Thursday, February 27, 2014


I'm sure each one of you have friends that are interested in aviation. If you could direct them to my blog at I can double my readership in a week.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014



Being a pilot I love going to aviation museums. We are fortunate in Arizona to have 3 wonderful museums. 

Yesterday I had the chance to fly up to Valle, AZ (40G) with my friend Roger Whittier aboard. The weather at 40G, 6000 feet, in the morning called for shirtsleeves even though I had a sweater and flight jacket along with me. It was a beautiful sunny day in AZ.

The museum in Valle came about from the overflow at Chino Airport Museum in CA. Chino needed a place to show excess aircraft and chose Valley Grand Canyon airport for this task. 40G is just 40 miles south of the Grand Canyon, and when the Grand Canyon Airport (GCN) is extremely busy in the summer, 40G runs Canyon tours to make up for the over crowding of GCN.

Most of the planes at Valle are in flyable condition, unfortunately one that was not is the Steerman that had a cracked spar. This plane along with several others at Chino and Valle have been used in Movies and TV shows.

The highlight plane at Valle is the Constellation (Connie) that was used by General MacArthur. The staff at Valle opened up the Connie for us and it was a great tour. Engines start consume 40 gallons of fuel.

Pictured here is the famous Connie tail. Connie’s have a reputation, like the V Tail Bonanza, of waggle in the tail area so MacArthur always sat up front in the plane.

Flight engineers panel on the Connie

Connie flight deck

Another plane of interest, which was in another hangar, is the Ford Tri Motor. It is still flying, and due to the weight of the plane, takes a type rating to fly it. You can train in this plane and receive a Tri Motor rating at Valle.

There were several historical display cases which included personal uniforms, log books and historical data on several individuals from WWII, Korea and Viet Nam.

In the lobby of the terminal building are several vintage cars. 40G is one of the friendliest airports I have flown into and worth the trip.

There is a small museum in Mesa, a suburb of Phoenix, that contains the Commemorative Airforce planes of WWII. My favorite airplane there is the B17.

There are docents at the museum to give you a complete history on all the airplanes that are in the hangar and outside.

The largest museum in AZ is located in Tucson, The Pima Air and Space museum. There are several large hangars and in addition several planes are located outside.

The SR 71 is one of my favorite all time airplanes.

The F4U means a lot to me as my Father In Law flew this plane in Korea. Also in his squadron were 2 famous baseball players, Ted Williams and Jerry Coleman.

In addition to the Pima museum, a short private bus ride away is the boneyard at Davis Monthan Air Force Base. A docent will be on your bus to give you a complete history of the planes on Aviation Row. Almost every military plane is there from WWII through Viet Nam. This includes B52’s, A10’s and F4’s. There are not many F4’s left as the airforce rebuilds them as drones for target practice. They fly about 4 missions before they are shot down for practice.

B52'S at the boneyard

So if you are vacationing in AZ and are interested in Aviation we have plenty of museums to keep you busy.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Ukraine Readers

To all those from the Ukraine that take time to read this blog... I wish you peace, safety and democracy.

Saturday, February 8, 2014



DVT is the worlds busiest General Aviation (GA) Airport. The motto of DVT is we do not want to be the busiest airport but the best airport! Well DVT is the busiest airport but nowhere close to being the best. DVT is owned by the City of Phoenix and when they appoint a new airport manager the announcement starts off with “After a nationwide search etc.” The last 2 airport managers were promoted from within Phoenix City employees. One was in charge of swimming pools for Phoenix, and the other was in charge of the sign shop at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX). DVT definitely gets what it pays for which is not much.

The pavement at DVT is a disgrace. After several meetings DVT agreed to repair the major cracks. The only problem is DVT did not notify the pilots, and several of us went to fly to find out we could not get our planes out of the hangars. The pilots came down on management and not only did this happen once more but it happened 3 more times. The second time was for more crack repairs. The third time was when the pavement surface was turning to black dust that was interfering with breathing and airplane operations. It was so bad pilots were going to call the EPA to have DVT shut down. DVT then seal coated the pavement. The last occasion a seal coat was put down in front of the hangars and again no announcement. All in all I would have to say DVT is one of the worst run airports in the country.

Approximately 60% of the operations at DVT come from TransPac (TP) flight school which used to be PanAm flight school. TP flies mostly Piper Cherokee 180’s and trains Chinese students for their airlines. On the February 3, a TP airplane with 3 aboard, crashed off the end of the runway. If you follow my blog you know that TP has had numerous accidents and deaths over the past 4 years. I am thankful that all 3 souls got out of the plane before it burned to a crisp.

While the North runway was closed, less than an hour later, a Bonanza landed on the same runway with gear up. It is assumed that the Bonanza had an electrical problem. Instead of flying away from the airport and manually cranking down the gear, this person decided to land gear up on a closed runway.

The only people, besides TP, that do not want TP to leave DVT are the Controllers as they are paid based on the number of operations. Regular GA operations are way down at DVT and if TP were to leave, DVT would revert back to the sleepy airport it once was. The FAA came down on TP after a midair with the other flight school out of DVT, Westwind Academy. 4 souls were lost in this accident near the training area. The GA population is amazed that TP is still able to obtain insurance to continue flying out of DVT.

Taxiway Alpha (A) is crumbling apart. DVT has finally agreed, with FAA financing, to replace the taxiway 100 feet north of its current location. DVT has started sending out information to the to the pilots by email on the construction. The only problem is the emails have incorrect information such as Taxiway A will be closed from A9 to B3. These are 2 separate taxiways. When you do not have a real airport manager no one knows what is going on.

Only time will tell what the future will bring, but it does not look promising for DVT.

After I wrote this I was reminded by a dear friend that PHX placed an electrician at DVT as airport manager. He contracted with a company that never applied their product in the heat of Phoenix to resurface the pavement. The tenants objected to using an untried product. After completion our feet sunk 2 inches in the pavement as it could not handle the heat. We could not pull our planes out of the hangars. Another DVT disaster!