Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Last week I did a story for ABC TV Phoenix on Drones and what to expect. As of December 21, all drone owners, owning a drone weighing just over 1/2 pound, will be required to register with the FAA and receive a number. This number is good for all owned drones and must be applied to the drone in some fashion.

Soon it will be Christmas morning and 500,000 to 1,000,000 new drones will be under the tree. Can you imagine what a young child wants to do as soon as they unwrap their new drone. Will they register with the FAA or go out and fly it!

The law states that you must not fly a drone in controlled airspace and not fly it over 400 feet. The FAA has again been reactive and not proactive as usual. The FAA could have required all drone manufactures to place an altitude restriction on drones so they could not fly over 400 feet. The FAA could have also required a GPS chip restricting any drone operations in controlled airspace, but now the horse is out of the barn. The FAA could have also required that each drone operator take a safety video so that operators would know the rules and regulations of operation. A key could be provided that unlocks the drone for flying after successful completion of this course. The FAA has blown it again...but this is nothing new for the FAA.

Drones have the ability to fly up to thousands of feet in altitude. There have already been reported drone sightings near several airports and at altitude. A drone could be easily ingested into a jet engine or cause damage to an airplane. Unfortunately it is not of a case of this not happening, but when it will happen. In my opinion when this occurs, and if an airliner is brought down, private drones will be outlawed.

Thursday, December 10, 2015


AOPA and the EAA have worked on 3rd class medical reform for several years. This week the Bill finally passed in Committee in the Senate and is now forwarded to the floor for a full vote of the Senate. If passed the Bill will move to the House for approval and when approved move to the President for his signature.

The Bill states that anyone who has had a medical in the past 10 years after the Bill becomes law will no longer be required to take a 3rd class medical to fly any airplane: has 6 or fewer seats; fly's under 250 knots; less than 18,000 feet; weighs less than 6000 pounds; day and night; VFR and IFR. Any new pilot or someone who has not had a medical within 10 years after the Bill becomes law, will have to take a one time medical from an AME. If the FAA does nothing, the Bill becomes Law after one year of being signed by the President.

The new requirements to fly without a 3rd class medical are to see a physician at least once every 4 years and take a free online course every 2 years. These requirements were added after the Bill looked like it would not pass in Committee to go to the full Senate for a vote. This is not the same as self certification that glider and light sport pilots have. Sometimes you have to give up something to get a lot more. I think this is the best deal pilots could have gotten to get the Bill to the full Senate.

One item that was added at the last minute is a deal breaker in my opinion. I had never seen or heard of the below listed medical sheet until the Bill passed the Committee. It must have been added at the last minute.

I talked to several doctors this morning and they were all of the opinion, that as a GP, they could not sign off several items on this list. They stated to sign off on spine, a MRI would be needed; for vascular system a whole workup would be needed, Anus would require a recent colonoscopy exam, Psychiatric would need to an appointment with a psychologist and so on. No pun intended, but this just does not fly!

If the above stands as written, in my opinion, it would just be a lot easier to obtain a new 3rd class medical. Most of the items are not required for a 3rd class medical. Somebody worked really hard to sabotage this Bill, and that is a real shame. I hope that I can be proven wrong, but I seriously doubt it.

Friday, December 4, 2015


I wrote the below blog in July, 2015, and since then things have only gotten worse.


It seems like the cool thing to do is point an $8 green laser into an airplane cockpit for fun. This includes private GA airplanes and helicopters, along with Police Helicopters, and finally airliners.

The penalties that have been doled out by the Courts have seemed extremely light. Most sentences seem to be 3 years. One judge recently sentenced a man to 14 years and was overruled on appeal, and the sentence was reduced to 3 years.

There is a general ignorance of what harm these lasers can do when pointed at airplanes and lighting up a cockpit. Temporary blindness to permanent blindness can be the result of a laser strike. If one is flying solo temporary blindness can lead to a crash killing the pilot and anyone in the plane along with those who might be in the way on the ground. An airliner has two pilots aboard, but if both these pilots are hit it could lead to a major catastrophe killing hundreds of innocent people.

In my opinion the laws need to be changed to where anyone shining a laser into a cockpit is charged with attempted murder and heavy sentences applied. This is the only way of slowing down or eliminating laser strikes.

This week there were 5 laser strikes against airplanes in the Phoenix area. 4 were at Phoenix Deer Valley Airport (DVT), the busiest GA airport in the world, and 1 was at Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX) the next evening. Phoenix is one of the top three cities for laser strikes.

The strike at DVT were over a 3 hour period. What strikes me odd is that the FBI building is right across the street from DVT, and Phoenix Police Helicopter operations are based at DVT. The FBI stated that it is up to Phoenix to pursue this, and Phoenix did not launch any helicopters to try and catch this person(s).

Green lasers are cheap at $9 to purchase. Imagine that you are in a dark room for half an hour and someone shined a flashlight in your eyes. You are going to be blind for a period of time from 3 minutes or longer. It only takes about 20 seconds to loose control of your airplane which could lead to a crash and death.

I did a couple of interviews with the local ABC affiliate which I have included below.

FAA: Another flight to PHX hit by green laser

By: abc15.com staff

Description: Another aircraft en route to Phoenix has been hit by a green laser, according to Federal Aviation officials.

(Sent from ABC15 Arizona)

Link to this article:

Phoenix laser cases set to double this year

By: Joe Bartels

Description: New numbers from the FAA show 183 laser like strikes have been reported in 2015, that's more than double the number reported in 2014.

(Sent from ABC15 Arizona)

Link to this article:

The last and most important is on my You Tube channel at:


The current law states that a 20 year sentence and up to $250,000 fine can be issued for shinning  a laser into a cockpit. One judge did hand down a ten year jail sentence which was appealed, overruled, and time served was all this person had to serve.

In my opinion the law needs to be changed to attempted murder under Federal Law.

Monday, November 23, 2015


I have seen the Goodyear Blimp and a 747 up close and they are big, but the National Business Aviation Association Convention (NBAA) is huge.

I could write an article about all the vendors, speakers and airplanes; but that is not what I wanted to convey to readers as dozens have done that. Having a press pass I received over 40 requests for interviews so I could write about different products. That was not my interest.

The convention is split among numerous vendors in the convention hall occupying two buildings. It took me one day of of a three day event to walk it, and it took me 6.7 miles to do it.

The convention floor did not look that crowded, except for a couple of booths because it was so spread out, but there were a lot in attendance. I did have one complaint that like vendors were separated all over the convention floor.  I would like all headset, internet providers, interior companies etc. to be grouped together so that I did not miss anything from those vendors.
Listed are some of the vendors in attendance by category.

Scientific equipment
Airplane management
Plane batteries
Medical Air support
Internet Connectivity
Fuel Vendors

There were three vendors that I took time to talk to in detail.

Bose: I asked if they had any plans to make an in the ear ANR headset. Bose does make this for listening to devices in stereo from IPhones etc. I asked if they could attach a headset for aviation use. Right now there is only one in the ear headset manufacture that I know of. I have been flying with in the ear headsets for years. If anyone could make this successful it would be Bose.

Lightspeed Headsets: Lightspeed introduced a new wireless headset just before the convention. I tried then out and at 17 ounces they were heavy. They have 2 lithium batteries that stated use is 12 hours. If the batteries go out then there is a cord to connect the two together. However I would hate to have to do that flying an approach in IMC. I love the idea, but it has a ways to go yet.

Stratasys: I found this company to be fascinating. They make 3D printed parts for airplanes out of titanium and plastic. If you are part of their program you can send them a picture of a broken part so Stratasys can scan, print it and ship it out overnight. I think 3D printing is the wave of the future.

One other thing I enjoyed about my tour of the convention floor was meeting in person people I have only known on Social Media.

The convention also featured numerous speakers and classes. This trip I could not listen to these speakers and attend classes and do the convention floor. If I am invited back by NBAA I plan to skip the floor and attend as many classes and speaking sessions as possible in 2 days.

The last part of the convention was the static display at Henderson (HND) airport. First I have to congratulate the controllers and airport staff for a magnificent job.  Everyone was outstanding. I had to laugh a little when on approach 7 miles from HND I was asked to slow down. In 20 years flying my Bonanza this is the first time ever I was asked to slow down. Usually I am asked to keep my speed up. I was originally given 35 R to land on and was asked to transition to 35L on final. That worked great for me as I exited on the taxiway adjacent to self fuel. I filled the airplane and taxied as per ATC to South parking. Again I can not say enough about what an excellent job the controllers did in a very high traffic environment.

There were over 80 jets in the static display. There were small light jets such as the Eclipse all the way up to large business jets. I was overwhelmed by the amount and different types of jets. They were available form 1000-6500 mile range.

I want to thank NBAA for their gracious press pass and how organized the event was. It is impossible to do everything in 2 1/2 days. I am looking forward to going back and attending the speakers and classes venues.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


 Friday and Saturday Scottsdale Airport (SDL) and Landmark FBO hosted a static display of new airplanes. This event is held twice a year at SDL. It used to be sponsored by Porsche who did a first class job. They had a test track set up on the tarmac and offered free breakfast and lunch. There is not a sponsor any longer, so the event did not have as great attendance as in the past. The weather was bright sunshine with highs in the upper 80's.

Several manufacturers were on display:

Carbon Cub

The Carbon Cub LSA did not garner much attention as most gravitated to the more expensive "go" airplanes. With 180 horsepower and 21 gallons of fuel you cannot go far in the Cub. $180,000.

Mooney showed the Acclaim, a fast single engine plane. Mooney has had numerous financial problems and this plane  did not have a crowd around it when I was there Friday and Saturday.

 Epic is a single engine carbon fiber turbo prop asking price of $2.9 million at this time. Delivery is slated for late 2016 to 2017 if approved. It is a tough buy as you do not know their financial status, and if they will be around to service the airplane after delivery.

TBM was represented by their 900 turbo prop.

 Rounding out the single engine turbo props was the Pilatus, which is the largest of the single engine turbo props.

Beechcraft brought 2 planes with them. First was the G36 Bonanza. The 36 has not changed much over the years. It still carries 74 gallons of useable fuel and only comes with a non turbo engine. The price has gone up from $600,000 to now $800,000. It is a stable plane for IFR and comes with Garmin G1000 avionics.

Beech also brought the granddaddy of twin turbo props the King Air 350. This plane weighs over 12,500 pounds and requires a type rating. This is an excellent airplane filling many mission profiles.

Cirrus brought one plane with them. The new Cirrus loaded is now $1 million for a single engine turbocharged prop with a ballistic chute.

Kodiak brought their turbo prop on floats. (No picture)

Eclipse had their 550 twin fanjet. This is a 6 passenger jet with a 1000 mile range.

Cessna had the most models on display.

First was a load hauling Turbo 206. This is a great airplane for tourism and hauling a family with gear. It is not fast but will haul a load and is an easy plane to fly. The passenger entry and exit is very easy.

Next is a low wing carbon fiber TTx. The TTx is a loaded airplane with a/c, airbrakes (spoilers) and the Garmin G2000. Of all the prop planes the TTx is the only airplane that has the G2000. It is a simple affair with an IPhone like panel just before the console. If you want to go to Com, just touch Com and then touch in the frequency. Same for VOR, Transponder code etc. This plane sells for $800,000 with Flight Into Know Ice (FIKI) approval. They also offer a non FIKI model for $750,000 which includes a 1/2 wing of TKS protection or Thermal wing protection.

This is the Cessna Caravan turbo prop with added luggage pods on the belly. This plane is not pressurized, slow cruise at 160 knots, but it will haul anything including the kitchen sink! Prices vary by model and options.

The last offering from Cessna was the M2 fanjet. This replaces the CJ, CJ1 and CJ1plus in the Cessna line. It is a lot nicer than the 525 CJ that I flew.  It has the Garmin G3000 and beautiful leather interior. The M2 is what I refer to as a regional plane with 1300 mile range. The CJ I flew I affectionally refer to as the 152 of jets. It is that easy to fly. Cost $4.5 million.

I saved my favorite plane until last. If I had the money this plane would best fit my profile mission. It is the Piper Mirage going for $1.3 million. The Mirage is a 6 place pressurized piston turbocharged airplane with an approximate range of 1,300 miles. The ceiling is 25,000 feet, and what I love is that I could fly over the top of 95% of the traffic without have to use oxygen. It has airbrakes to help in the descent without having to pull the power back too far preventing shock cooling the engine. Piper uses boots for deicing, which I like as I would not have to clean up the mess that TKS makes.

It is nice to dream. I could not buy any of these planes unless I won the Powerball Lottery. I had a great couple of days talking to Reps I knew from the past and meeting new Reps. I thank them for the time they gave me, and I enjoyed every minute of being there. It is nice to dream.

Found out after publishing this, that there were 2 different Air Displays at SDL, and they are not associated. Would like to thank Brian for his gracious email that is listed below for pointing this out.

Hello Art 

Thanks for coming out to be expo this weekend. It was nice to visit with you. I received an email from a colleague with some excerpts of an email that you had sent out. While I appreciate the write up,  I just wanted to point out a discrepancy. 

The Arizona Aircraft Expo has never had an affiliation with the Porsche Jet Preview. We are an event for aviation enthusiasts and prospective buyers. In our earlier years we had two additional venues around the state. This has changed in recent years to a single annual event in Scottsdale. This past weekend was our 8th year. We also have annual events in California (two in Southern California and another in Northern Cal). Again, no relation to the Porsche show.  

Please let me know if you have any additional question and thanks again for attending. 


Wednesday, October 14, 2015


With my wife doing better I planned to take the tour of Embry Riddle University in Prescott Arizona. Most AZBAA members were going up by bus, but I had to be home early to take care of my wife.

It was an uneventful flight up to Prescott (PRC). Arrangements had been made for me to park on the Riddle ramp. I taxied onto their ramp and secured my Bonanza. I then proceeded to walk into the ops center where arrangements were made for me to take a shuttle over to campus and meet up with those taking the bus up from Scottsdale.

While the student at the ops center was telling me where to catch the shuttle, the ramp manager, Jerry Kidrick, came up from behind me screaming at me about parking on the Riddle ramp. I tried to explain to him that arrangements were made for me to fly in and park there. He went berserk and told me to get my plane off his ramp. I was escorted out of the ops center to my plane and left. I did place a call to the Chancellor and let her know what was happening. She was aware of the meeting and was embarrassed. Fearing an altercation with Kidrick, I got in my plane and left, missing the days event.

I was very disappointed that I did not partake in the days events as Riddle is an excellent University.

Monday, September 28, 2015


I flew up early to the AOPA event at Colorado Springs, CO. My sister lives across the street from the Broadmoor  Hotel, and we were able to enjoy family along with attending the AOPA regional fly in.

My wife and myself at the Broadmoor.

My sister and wife at the Broadmoor.

Broadmoor hotel

Our flight up to Colorado Springs (COS) had 20 mph headwinds, and we stopped in Las Vegas, New Mexico (LVS) for fuel. It was a little choppy all the way up and made for a long day. Flying time in my Bonanza was 4.8 hours plus the fuel stop. Controllers were great at COS. We taxied into Colorado Jet Center, unloaded the plane and asked for our rental car to be brought up to the plane. Unfortunately Enterprise blew it and did not have our car there. We had to be taken over to the terminal to pick up our car. 

I have never seen so many bugs as were on our airplane. A half an hour later the windshield was clean, and the bugs were removed from the leading edge of the airplane. I think I used 1/2 can of pledge to do this. Then we left for my sisters house.

On Friday we did the tourist thing around my sisters hood. First stop was Garden of the Gods which is an amazing view.

We also went to several other areas. On Friday night we had dinner at my Bother In Law's country club. This was at the Cheyenne Mountain Country Club which is the second oldest country club in the US, and there are only 70 members. Jackets are required dress code. The weather was so enjoyable we dined on the patio.

Saturday was the AOPA event. This is the first regional 1 day event I have attended. It was definitely regional. I had attended numerous AOPA EXPO's/Summits all lasting 3 days. I definitely enjoyed the EXPO's more. There was not one person I knew in attendance other than Rod Machado. Being an extrovert I chatted up a lot of people and vendors and made a lot of new friends.

The morning started for me with an AOPA Air Support Network (ASN) breakfast meeting. The new ASN director has only been with AOPA for 10 weeks and did not supply a lot of information at the meeting. The regional director for AOPA Rocky Mountains division was also brand new, and his comments were directed to his territory. Next to speak was Mark Baker, President & CEO of AOPA. He announced that there were now 67 Senators on board for Pilots Bill of Rights 2, which includes 3rd class medical reform. The problem is Congress has not brought this bill out of committee, therefore it can not come up for a vote. It looks like we are back to situation we were in last year, and the whole process will have to start over next year unless a miracle happens.

After the ASN breakfast was over there was a schedule of events with 3 speakers at the same times on different topics during the day. At 1:30 Rod Machado spoke to a packed house in the biggest hangar I was ever in. It was getting hot and there was no air flow in the hangar, but Rod held everyones attention for the entire time. As always Rod talks about safety using humor. His main point of the day was fuel starvation providing statistics that 50% of fuel starvation was within one mile of the airport of destination. His answer to this was to file for an airport 1 mile closer from departure. You have to love his sense of humor...but you get the point. It amazes me that Rod can give speeches throughout the years and only repeated one story from the past that everyone loves to hear.

After Rod was finished Mark Baker gave an hour presentation and the event was over. Most of what was said was covered in the ASN meeting.

AOPA 3rd Class Medical Reform petition

Vendors were also here. Most were regional to the area. I had some great conversations with ForeFlight and Appareo who makes Stratus..

There was also an excellent static display.

Beechcraft has a new Baron and G90 King Air.

Cessna had a Caravan and TTX. AOPA had the Cessna 152 restoration plane that goes for $100,000

Cirrus had 5 planes there including the 6000 delivered Cirrus. The paint scheme was amazing.

I was told that 300 planes flew into the event in crystal clear weather.

These planes filled up the north and south ramps. A F16 and 139 arrived for the static display.

One of my favorite planes was this Beech Staggerwing.

There were other interesting planes on the ramp and I included two. One was a Beech 18 and the other a Cessna Peterson conversion with a Canard wing on the front and tundra tires. I was told this Cessna can land at 35 mph.

Was this event as good as and EXPO...not in the least. Was it fun and informative...yes.
The flight home the next day was only 4 hours with no winds aloft. Was hoping to have a 20 mph tailwind home but knew that was not going to happen. Overall it was a great trip for us, and I was glad we went, seeing family and making new friends. Of course it is always great seeing fantastic airplanes.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


First I would like to thank everyone for their emails and phone calls of support for my wife. She had her transplant May 27 and the kidney is doing great. She does have other ancillary problems which will take time to correct, but overall she is doing well.

Missed Oshkosh this year but plan on attending two upcoming aviation events.

 The first will be AOPA's one day show in Colorado Springs, CO on September 26, 2015. I am not a proponent of a one day event versus the three day event, EXPO and SUMMIT, that AOPA used to have. The one day event does not give you much time to chat with friends, and you do not know who is going. It seems to me to be a very rushed event.

The second is NBAA National Convention in Las Vegas, NV November 17-19, 2015. This is the 5th largest trade show in the US, and it is big featuring 1,100 exhibitors. The two halls where this is housed are huge. It is a three day show along with a static exhibit at Henderson airport. Last time I was there saw an Airbus 320 business jet. I must admit it was something special.

I will be posting on both events after they happen.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


It seems like the cool thing to do is point an $8 green laser into an airplane cockpit for fun. This includes private GA airplanes and helicopters, along with Police Helicopters, and finally airliners.

The penalties that have been doled out by the Courts have seemed extremely light. Most sentences seem to be 3 years. One judge recently sentenced a man to 14 years and was overruled on appeal, and the sentence was reduced to 3 years.

There is a general ignorance of what harm these lasers can do when pointed at airplanes and lighting up a cockpit. Temporary blindness to permanent blindness can be the result of a laser strike. If one is flying solo temporary blindness can lead to a crash killing the pilot and anyone in the plane along with those who might be in the way on the ground. An airliner has two pilots aboard, but if both these pilots are hit it could lead to a major catastrophe killing hundreds of innocent people.

In my opinion the laws need to be changed to where anyone shining a laser into a cockpit is charged with attempted murder and heavy sentences applied. This is the only way of slowing down or eliminating laser strikes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Don't forget to download airplane geeks podcast available every Wednesday morning for free on iTunes

Monday, June 15, 2015


I do not use Wing X any longer as I have found that their quality control leaves a lot to be desired.

Today I received an email from them that in their latest update that ADS B no longer works. Don't you think they could check this out before releasing it.

Wing X Pro is a great program, but I could not, and still do not, trust them for quality control. I could never rely on it working when I needed to make a trip.

The following is an email I received from them today.

ADS-B issue

In our haste to release Version, we introduced a bug related to reading ADS-B information.  As soon as we discovered the problem, we fixed it and submitted an update to Apple.  Their approval process is taking longer than usual, but the Version update should be approved any day now.


I hate to say it but pilots are the most apathetic group of people I have ever worked with.

AOPA sent out an email to all members asking then to electronically sign it, to go to your Congressperson and Senators. The purpose of this letter was to promote getting rid of 3rd class medicals. Assuming AOPA has 300,000 members only 30,000 replied. This is a measly 10%. Come on people Congress might notice 30,000 responses, but it is a shame that close to 290,000 did not respond. Congress would wake up and push this issue if close to 300,000 responded.

PLEASE this is a huge issue for pilots. If you still have the email respond, if not ask AOPA to send you another copy. We need to get rid of 3rd class medicals, but only if you support this issue will it happen!

Thursday, June 11, 2015


As my friends know and from my last post, my wife has been very sick. She wasn't going to make it without a kidney transplant. We moved up to number 1 on the list in a very short period of time and she had her transplant May 27. Proud to say all is going well and labs are great. It will be a long recovery period.
I would like to thank those who wrote well wishes since last post.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

B17- B24- P51

This past weekend the Collings Foundation brought the B17, B24 and P51 to Scottsdale Airport. Their mission is to promote Aviation, and they accomplish this with the above warbirds giving paying rides and tours of the aircraft. Several people flew a part of history this past weekend.

Enclosed are some pictures and videos. Hope you enjoy these as much as I did being there in person.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


I have a decision to make or maybe I do not. That is the conundrum. This is all brought about by the FAA requirement that every plane be equipped with ADS-B OUT by January 1, 2020. My airplane does not have a mode S transponder nor a WASS GPS.

In order for my 1954 Bonanza to have ADS B OUT, I would have to spend $5,500 to be so equipped; $2000 for the unit and at least $3,500 for installation from the quotes I have been given. I am still going to wait as I hope less expensive alternatives will come along before then.

I have flown my 1954 Bonanza for 20 years. It has given me great service over that time. The paint is still great and the interior is good, just dated. I achieve 150 knots using 11 gallons of fuel per hour. The plane is IFR but with the minimum of equipment to fly IFR. It has a 6 pack scattered over the dash with one com radio, one OBS and DME. I have owned three airplanes and a glider over my flying career. None of them have had auto pilot, not because I do not want auto pilot, but it is too expensive to justify adding to any of my airplanes...or is it.

So this got me thinking. What if I added ADS B OUT now to my airplane and made some other modifications. I could add wingtip tanks for an extra 40 gallons and an autopilot. I have always said that an autopilot is one of the safest pieces of equipment that can be on an airplane. I am still upset with the FAA that they will not allow non STC'd equipment on legacy aircraft. These autopilots have been proven to work over many years in experimental aircraft. To add an auto pilot to my Bonanza would cost around $20,000 installed and wing tip tanks $14,000. Now while I am at it I would like to update my interior another $6000 to $8000.

I went into sticker shock when I figured it out.

1954 Bonanza $30,000
Auto Pilot        $20,000
Tip Tanks        $14,000
Interior            $6,000
ADS B OUT   $5,500

That is adding $45,500 worth of equipment to a $30,000 airplane. If I was younger, and knew I would fly another 20 years, it might be worth considering. I would have $75,000 invested for a darn good airplane that I know its service history. If I had to sell the airplane soon, due to health reasons, I would loose a lot of money.

The next alternative is to buy another airplane with everything on it. When you do that, plan to spend money on repairing the airplane even after doing a pre-buy annual. There are a lot of newer (than mine) V Tail Bonanzas out there for sale that are well equipped. The question is do I want to buy an unknown aircraft or make the investment into mine.

The other option I looked at was Cirrus SR 20. These are newer airframes and well equipped. I had two negatives, one being the price of $115,000 and the other the parachute repack which is due every 10 years from the date of rocket being manufactured, and not the date the installation was performed. That is more than I want to spend now.

Maybe if I were younger I would go ahead and add the above to my Bonanza or even buy a newer Bonanza. With no guarantees that I will still be flying in 2020, I decided to stand pat with what I have. I am going to have to install ADS B OUT in the future, but I am waiting for hopefully a better alternative than putting something in my airplane with no or little benefit to me which would cost 20% of the value of my airplane.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


I really have great respect for someone who can turn a wrench and keep my airplane flying safely. There are basically two choices when performing an annual or airplane repairs, one to use a shop or two use an independent mechanic.

For years I have chosen the second route on all but one annual. I was between mechanics and had to use the shop of a large FBO for my annual. I appreciate the fact that FBO's have brick and mortar buildings to pay for, which leads to greater overhead. Also most FBO's are required to obtain a larger liability insurance policy than the local mechanic.

My experience turned out to not be the best. At FBO's non rated mechanics can work on an airplane under the final inspection of on IA. You might have one mechanic working on your plane in the morning and another in the afternoon. If you go back next year for an annual, chances are these mechanics will be long gone. It is extremely difficult to develop a relationship with a mechanic at a FBO who knows your airplane inside and out.
When I went to pick up my airplane it had a broken window, grease on the carpets and they shorted out my intercom. The final price was exorbitant for a plane of my size. Needless to say I never used this national FBO shop again. What they do not understand is that aviation is a small community and word gets around quickly.
I have talked to others that have used national FBO's and the story is the same. Charged triple for what the services should have been.  On the positive side I have found many satisfied customers of small FBO's at smaller airports. Labor seems to be more constant at these shops.

Independent mechanics do not have the overhead that FBO's have. Their insurance requirements are less, and they usually work out of a trailer behind their pickup truck. I have found these people to be more reasonable in their rates, but also to be Prima Dona's. The mechanical ability is great, but they make lousy businessmen. I am not real happy when someone raises their rates 33% and does not tell me until they present the bill. My attitude is if you did not have the courtesy to inform me before the work was done, I am not paying your new rate.

Aviation being a small community, word gets around the field real quick about these scrupulous practices. Then the mechanic can not figure out why no one is using him, and he usually disappears.

After evaluating my choices I have decided to use a small shop this year. They have been on the field for a long time and have a good reputation. There are 2 others like this I could use but would involve dropping my plane off and having a friend fly me back. I like being able to check into the work, especially if there are problems.

No way will I ever use a major FBO again, and I have lost faith in the independent mechanics I know of. This is not to say that all independents are bad, but they leave a bad taste in people's mouths for starting the regime all over again. They are rocket scientists with a wrench...just no brains for business. Do not try to charge me more for your services than a FBO does. Not going to happen.

Friday, March 20, 2015


I am sure that you have observed that I have not posted a lot recently. That is because my wife, Pam, has become very ill. In December, while in NYC, she had a severe eye bleed and has not been able to see out of her right eye since then. She has had one surgery a month ago and will need another in 10 days, and hopefully will be able to see again.

Pam had a kidney pancreas transplant 19.5 years ago, and in testing why her eye went bad, we found out that her kidney and pancreas are in failure. Having been through every test know to man at Mayo Scottsdale, we will receive the results March 30 to determine if she is able to have another transplant.

To those of you who have known about this, we appreciate your kind words and prayers. To those that did not....I will be writing again in the near future, and we thank you for your support.

Friday, March 6, 2015


Super Bowl 49 has come and gone from Phoenix. It culminated in 7 years of work from our last Super Bowl. We all learned a lot from our mistakes which made for a much more successful event in 2015 for Aviation.

In our previous Super Bowl ATC was a disaster. It took 6 to 8 hours for planes to depart Scottsdale (SDL) Monday after the Super Bowl. This year almost everything went perfect. My accolades go out to the FAA and SDL Aviation Director Gary Mascaro.

Last Super Bowl Phoenix Deer Valley (DVT) and SDL used the same departure. This meant only one plane could depart from either DVT or SDL at a time. With great cooperation from the FAA new departure procedures were put into effect so that planes could depart from DVT and SDL at the same time and would not be in conflict with Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX). There were no ground delays at either DVT or SDL this year.

The week leading to the Super Bowl saw the worst weather I have seen here in 36 years. We had thunderstorms with zero visibility Friday before the Super Bowl. Planes had to divert to other cities or just did not depart for SDL. Sunday morning we were fogged in. You could not see 50 feet in front of your eyes, and all airports in Phoenix were closed. Around 11 AM the fog lifted and we had arrivals until the 2 PM cutoff due to the TFR.

The only negative was some clueless person in the Air Force decided this would be a good week to degrade GPS signals that covered New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and parts of California. With the support of AOPA Headquarters we were able to get this lifted the day before, day of and day after the Super Bowl. Whoever decided to do this, did not have much in the way of common sense or intelligence.

Below are some pictures of SDL during Super Bowl weekend. Phoenix is not allowed to bid on another Super Bowl for 5 years, and I am looking forward to another great event.

 Computer at SDL showing arrivals for game day

Flight School airplanes relocated

Terminal building rented out by Landmark FBO for corporate pilots on game day