I have been fortunate to know several people with the FAA up to the previous administrator. In this column I want to point out several positive and one negative aspects of the FAA with respect to my recent discussions with them.
UNIVERSITY OF APP
A close friend, Roger Whittier, helped set up a program with the FAST people from the FAA. They travel throughout the state of Arizona teaching about the use of the IPad in the airplane along with aviation APPS for the IPad. After some studying Roger decided to teach on 3 APPS: WingXPro7, Foreflight and Garmin, and on his team was a person who was an expert in working with each APP.
The attendees ranged from someone who just received an IPad and downloaded their APP to someone who has been flying with the IPad for a long period of time. Each attendee had to bring their own IPad with them with one of the 3 APP’s downloaded.
I found it interesting that at the last meeting held that out of 80 people attending, 76 had Foreflight, 3 had WingX and 1 had Garmin APPS on their IPad. This percentage ran true in all their meetings. The groups were separated and each instructor began going through the process of training on each APP.
It still amazes me to this day that I meet so many pilots that use a Garmin 396/496 or 430 and just fly direct to a waypoint and then load direct to another waypoint and so on in route. Things were no different with the IPad. People just didn’t know how to use the features of the APP. WingX helped me find ways of using their program I would not have known about if I didn’t look at their you tube channel training videos.
I hope that other States will take on this teaching method as I see it as a great safety and instructional tool.
ACCIDENT AND INCIDENT REPORT
I use the accident and incident report on the FAA home page for 2 purposes. I like to study accidents hoping that I’ll learn from them and not make the same mistakes, and I am also informed if someone I know was recently in an accident. Just 2 weeks ago a friend flying a V Tail similar to mine lost an engine and had to make an off field landing. He was okay but his plane was totaled. I was able to find out about this the day after his accident.
When I logged onto the site in late December there was a disclaimer that this service would be discontinued January 1, 2013. I emailed my friend at AOPA, Bill Dunn-Executive Vice President, and explained my concerns. Tony Fazio is the Director of Accident Investigation and Prevention for the FAA. I asked Bill to give Tony a call expressing my concern for the loss of this information, and I then placed a follow up call to Tony. Due to our efforts the site is still up and running.
To get on the site go to the FAA home page, then Data enter, Accidents and Incidents enter and Preliminary Data enter.
I wrote in a previous column briefly about ADS-B Out and traffic availability. When NextGen was conceived there were no IPad’s. No one ever dreamed that pilots would have the availability of ADS-B IN in such large numbers for such an inexpensive cost. For $1,110 one can have an IPad and ADS-B In plus an APP and receive free weather and traffic. There’s a caveat to the traffic part. ADS-B Out which controls FIS-B Out and TIS-B Out is only turned on when an ADS-B Out equipped aircraft is within 15 miles of your location. Embry Riddle University (ERU) planes 90 miles NW of Phoenix are all equipped with ADS-B Out. When I’m flying in a 15 mile range of an ERU airplane I can see traffic on my IPad. Please note that I have Sky Radar and Stratus does notshow traffic on Foreflight as of today.
I had read that Phoenix was a test market for ADS-B out, and therefore I would see traffic. I was able to see traffic at Sky Harbor (PHX) flying east until the class B ended, however I could not see traffic at Deer Valley (DVT) or flying west bound. The last several weeks I have been able to see traffic at DVT but loose it upon approach at 3000 feet AGL because of mountains in the vicinity. I would like to have the availability to see traffic until I get to pattern altitude.
At an Airspace user group meeting I talked to Rich Storaci from the FAA about this. Rich wasn’t sure that ADS-B was turned on in Phoenix and connected me with Jimmy Wright in Alaska, from the FAA and ITT, to have some great and interesting discussions about ADS-B. I came to find out that a lot of planes from airliners to the flight schools are broadcasting ADS-B out, and this is why I’m able to see traffic in the Valley. Once I leave Class B I loose the traffic unless there is a plane enroute broadcasting ADS-B Out , and I have a 15 mile range when this happens. Unfortunately Jimmy stated that the FAA will not turn ADS-B OUT on 24/7 because the FAA wants pilots to buy the ADS-B Out equipment now and not wait until 2020. Again this would be a great safety factor but the FAA refuses to budge.
FAA-THE BAD NEWS
The FAA is on a witch hunt against GA pilots. Anything a GA pilot does out of the norm and you will be written up. You won’t know about it at the time as you will not be told to call a tower when landing, you will receive a letter in the mail. If you miss a frequency change, bust an altitude or anything else that is deemed unacceptable you can be susceptible to a license suspension, revocation or told to take recurrent training. This can not happen to airline pilots as they have a program in place to let them know of an error and that’s the end of it. Airline pilots miss frequency changes on multiple occasions when I’m flying cross country. FAA controllers who used to be suspended or fired for errors are only give a verbal discussion of what was wrong and that’s it. They can’t be suspended or fired unless something egregious occurs. I have to believe that an edict of this nature had to come from the Administrators office. Here’s hoping that the NBAA and AOPA can get this asinine policy overturned.
A good friend of mine, Ken Casey director of sales and marketing for Pinnacle Aviation in Scottsdale, is a true humanitarian. After Hurricane Sandy destroyed the NE coast Ken got together with TV, Radio and Newspapers in the Phoenix area asking for donations of supplies to aid Sandy victims. Ken was able to round up a Citation X, fuel and pilots to ferry supplies to NY. He did such a good job that he filled the Citation X and a 26 foot truck that drove to NY. This to me is what Aviation is all about. Thanks Ken for such a great effort!
A friend of mine who is an Aviation Director at a major airport has a very sick brother. He is donating one of his kidneys to give the gift of life to his brother.
These two people are real heroes in my esteem.