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.