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.