a 50% effort. And why can’t ADS B OUT be on full time so everyone can have traffic all the time. It’s supposed to be about safety!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hey this is supposed to be an Aviation Column. 
However so many of my friends, including myself, are tired of getting ripped off by retail concerns. There are some really good people to do business with such as Costco, Discount Tire, Amazon and many more. Then there are some really lousy skunks out there to do business with, and my friends needed help obtaining recourse. Having heard Court cases on all levels for 20 years I decided to list below some hints and a couple of personal actions I just resolved and how.
1: Get an American Express card and charge anything major you buy. Recourse with AMEX is usually a great experience. I have used it against Best Buy, 3 Day Blinds and others to charge back fraudulent charges. In addition AMEX doubles the warranty on purchases.
Just this month I have reversed charges against 3 Day Blinds for over $500. You need to have good documentation such as when you talked to someone with the company, who you talked with and what the results were.
There are all kinds of AMEX cards. Just get one without a fee.
2: There are many Government resources that won’t cost you anything, and you can probably file online in 15 minutes. Remember do not get emotional. Just submit the facts, date, time, who you talked to to resolve the problem and the results or lack thereof.
A: If it is an Intrastate problem file with your States Attorney’s General Office. 
I also did this with 3 Day Blinds as I could never get a response from them after talking to them, and they never got back to me.
B: If it’s an Interstate problem file with the US Attorney’s Office. With 3 Day Blinds I filed with both.
When 3 Day Blinds were served with paperwork from both institutions, they called me immediately to work out a solution. They were at my mercy. I got everything I asked for.
Another example was a problem with Norelco Razors (Phillips) not honoring a warranty on a razor purchased from Costco. In my phone conversation with them in January they said they would not honor the rebate as I purchased the razor on sale at Costco.
I filed a price fixing complaint with the US Attorney’s office and really forgot about it. I did return my razor to Costco and received a AMEX credit which I used to buy a Braun razor.
Yesterday I received a check from Phillips with an apology letter for not paying the rebate. I figure they now paid towards a Braun razor.
What these companies don’t understand is that we will go out of our way to disparage them any chance we get.
3: Small Claims Court
Small Claims Court will cover anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000 depending on where you live. I don’t recommend Small Claims against another individual as it is hard to collect your money after a verdict. If you are dealing with a Company go for it. 
4: TV Stations
Most TV stations have a Consumer Reporter. Businesses do not wish to have bad publicity on TV.
The easiest avenues are to let someone else do the work for you. I would put Small Claims in last place.
Hope this helps.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

What the Heck is UP With WingXPro's Quality!

For the last two years I have been writing how great WingXPro is, and that there is still not another aviation app on the IPad to compare with it. Their features are outstanding.
But if WingX is not reliable it’s not worth having. This is why ForeFlight is the best selling app for aviation. It might not have the best features, but it is extremely reliable. This is why all the aviation departments I know have ForeFlight and won’t buy WingX.
When the IPad 3 came out WingX did not work properly for a month. The charts were totally messed up with fixes five miles away from where they should be. WingX gave everyone another year free subscription for their problems. Now the weather database will not download. No matter what I try, the weather database says invalid and will not download. This means I have no TFR’s and data for airports I’m departing from and arriving at. Weather briefing and graphic weather works but without the above I will have to do a weather briefing on my computer software to be complete.
I love WingX but it’s getting to the point where I can’t depend on it. WingX is going to have to do a much better job or they are going to loose customers in droves. In addition how can one recommend a product to other pilots if it is not reliable!

Friday, June 22, 2012

What's up in San Francisco

A couple of years ago I wrote a series of columns about flying in the Western United States. Never had time to write about San Francisco so I thought I would do it now. 
The best airport to land at is Oakland (OAK). They love GA. There are 3 runways and 2 towers at OAK. One runway and tower is exclusively for the airlines. The other tower and 2 runways are for GA.
Don’t rent a car to go into the City. Traffic is miserable and there are limited parking spaces. The FBO, Kaiser Aviation, will take you to the BART train station, and upon your return call them the stop before and they will pick you up all at no charge. 
To get around in the City you can take the bus, train, cable car or taxi. San Francisco is a walking city. San Francisco has excellent food, and I recommend going to breakfast at Momma’s. This is the best breakfast I ever had anywhere in the world. Kuleto’s restaurant in the Villa Florence Hotel on Union Square has excellent dinners and is not overpriced. This is a place the locals go to eat. Then of course there is China Town. ENJOY!
You can rent a car almost anywhere if you wish to go to the wine country.
One site I would highly recommend is Alcatraz. A short boat ride from the Pier and it is a wonderful morning or afternoon. The tour is fantastic.
Shopping is abundant in Union Square and Cow Hollow. 
If time permits you could fly to Seattle and onto Victoria Island. Make sure to have your passport with you.
This article was published by CONCIERGE.COM and I found it to be extremely helpful.
Ten Things Not to Do in San Francisco
Perennially dubbed America's favorite city, San Francisco is high on every traveler's must-visit list. The kickback lifestyle is contagious, the food scene second to none, and the rugged coastal bluffs postcard ready. Who hasn't wanted to see the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge popping through the fog, or to climb impossibly steep hillsides aboard a clattering cable car?

But even icons have their shortcomings—tourist traps and mall brands to name a few. Some San Francisco classics live up to the hype—Alcatraz and its spectacular island setting, Chez Panisse's cutting-edge interpretations of culinary trends, the Fillmore's rock scene. But other big names, like Fisherman's Wharf, don't quite measure up. To help you avoid the common pitfalls most first-timers make in San Francisco (for starters, don't call it Frisco), here's our short list of must-nots.
1. If you're serious about fish, don't eat seafood at Fisherman's Wharf.
The old adage holds true: The better the view, the worse the food. Oh, you'll spot plenty of enticing-looking raw bars, with beefy-armed men in white aprons cracking open freshly boiled crabs, but no self-respecting San Francisco food-lover would dream of eating at any of Fisherman's Wharf tourist traps. We thought parsley-sprig and orange-wedge garnishes disappeared with the disco years, but apparently we were mistaken. It's not that the seafood isn't fresh, but in the hands of the assembly-line chefs, it's generally overcooked, badly sauced, and overpriced.
Instead: Eat at Swan Oyster Depot. For fresh-off-the-boat shellfish, queue up beside the locals at Swan Oyster Depot, a century-old landmark with just 20 stools lining a marble counter. With the exception of a creamy New England-style chowder, the entire menu is cold—oysters on the half shell, cracked crab, smoked fish and shrimp salad tossed in Louie dressing (a sort of Thousand Island without pickles). It's perfect picnic food to take to nearby Sterling Park, atop Russian Hill, where you can gaze out at the glittering blue bay as you lunch. But get there early: Once the lunch rush ends and the fish runs out, Swan Oyster Depot closes up shop. For a special-occasion white-tablecloth seafood feast, you won't find better than Aqua. On a par with New York's famed Le Bernardin, Aqua expertly blends French technique with New American sensibilities, using fresh-off-the-boat ingredients in such signature dishes as Moroccan-spiced tuna tartare and Alaskan halibut with licorice jus. Unlike at the Wharf, you won't soon forget what you ate.
1 / 11
Instead: Eat at Swan Oyster Depot.
1 / 11
2. If you love one-of-a-kind finds, don't shop in Union Square.
San Francisco's high-rent retail district, Union Square is by far the easiest place in town to max out your credit cards, with big names like Neiman Marcus, Marc Jacobs and Gucci. But let's face it, you can find those stores almost anywhere. Did you really fly all the way across the continent only to shop the chains?
Instead: Browse the boutiques in Hayes Valley. Get hip to the indie-designer scene in Hayes Valley, one of San Francisco's most happening neighborhoods, where inventive boutiques line a three-block stretch around Hayes Street, just west of Symphony Hall. Among our favorites: RAG Co-op rents rack space to 70 up-and-coming designers hawking denim skinnies, screen-printed tees, and the occasional vintage item. The look is very San Francisco—youthful, sporty, smart. Or take home something a bit more grown-up with a custom-made piece from Lemon Twist—choose the fabric and design, and they'll tailor it to hug your every curve. Best of all, chances are slim-to-none you'll spot someone else sporting the same frock.
3. For the best sourdough bread, don't go to Boudin Bakery.
Sourdough has a long history in San Francisco, thanks in large part to Boudin, which has been kneading bread since 1849. The place is an institution, and tourists line up to scoop chowder from the bakery's hollowed-out bread bowls. Trouble is, the bread just isn't that great. Not only could you break a filling on the tough-as-linoleum crust, but the dough is way over-soured and lacks any subtlety. Simply put, Boudin rests on its laurels and just hasn't kept pace with the city's cutting-edge food scene.
Instead: Head to Tartine. Weekend lines wrap around the block at this Mission District bakery, but they're made up of locals, not tourists. And with good reason: To find better pastry and bread, you'd have to fly to Paris. Don't believe us? Ask the James Beard Foundation, which named co-owners Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson as Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2008. The semi-sour, lightly yeasted sourdough bread comes out of the oven at 5pm Wednesday through Sunday afternoons, and it sells out in as little as an hour. If you're counting carbs and can't justify an entire loaf, come during the day and sample a dense, chewy slice of the country-style bread in one of the bakery's signature croques-monsieurs.
4. Unless you're stuck in 1968, don't look for counterculture on Haight Street.
In case you hadn't noticed, nobody has worn flowers in their hair since the 1970s—even on Haight Street, where packs of 16-year-olds in their Jim Morrison phase shop for tie-dye, and drug-addled former hippies crouch in doorways begging for spare change. The 'hood has become a parody of itself, a sort of '60s theme park with too many head shops and frat-boy bars, not to mention a Ben & Jerry's franchise occupying the storied corner of Haight and Ashbury streets. It's not all bad—there's great thrifting and shoe shopping, but you'll have to overcome the stink of patchouli to do it.
Instead: Explore the Mission District. For the real San Francisco-now experience, explore the gritty Mission District. Before the dot-com boom, the Mission was the last ungentrified central San Francisco neighborhood, historically the heart of the city's Latino community and the stomping ground of underground artists. Today weekend hipsters with day jobs in biotech have moved in, but the vibe remains decidedly experimental. Explore the Mission's famous murals in Clarion Alley with Precita Eyes Mural Tours, fuel up on $4 tacos, and then wander down Valencia Street (from 24th to 16th Sts) and pop into only-in-S.F. boutiques. At Paxton Gate you can peruse housewares like glass terraria and vintage taxidermy; Good Vibrations is ground zero for the latest in sex toys. Make love not war: That's the real way to channel the hippie Haight spirit.
5. If you're going to hop aboard San Francisco's most famous icons, don't take the Powell Street cable cars.
Lines snake around the cable car terminus at Powell and Market streets, the beginning of the two major cable-car lines (Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason), which carry tourists to Fisherman's Wharf. While you wait—sometimes as long as an hour—you're held hostage by D-grade accordion players, panhandlers, and evangelists threatening hellfire. All this hassle for a ride on a toy train?
Instead: Take the California Street line. Take the cable car line tourists don't know about: the California Street line. There's rarely a queue for this lightly traveled route because visitors don't know what to do at the end of the line, Van Ness Avenue. But we do: Grab a picnic lunch of succulent Cowgirl Creamery cheese and crusty French bread near the beginning of the route at the Ferry Building Marketplace and hop on the cable car at the foot of California Street. Then, from the terminus at Van Ness Avenue, walk to Lafayette Square, in swanky Pacific Heights, for a hilltop picnic in the shadow of stately townhouses. Afterward, window-shop Upper Fillmore St alongside the city's skirt-and-sweater matrons. (Tip: For a great photo on the cable car, shoot east downhill as you approach Stockton Street; the Bay Bridge tower is briefly framed just right between downtown skyscrapers.)
6. If you want a taste of waterfront life, don't waste your time at Pier 39.
Unless you have an insatiable refrigerator-magnet fetish, don't rub fanny packs with the hordes thronging Pier 39. Little more than an outdoor strip mall built to revitalize the once decrepit northern waterfront, Pier 39 overflows with tourists clutching bags of tatty souvenirs destined for future garage sales. The only smart reason to come is to ooh and aah at the sea lions lazing off the pier's northwestern side, but you can do this in the evening, once the shops have closed and the pier has emptied out.
Instead: Explore Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Get picture-postcard vistas of the bay's glittering waters from the waterfront promenades of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Wander west of Van Ness Avenue from Pier 39 along the wooded trails leading to Fort Mason, a former shipyard now home to experimental theaters and art workshops. Further west, Marina Green draws kite-fliers and sunbathers to a giant sweep of grass in view of bobbing masts of sailboats. But the big payoff is Crissy Field, a restored bay-front wetlands with raised boardwalks over the dunes, stellar bird-watching, and jaw-dropping views of the 70-story-high Golden Gate Bridge. If you've got good walking shoes on, keep going all the way to Fort Point, directly beneath the bridge, to see where Kim Novak and Jimmy Stewart dove into the water in Hitchcock's 1958 thriller Vertigo (required viewing for all San Francisco visitors). And if the fog rolls in, fret not: Aim for Crissy Field's Warming Hut, where you'll find hot cocoa and National Park rangers to help you find your way home.
7. To get a real taste of Chinese culture, don't go to Grant Avenue in Chinatown.
No tour of San Francisco would be complete without a loop through Chinatown, the largest Chinese enclave this side of the Pacific. All those green-tile roofs, dragon lanterns, and Art Deco-Chinoiserie make for some damn good pictures, but don't miss out, as most tourists do, by sticking to Grant Avenue. If you do that, you'll walk right through Chinatown and miss the real thing, seeing only tchotchke shops and overpriced electronics stores.
Instead: Explore Chinatown's alleyways. Once you've snapped the obligatory shots of the Chinatown Gate and its green-tile portals topped with wriggling dragons, ignore the call of the pagoda-style roofs lining Grant Avenue and find your way to the real Chinatown in the side alleys. Listen for the clacking of mah-jongg tiles on Spofford Alley. Follow the scent of incense wafting from temples on Waverly Place. Dig the lushly colored murals on Ross Alley (which you may recognize from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom). For locals, the real thoroughfare is not Grant Avenue, but parallel-running Stockton Street, where Chinese women stock up on fish heads and porcelain, and nary a hawker entices you to empty your wallet on cheap electronics and miniature cable cars. For dim sum, stick with the standby City View (415-398-2838; 662 Commercial St; lunch only); most other Chinatown options are lackluster. Or hop a cab and head to Ton Kiang in the Richmond District—the upwardly mobile new Chinatown—where you'll gorge on a stream of impeccably fresh dim sum served up in soft translucent wrappers.
8. If you want to take to the water, don't pile onto the ferry to Sausalito.
Nothing beats the view of San Francisco from the water, especially right after the fog breaks and the downtown skyline and the towers of the Golden Gate Bridge emerge beneath a peerless blue sky. Short of chartering a sailboat, the best way to see it is aboard a ferry boat. Sausalito used to be the prime destination, but the little bayside artist colony has been overrun by tourists who clog the pretty streets, pack the assembly-line seafood restaurants, and zap all the fun of discovery for would-be explorers. Talk about a buzz kill.
Instead: Take the ferry to Tiburon. Ride the ferry to Tiburon, a village in Marin County with a picturesque main street straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. You'll get the same amazing shots as you sail past Alcatraz and Angel Island, and once you arrive in port, you'll have room to roam away from the herd. Poke your head into cute boutiques, snag a table for the obligatory dockside lunch at Sam's Grill (beware the seagulls swooping down on your fish and chips), and you've pretty much done Tiburon. But that's part of the charm. For full immersion in the kick-back Marin County lifestyle, snag a bay-view room at the Waters Edge Hotel and sip cocktails as the sun slips into the Pacific beyond the Golden Gate Bridge.
9. If you want to explore the San Francisco gay scene, don't cruise the Castro.
A giant rainbow flag flies over the intersection of Market and Castro streets, marking the gayest spot in the entire world. Trouble is, it's tired. Blame it on gay marriage, blame it on the Internet, but hardly anybody cruises Castro Street anymore. The bars have become decidedly mixed, with trashy suburban girls puking on their Payless pumps outside the bars, killing the cruise-y vibe. Don't get us wrong, the Castro is fun, but it's just not sexy anymore—unless your idea of hot is a rainbow-ring necklace.
Instead: seek out the locals scene. The gay scene is a moving target, and you're going to have to do your homework once you get here. Chat up local boys catching rays at the southwest corner of Dolores Park (near Church and 20th streets) on any sunny weekend afternoon, spring through fall. If you're here on a rare, hot beach day, you've got one choice: Marshall's Beach (aka Marcia's Beach), the nude strip under the Golden Gate. As of this writing, the hottest neighborhood bar is Blackbird, a former Market Street gin joint, now a slick spot for mixology and guys in tight tees. (Check out the decoupage murals made from gruesome and lurid newspaper headlines.) On Sundays, get started early with the afternoon beer bust at the Eagle Tavern; later, join the art school hotties bumping and grinding to queer DJ collective Honey Soundsystem, which spins everything from b-side disco to obscure German techno at Paradise Lounge. For classic drag, you can't go wrong on a Friday or Saturday night at Aunt Charlie's Lounge, when Gina La Divina (aka the $65,000 Silicone Wonder) and Vicki Marlane (aka the World's Oldest Living Drag Queen) host the Hot Boxxx Girls.
10. Unless you want to freeze your butt off, don't wear shorts in July.
Nothing amuses locals more than spotting tourists shivering in shorts and sandals as they cling to the open sides of passing cable cars. Unless you want to spend your first afternoon in San Francisco shopping for an ugly sweat suit you'll never wear again, pack long pants and a jacket.
Instead: Bring lots of layers. Wear layers and expect three seasons in a day—brisk fall-like mornings, warm summery days, and wintry afternoons. In summer, the weatherman's forecast is like a daily mantra: Fog and low clouds clearing to the coast by midday, with temperatures in the upper 60s and fog returning late in the afternoon. Late spring and early fall tend to be the most temperate times, but don't count on any heat waves. Year-round, the San Francisco uniform for both men and women consists of jeans, cotton tee, Merino sweater, and lightweight jacket (only in December will you need a scarf and gloves). It's a different story altogether once you cross the bay, where inland temperatures soar a whopping 30 degrees warmer in July. But unless you're packing for a side trip to wine country, leave your Bermudas at home. You'll thank us later.

Thursday, June 7, 2012





A couple of months ago I wrote about how helpful the FAA was in re-instituting the VOR A approach and Cat D approaches at Scottsdale (SDL) Airport. They were published April, 2012. While flying and listening to the SDL ATIS I heard that the VOR A approach was not available. I called the tower to discuss this, and they were never made aware of the new approaches. I then called TRACON to inform them and found out that no procedure was in place to notify airports of changes in approaches or departures. After our conversation TRACON has instituted new procedures to let airports know of any changes. This could have been a serious safety issue and glad that it was not.

Sky Radar

I deal with a lot of retailers in and out of Aviation. I have never dealt with anyone that did not give a thirty day price guarantee on their product, until now. I bought a Sky Radar ADS-B IN unit after they dropped their price $150.00. Two weeks after I received my unit they dropped the price another $220. In addition their 7 day ground shipping charge was $30.00. Their product is excellent however I can’t recommending buying from them as I feel ripped off. I was also in touch with Sky Radar on several occasions, and they knew I was writing a column on their ADS-B In.

There are other players in this field now, and I suggest you check them out before making a decision.


I have made many flights with WingX. They keep adding informational videos to their Web site. Their tips are very informative, and I keep learning new ways to fully utilize this product.

After flying with Synthetic Vision for a while, I decided this is not a product for me. I receive terrain avoidance from the moving map page. I do not need duplication. On a VFR flight I keep my head up looking outside and refer to the moving map when needed. I would definitely buy the Seattle Avionics geo referenced charts if you fly IFR.


Won’t be making it to Oshkosh this year. I think there will be a lot of interesting product introductions. Check out Clarity ADS-B IN. They have already reduce their price. Remember XM Weather is $55 a month, and the ADS-B units are now little as $600. This means the payback is now only 11 months.


I have a hangar neighbor that built a Vans RV7A and has flown it over 150 hours a year since finishing his project over a 5 year period.

Another friend is just finishing up his RV7A. He built the whole project in his workshop at home, and it will probably be painted and complete by time this goes to print. He has more equipment on his RV7 that the airliners would be jealous of, including ADS B IN and OUT. Their are so many buttons on the stick he will never have to remove his hand for almost anything.

It’s time the FAA recognize the quality of equipment being put on experimental aircraft and allow these products on older certified aircraft. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an autopilot for 1/3 the cost of a TSO’d autopilot. On older aircraft, TSO’d equipment is too expensive to justify the purchase. We would be a lot safer fleet if the FAA would open their minds. I bet that will never happen.


Times are changing. It’s hard to write a column that is relevant as I usually write a column two months in advance of published date and submit the final column 1 month in advance. With the advent of both audio and video podcasts along with blogs that are posted online information is more current. That means if publications like PLANE AND PILOT NEWS are to survive the columnist must write more of a generic story then one that is on current and hot news, as everyone will be aware of that news as it happens. Product reviews are good because I can try to educate the reader to assist in making their decision. There are several columnist for this publication that do an excellent job in providing information that won’t be stale by time you read it.


In previous columns I stated it’s not only the hours one has but most important is the training one has. The airlines have the ability to train their pilots to the highest levels, but they don’t. The reason is cost. The sim is booked almost 24/7 and there is not enough time to perform tasks outside of what is expected. Airlines throw their pilots in the simulator to get through the basic recurrent training. The pilot doesn’t want to do anything else in the sim once their ticket is renewed. The airlines don’t want to do any further training as it cost money. There are so many scenarios that aren’t covered in the sim such as coffin corner of high altitude flight, icing on decent, stalls and many others. So our airline pilots are not as well trained as we think they are.

I was incorrect when I stated that all pilots need a college degree to fly for the airlines. I talked to Roger Cohen, President of the Regionals. Roger stated that a degree is not necessary to fly for the Regionals. I then talked to a Delta Captain and Delta now requires a degree. Talking to US Air, they do not require a degree. Southwest Airlines does not require a degree, however it is preferred that one has a degree. SWA pilot requirements for hours and turbine hours is the highest in the industry. Sim time does not count. One must also have a 737 type rating before completing the hiring requirements.

I personally feel that SWA has the best trained and most capable pilots of any airline. Their are great individual pilots at all the airlines. The FAA has no requirement that one must have a degree to be an airline pilot.

I was also corrected by Roger that current FO’s are not grandfathered under the proposed 1500 hour rule. The FAA, not Congress, will determine what is needed when they issue their rule making decision. The airlines are asking to grandfather the current FO’s so there won’t be a shortage of airline pilots.

As I stated earlier I still believe it is not the number of hours one has, but the training they have. Flying around in circles as a flight instructor to build hours just doesn’t cut the mustard. More sim training is needed where pilots won’t be graded for their mistakes, but the airlines don’t have enough available sim time.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sully- ADS-B IN-IPAD-WingX




I was very fortunate to have received a gift card to the Apple Store. Owning an IPad1, which has the slowest processor of the 3 IPad’s, I was not able to take advantage all the features that WingX offered. I purchased an IPad3 with 32G and wifi only.

The IPad3 has the fastest processor, and it has the best screen resolution of any of the IPad’s, however it is no brighter in the cockpit than any of the earlier units. A screen protector is not recommended as it will distort the retina display. Do not wear polarized sun glasses as you will not be able to see the IPad screen in the vertical position. I would recommend that you have a full charge and use a charger on any trip over 4 hours as the IPad3 uses battery more quickly than the previous models. The IPad3 is narrower and shorter than the IPad1 so I placed a furniture pad in my Ram mount to make up for the difference.

I purchased WingxPro7 and started using it intuitively having used ForeFlight the year before. I was having some problems and found 3 videos on WingX’s web site. These videos were informative, and now I do most of my flight planning from the moving map page.

In addition to WingX I bought geo referenced approach plates and synthetic vision. When using ForeFlight last year I also purchased the geo referenced approach plates. I didn't think I would order these again but changed my mind after I was flying IMC into Fullerton, CA. It was my first time to Fullerton, and I was vectored away from the ILS that I expected due to airline traffic in the area and given the VOR A approach. It makes life a lot easier on an approach having situational awareness. For $75 a year I’ll take that every time.

A recent feature of WingX is synthetic vision. I decided to try this for a year at a cost of $75.00. If you don’t buy the AHARS unit, you will not have attitude or turn and bank. You will see the terrain that you are flying towards along with ground speed and GPS altitude. You may correct GPS altitude with indicated altitude on the settings page of the moving map. I don’t think I’ll buy synthetic vision again as I have terrain avoidance on the moving map. On a VFR flight I look primarily outside and in IMC at my instruments and the moving map. Not having an autopilot, too much is going on with the synthetic vision for me. One of the biggest advantages of WingX is that you can split the screen showing 2 different features. My wife and I travelled to the Grand Canyon and back using a split screen of synthetic vision and sectional chart. I have flown to the Canyon many times over the years and know the short trip well. I am used to looking outside the cockpit in VMC and forgot to really study synthetic vision. I will be flying to Palo Alto, CA in June and will have a better chance to study how this works and applies to light GA aircraft.

I also purchased Sky Radar ADSB-IN to work with the IPad and WingXPro. I’m disappointed that Sky Radar works for WingXPro (and several other APPS) and not ForeFlight. If you have Foreflight you have to buy a different ADS-B unit, Stratus, which is designed to work only with ForeFlight. You will not be able to change APPS and have the Stratus work. ADS-B In equipment should work on any APP.

Sky Radar has lowered their price on each unit by $150, the difference in the units being that the dual band receiver will denote traffic better at the flight levels. Shipping on the Sky Radar is $30, and I feel that this is excessive. Sky Radar should pay for itself in less than 11/2 years versus spending $55 a month for XM Weather.

Sky Radar does not ship with a WAAS GPS. There is no need for WAAS as you can’t legally fly a WAAS approach with the IPad. The thing I don’t like is the announcement on the bottom left of the screen on WingX that states “NO WAAS”. Sky Radar did send me a WAAS GPS to compare accuracy versus the non WAAS GPS. I will be comparing it to my Garmin 396 which has WAAS. Be careful with both GPS’s as they both have a magnet in them. I didn’t know this when I installed it until I saw my compass spin. Sky Radar should have this on their web site and instructions. Garmin 396/496 have magnets in their XM antennas. The new Garmin Aera GPS’s do not have magnets in their XM antennas.

My first trip to with everything was to the Grand Canyon. There was no weather other than on the northeast coast. I pinched the map smaller on the IPad and was able to see rain at different intensities with NEXRAD along the east coast.

For other weather information I just pressed the METAR circle around any airport in route and received textual information including winds aloft, metars, airmets pilot reports and TFR’s. I found that for the synthetic vision to be truly helpful I needed to have an AHARS unit on board. With so much going on in a relatively short flight I am looking forward to my 4 hour trip to Northern California.


When I started writing this column there were 2 ADS-B IN units to choose from starting at $800. That has all changed today. Sky Radar has again reduced their prices. The unit I purchased for $900 30 days ago is now $679 (originally $1200), and they have a new unit similar to the Stratus for $600.

Sagetech is another company that is introducing ADS-B In. They will have 4 units called Clarity. The really big news is that for $1000 you can buy a single band unit with AHARS and for $100 more a dual band unit. These prices would make it worth it to take the AHARS option from WingX.

Things just keep getting more exciting in Aviation with the the IPad and accessories.


In my previous column I wrote how Sully was wrong to demand that all FO’s should have 1500 hours of flight and an ATP. Below is one of several emails I received all in disagreement with the 1500 hour rule. This is from a retired military and Airline Pilot for one of the Majors.

Great column, especially the piece about training. Couldn't agree more. The sim is a fantastic training tool......I hate it because it makes me look like an idiot most of the time, but it shows me where my weaknesses are and what I need to work on. The absolute best training I ever had was in a C-130 sim in the Air Force. We had a five day sim class of 4 hours a day with "no jeopardy", in other words you could screw up and not be grounded. That fact made us want to do every thing they could throw at us until we got it right. In a normal sim setting where you will be evaluated all you want to do is the minimum to pass and get out of there with your ticket. I used to tell my co-pilots, when the instructor says the check ride is over, do you want to see anything else, you better say no, let's get the hell out of here.

He agreed that hours are important but proper training is much more important. Unfortunately the airlines do not reinforce the training over and above what is required without a penalty. Maybe the airlines should adopt the way the military trains.

Sunday, April 29, 2012




For some unknown reason the VOR A approach to Scottsdale (SDL) was deemed not available (NA). This approach is important for Scottsdale pilots that do not have IFR GPS receivers. It is also the only way to get under the clouds to fly into Phoenix Deer Valley (DVT) without an IFR GPS. DVT is the world’s busiest GA airport and does not have a ground based approach. There are 1,000 piston based aircraft at DVT with approximately 13% having an IFR GPS on board.

I worked with 2 people at Phoenix TRACON, Phil Thornton and Curt Faulk. When I asked why the VOR A was deemed NA no one could provide an answer. They had the FAA jet come in and fly the approach and all checked out okay. Curt then produced a new VOR approach to include DME. The FAA promised 3 different times that the approach would be published, finally it hit the March cycle. TRACON was also able to institute Cat D approaches at SDL for the faster jets that arrive direct from overseas.

We have people from the district office in Los Angeles trying to run our airports in Arizona, and they control grants. It would be great if the FAA would alleviate some of these levels and let the local TRACON’s control their state’s airports.

My thanks go out to Phil, Curt and also Curtis Strickland of the Phoenix TRACON for making aviation safer in the Valley.


Sully, Captain Chesley Sullenberger, has been very outspoken on demanding that all FO’s have 1500 hours and a type rating. I don’t have any problem with the type rating as it will make a pilot more knowledgable about their aircraft. I do have a problem with the 1500 hour requirement. This all comes about because of the Colgan crash in Buffalo. As I stated in an earlier column both Colgan pilots had over 1500 hours. It’s not the hours that matter as much as the training. The FO had no time in icing, and the Captain flunked several check rides. 250 hours is the requirement for being an FO. I do feel that 250 hours is too low, but 1500 hours is too high. Training, training training is what is important. Flying around in circles being a flight instructor or dusting crops builds hours but is not relevant for flying paying passengers on an airliner. Our system of building hours is wrong and has to be rethought. We would be better off placing prospective airline pilots in a sim and have scenarios that deal with airline flying to build their hours with the proper experiences needed.


I purchased an IPad 3, and it did not work with WingX properly for about a month. That has been corrected and WingX is offering any of their customers that owned an IPad 3 before the fix a free year subscription extension. This is great customer service. WingX has 3 instruction videos on their site that I found to be extremely helpful. The resolution on the IPad 3 is amazing but alas is not any brighter than the previous IPad’s in the cockpit.

I have downloaded and studied many aviation apps for the IPad and still find ForeFlight and WingXPro the only 2 acceptable apps from a user and financial standpoint. Most aviation departments that I talk to use ForeFlight, but I personally think WingX is the better program.

I recently tried the new Garmin APP. I am a true Garmin fan and have owned several of their GPS’s. I still fly with a 396 along with my IPad. I rate the Garmin APP to be a 1 on a scale of 10. I am very disappointed with their effort. Jeppensen is another company with an an APP. Word is that it crashes a lot. Flight Guide, who used to have the best little brown book, ruined the book by coming out with a new size that is too large for the cockpit. Their APP is expensive. I have not tried the Sky Radar APP.

Speaking of Sky Radar I will have my ADS-B in unit April 19th. Sky Radar has lowered their price $150 for each unit. I did not like that they charge $30 for ground shipping which I feel is excessive for 7 day ground shipping. I’m looking forward to flying with ADS-B in and not having to pay XM for weather services. Sky Radar will not show traffic unless there is a plane flying nearby with ADS-B out to awaken the ground station.

WingX is updating their synthetic vision the end of April. It is supposed to be more life like instead of the way it is now.


It’s a shame for the worlds busiest GA airport, DVT, to be in such shambles. DVT has worked on RSAT issues for the past 2 years, and the work is progressing in a timely fashion. At the same time the north taxiway for GA aircraft is in shambles. There isn’t a smooth piece of pavement on the taxiway. The north ramp had some major crack seal work. The areas that were cut, had rebar installed and refilled worked out well. The majority of the area was crack sealed and is a major failure. It’s too bad the City of Phoenix can’t take care of DVT as should be. Of course when you promote the (retired at this time) City Manager’s son from parks and recreation to Aviation Director at DVT, you get what you pay for.


After looking at several airplanes including ICON, WACO, Cirrus and the Malibu Mirage; I have decided to keep my Bonanza, It does everything we need with the exception of range. I can make a stop for fuel and save the $15,000 for wing tip tanks. It’s a great travel airplane for us.

This is my last column for the summer as I will be traveling the US. However I will write a column about flying with WingXPro, Synthetic Vision and Sky Radar when time permits.

Monday, April 2, 2012




It’s good to have the BARR program back in place. It amazes me everything LaHood tries to accomplish to destroy aviation.

Thanks to Apple stock I’m at a stage in my life where I could buy a nice new or used airplane. If fuel costs continue to rise I think I could buy a Baron at a really good price. The problem is that I am nearing the end of my flying career and it’s hard to justify buying another plane at my age. Stay tuned in on this one.

One of the airplanes that interests me is the Terrafugia flying car. Haven’t heard anything about them in a couple of years until they announced skipping Sun N Fun. A $150,000 project is now projected to cost $279,000. They have priced themselves out of the market.

Congratulations to ICON. They now have over 795 orders. This is a fun airplane, and if they put the fuel injected Rotax on the plane it will be even better. The ICON people have really done things right!

Unmanned aircraft have been designated by Congress to share our airspace. I figure this will occur until one takes down an airliner. It has already been proven by several accidents that it is very easy to loose control of an unmanned aircraft.

Center for Environmental Health (CEH) continues to pursue it’s lawsuit against FBO’S and fuel suppliers in California under PROP 65. The number of lawsuits that CEH has filed under PROP 65 runs in the thousands. The way CEH makes money is to file a suit against someone without deep pockets and settle. I don’t believe they have ever gone to trial.

We have a new group, Earth Justice dba Friends of the Earth, that has sent notice of intent to file suit against the EPA for the use of 100LL fuel. It is my understanding that 30% of the piston airplanes can not use synthetic fuels being developed, and that these planes do 70% of the flying. The EPA has 60 days to answer this complaint. This suit does not want to do away with 100LL right away, but it wants the Court to assign a schedule where in the future there will be no more use of 100LL.

The FAA has just announced a NPRM to require FO’s have at least 1500 hours and a type rating. I really disagree with the 1500 hours part. I have flown with pilots that have over 2000 hours and some have scared the hell out of me. They have been making the same mistakes for years. I have also flown with pilots that have 250 hours that are really good pilots. Both pilots on the Colgan crash had over 1500 hours, albeit the FO was from Phoenix and had not flown in ice to my knowledge. Hours do not make the pilot, the Captain had flunked several check rides.

There is staring to be a shortage of airline pilots. I addressed this in my last column. If the NPRM passes with a 1500 hour requirement there are going to be numerous pilots who want to fly for the airlines who only have 600 to 700 hours. My estimate is that it will cost someone an additional $100,000 to complete their training and hours. The College Aviation schools, such as Auburn and Embry Riddle, would have an exemption towards the 1500 hour requirement but no one knows what the exemption would be.

I have just received my IPad 3. I found it to be a lot brighter and weigh less than my IPad 1 with a much faster processor. It also has a retina display which means this as good as the eye can see and will be more visible in the cockpit. Can’t wait to try it out in the Bonanza.

We have lost 2 cirrus aircraft in the last month turning steep 180 degree turns to final when both were given explicit instruction to extend downwind. Do people have too much money to listen to ATC?

Speaking of ATC, could they move any slower in making a decision. Working with ATC for CAT D approaches and reinstatement of the VOR A at SDL has and is taking an eternity. I have been told that the approaches will take effect on a certain date 3 times now with no results.

Speaking of training, wouldn’t it be great if the airlines recruited right out of high schools, those who are interested in being airline pilots but don’t have the aptitude for college. They could be given a practical education by the airlines and have a career at the same time. The FAA also should consider this route to avoid shortages of experienced controllers.

If you haven’t heard about Amelia Rose Earhart you should check out her blog and facebook page, She has already recreated her namesake’s trip to Miami and is now planning her round the world trip this summer in a donated Cirrus 22. We need more people like her to promote Aviation to the younger generation. Charles Lindbergh’s grandson did a lot of promotion for aviation around 5 years ago, but I haven’t heard anything about him recently. We need these people, and more like them, to help get the younger generation involved in Aviation.

Great resources for positive publicity for general aviation are Angel Flights, Make a Wish flights and Blood runs. This is all done for free out of the goodness of pilot’s hearts. I wish more was publicized about these endeavors in newspapers and TV news.

NextGen does nothing positive for the GA piston pilot and will cost big bucks to complete and for equipment. NextGen won’t do much for the airlines either when everyone arrives together at the same 30 airports at the same time. There’s going to be a lot of holding going on. By the way NextGen has not worked well in the mountains for GA pilots flying lower than the crests.

The President recently visited Phoenix and landed at Phoenix Mesa Regional airport. This is primarily a GA airport with 2 commercial operators, and on the field there are 2 large repair facilities from Hawker Beech and Cessna. The President went to see the Intel factory and gave a speech on how important manufacturing is to the US. This is hypocritical when the President wants to install a $100 user fee per leg for all turbine aircraft and airlines, in my opinion it will cost more to collect these fees than they will take in, and to delete accelerated depreciation for aircraft purchases. How does this aide in developing manufacturing in the US? Remember your vote counts in November. As far as I know no Republican candidate has been questioned on user fees and depreciation.

Thursday, February 23, 2012




Out in the wild west where I reside I don’t remember a new airport being built in the 33 years that I have lived here. When most airports were constructed they were out in the boonies. I fly into Colorado Springs (COS) often to visit family. When I started flying to into COS there was nothing in miles of the airport. Today residential and commercial encompass the airport.

COS is one of my + 2 examples for this column, the other being Santa Monica (SMO). SMO was opened 1917 (some say 1919). Needless to say nothing was around SMO for years. As time moved on brilliant City Councils allowed for residential encroachment up to 500 feet from the runway. People who have lived around the airport have pressured the Council not to take any grants from the FAA since 1995. As per Federal law the City can do whatever it wants with the airport after 2015. The FAA states that SMO was to be an airport for perpetuity. I don’t think this argument will win in court. AOPA’s Bill Dunn has made numerous visits to SMO educating pilots and politicos. He feels confident that the airport will remain open after 2015. I hope he’s right as I don’t think there is a chance in hell of this happening. Many in the movie industry keep their jets at SMO, and I have not seen them get involved in trying to keep the airport open. This was the second of my + 2 examples.

Now onto the tale of two cities, Phoenix and Scottsdale. Phoenix owns the world’s busiest general aviation (GA) airport, Phoenix Deer Valley (DVT), which is predominantely piston traffic. Scottsdale owns one of the busiest one runway airports in the country (SDL) with mostly jet traffic. When these two airports were built they were both in the boonies. DVT wasn't easily accessible until 8 years ago when a circumference freeway was completed which has 2 exits for DVT.

Residential encroachment is the number one killer of airports, and residential encroachment can lead to restrictions of airports. Phoenix and Scottsdale took a different path to protect their airport from residential encroachment. Six years ago a developer wanted to build 1500 condos just north of the runway environment at DVT. DVT had a very strong pilots association, and I was the AOPA ASN at DVT. Ed Chauza, President of Deer Valley Pilots Association (DVPA) and I met individually with City Council members and Airport staff. When it came time for this issue to appear before Phoenix City Council there were over 100 members of DVPA in attendance to speak against the issue. The Council voted down the request for the condos. Phoenix realized how important DVT was to the City and decided to put a zoning overlay in place. As it stands now no residential can be built in the area of DVT.

The City of Scottsdale took a different approach and did a Part 150 study with the FAA that was completed in 2006. The Part 150 is not a binding contract it is more of a pact. The juxtaposition of the Part 150 was that zoning would stay the same in areas defined by the study, meaning that areas around the airport would remain light industrial and commercial with no residential. The City Council voted 5-2 to reaffirm this in October 2010. In 2011 a new Council is in place. The new members are pro-development and supported financially directly and indirectly by developers. A new 10 year general plan was to be adopted by the City in November, 2011. Out of nowhere 3 apartment complexes were on the Council agenda in the airport environment. The Council members stated that people who reside in apartments don’t complain about noise and can move anytime they want to. 2 out of 3 complexes were approved. They are right under the arrival flight paths of helicopters arriving from the north.

One airport Commissioner filed an official complaint with the FAA. He was fired by the Council. The FAA responded with one of the strongest written responses I have ever seen from a regional level of the FAA. Scottsdale’s timing really stinks. The FAA is pushing to require SDL to move their main taxiway, A, so the hold bars will be 200 feet. There isn’t any room to go to the recommended 250 feet. If this is not accomplished the FAA is going to restrict D2 and D3 aircraft at SDL. This would include the GIV, V/550, 650 and Globals.

An Environmental Assessment (EA) is in the study phase at the FAA to allow 100,000 pound planes to depart SDL on a permanent basis. SDL opened a customs office when they received the prior permission (PPR) for these planes to depart SDL full, and it has been very successful. In 2015 the Super Bowl is returning to the Valley. Will there be restrictions on SDL. Restrictions would hinder future economic boons like the one experienced at the last Super Bowl in Phoenix.

SDL is also self sufficient. Since 2000 not a dime of Scottsdale tax money goes to support the airport. Last summer the FAA made an example of the previous SDL aviation administration. The runway was in desperate need of repair which would cost 1.5 million. The FAA told Scottsdale to repair the runway themselves or close down the airport. The City paid the $1.5M out of airport reserves. This could happen again.

Phoenix was smart in protecting the airport from future City Councils where Scottsdale is not protecting it’s airport from future Councils. Only time will tell the outcome.


I flew to Safford, AZ (SAD) to take a friend to check on the progress of painting his 425. In January I wrote on how restrictive the airspace is around Phoenix. I used my IPad with Foreflight to study the airspace and terrain. I mapped out a route that would keep me out of the Bravo, terrain and 2 MOA’s. TRACON would not give me approval to climb in the Class B to 7500 feet. The Bravo was 7000 to 9000 in the area I chose. I stayed at 6500 until out of the Bravo and climbed to 7500 which kept me below the Outlaw MOA. I then flew to San Carlos airport and direct SAD to avoid another MOA. Coming home I was going to have to fly at 7000 to stay under the Outlaw MOA and avoid terrain. The MOA was cold and I climbed to 8500. TRACON would not give me the easy decent I wanted so I had to descend to 6500 to get below the Bravo. This was very easy using Foreflight. My situational awareness was great, and the trip was well planned. It would have been a very difficult flight without the IPad. My subscription to Foreflight expires the end of February, and I will be switching to WingXPro7 with Sky Radar ADS-B in for weather and dropping my XM subscription.

Arthur Rosen is a retired Judge living in Scottsdale, AZ. Arthur is AOPA-ASN for Scottsdale Airport (SDL), was Chairman of the Scottsdale Aviation Commission, served on the Super Bowl Committee for Aviation, past President of Arizona Soaring Association and Aviation Expert for ABC TV-Phoenix. Arthur can be reached at, followed on Twitter at Judge613 and his




Being a pilot is equivalent to having an extended family. When I fly into an airport and see a plane I admire, such as a WACO or a Beech Staggerwing, I walk over to take a look; and if the owner is around I usually receive a tremendous tour of the aircraft. I feel honored when someone comes up to me and inquires about my 1954 E Bonanza.

I love flying to a destination in my Bonanza, however as I age I want to be able to see the world and have been flying more on the airlines. We have had excellent luck on many airlines until a trip this winter on British Airlines. It was supposed to be an easy trip for us on BA flying Phoenix to London nonstop and then onto Madrid, but it was a disaster. This was the worst service I have ever encountered on an airline. It made me appreciate flying my own plane even more. Needless to sat we won’t be flying on BA anymore.

This leads me to the premise of this column. In 10 to 15 years l believe there won’t be any GA left in the US. When starting out in one’s career it is usual to leave college with debt, and If they go on to graduate school the debt builds up more quickly. These people have to have a place to live, car to maintain and eventually get married and start a family. Where is the money going to come from to take flying lessons? The cost of a private ticket is running anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000. With incurred debt there just aren’t funds left for discretionary spending.

Costs of used airplanes are low now. However there is still the added costs of maintenance, insurance and storage. Then there is the cost of fuel which is very expensive. I used to fly round trip from Scottsdale to San Diego for $99 fuel cost. That number is now $225, and it could go even higher this summer. Most people in this country right now are living pay check to pay check. There’s just isn’t money available for flying.

My generation, which makes up the majority of GA pilots, are either losing their medicals, dying off or had it with FAA restrictions. In 2020 if we want to fly in controlled airspace we will have to have a transponder, ADS-B out and an IFR GPS. My plane is worth $40,000. The costs to add these items will be around $25,000. It is surely not worth it to me to add this equipment to my airplane for no return. The airlines state they can save fuel and get there faster flying NextGen. I don’t believe that. There are approximately 400 airports that the airliners use, and they want to arrive and depart at the same time. There is just not enough concrete for them to receive a benefit from NextGen. I have still yet to figure out what benefit the piston GA pilot will receive from NextGen.

Arizona has a lot of flight training, more than California and Florida combined. The majority of flight training in Arizona is for foreign airline training. Embry Riddle, in Prescott, is training their students for the airlines here in the US. Embry Riddle students are paying $60,000 or more a year for college and flight training. When they finish school they are deep in debt and going off to low paying flight jobs in hope of landing that job with a big airline. Until then they are keeping Ramen Noodles in business.

Corporate aviation isn’t in much better shape. I am a member of the AZBAA which is the Arizona chapter of the NBAA. When I attend meetings I notice that the pilots are all in my age bracket being retired airline and military pilots. I don’t know who is going to replace them either.

The airlines are no better off facing a gluttony of upcoming retirements. I don’t see many ready to replace them walking into the cockpit. I think it would be in the airlines best behalf to recruit from colleges those that have an interest in aviation and pay for their flight training.

AOPA has been very busy in promoting new starts. Amelia Rose Earhart has been a great young ambassador for GA. We need more people like her in every State promoting GA. Our student pilot completion rate is unacceptably low. I have to believe that people know the costs involved going into their pilot training and am concerned about the high dropout rate. We need to do everything possible to promote aviation, and if knowing someone starting their training provide all support possible. We cannot afford even one dropout. AOPA used to have a program for student pilot mentors. I have no idea why they discontinued this. I had 2 student pilot mentors under the program. One was 57 years old and had no debt. He completed his training and bought a new Piper Saratoga. The other was a graduate student who thought she could make ends meet but in the end could not handle the extra expense to her budget. Friends kid me that my mentors were Orville and Wilbur. Actually I was very lucky that my neighbor was my mentor when I was 13. Charlie Dolson was one of the founders and past Chairman of Delta Airlines, and he gave me my first ride in a 172.

My concern is that young people cannot afford the expense to their budget to become pilots. We now have have over 5,000 airports to use. How will these airports survive if no one is using them? My hypothesis is that GA will cease to exist as we know it in 10 to 15 years and the airlines might have trouble filling positions. You be the judge.

Arthur Rosen is a retired Judge living in Scottsdale, AZ. Arthur is AOPA-ASN for Scottsdale Airport (SDL), was Chairman of the Scottsdale Aviation Commission, served on the Super Bowl Committee for Aviation, past President of Arizona Soaring Association and Aviation Expert for ABC TV-Phoenix. Arthur can be reached at, followed on Twitter at Judge613.