Sunday, December 23, 2012
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Sunday, July 1, 2012
Friday, June 22, 2012
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.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
THIS AND THAT
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.
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.
PODCASTS AND BLOGS
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
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.
HOLD THE PRESSES...HOLLY COW
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.
SULLY IS WRONG
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
FAA GETTING IT DONE ON A LOCAL LEVEL
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 IS WRONG!
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.
IPAD AND APP UPDATE
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.
POOR DECISION AT PHOENIX DEER VALLEY
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
THIS AND THAT
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
A TALE OF TWO CITIES (+ 2)
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.
THIS AND THAT
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 Judge613@gmail.com, followed on Twitter at Judge613 and his
YOU BE THE JUDGE
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 Judge613@gmail.com, followed on Twitter at Judge613.