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.