We at Third Coast Aviation LLC love all things related to Texas and aviation, especially those things that help our pilots in training. Here is “The Texas Flyer” newsletter from the Texas Aviation Association for January 2018.
To Preserve and Promote General Aviation in Texas!
The Texas Flyer
Texas Aviation Association
Welcome to TXAA
Think you know what this aircraft is?
Extra credit if you can guess the year of release! (Hint: US Navy…Duh!)
Send your answer (in the form of a question) and favorite photo to firstname.lastname@example.org
The correct answer is, “What is the Martin-Baker M.B.5 UK 1944? ”
This was a tough one for our knowledgeable subscribers.
There were only 2 correct answers (in the form of a question) from our readers.
Airport Boosts Local Economy
by Michael Maresh
The Palestine Municipal Airport, five miles outside the city, off Highway 287, doesn’t offer non-stop flights to Dubai, or even Dallas. But it is an economic boom to the community.
Palestine Economic Development Director Greg Laudadio said businesses consider Palestine’s airport when deciding whether to locate or relocate to Anderson County.
“I personally know that at least two companies use the airport,” Laudadio said. The two companies are Sanderson Farms and Discount Tires.
“That is important here,” he said. “It allows quicker and easier access.” Sanderson Farms for example, uses the airport at least once a week for corporate executives to fly in.
Mayor Steve Presley said the airport’s importance cannot be overstated.
“It is important for Palestine to have an active airport for economic development,” Presley said. “The larger companies of today often have planes that frequently fly in and out. With no airport, they wouldn’t consider locating their jobs here.”
PEDC recently provided $30,000 to the airport for infrastructure improvements to bring water and sewer service, Laudadio said. “It really is nice to have a municipal airport for people thinking about moving here,” he said.
Most of the businesses flying into the city airport have their own plane or jet. A smaller company will fly to Dallas or Houston, and then drive to Palestine.
The city has discussed, along with the Texas Department of Transportation, extending the runway to handle bigger planes and jets. Laudadio noted the airport’s two runways: a cross-winds runway, running east to west, and the main runway.
The airport is not just for larger companies established in the city, or for those thinking about relocating. In October and November, the airport had 259 fly-ins, compared to 192 a year earlier. In November, 151 pilots used the airport, compared to 97 last year.
Energy Secretary Rick Perry for example, used the airport last Saturday to attend Bascom Bentley’s funeral. Over the years, Perry has used the Palestine airport numerous times to visit Palestine.
Hugh Summers, a local pilot, would rather fly from Palestine than a commercial airport, where he must fight traffic and security, and arrive at the airport a few hours before the flight.
“It’s fun,” he said. “I like to use the airport to fly around and see what has changed around town.”
The airport has been used for Boy Scouts’ flights, as well as for flight school instruction.
After a banking conference in Palestine, Summers flew the chairman back to Austin. Summers, who received his pilot’s license in 1970, said he flies for business and pleasure. “Like most things, it has to be fun, otherwise you would not stick to it,” he said. “The key thing is to keep it fun.”
Article courtesy Palestine Herald
FAA Awards East Texs Man Master Pilot Award
By Jamey Boyum, Multi-Media Journalist
GREGG COUNTY, TX (KLTV) –
An East Texas pilot flew jets, planes and even helicopters for over fifty years, and now he’s got a little something to show for it.
Scheinblum recieves award for 50 years of safe flight. Photo by Jamey Boyum KLTV.
Today at East Texas Regional Airport in Gregg County Robert Scheinblum received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, the most prestigious award issued by the FAA to pilots. Getting the award means that all during his time as a civilian pilot, a Marine pilot, and a commercial pilot, he didn’t have one safety violation.
He says he has always loved planes.
“That’s just something that’s been inside of me since I can remember. I built model airplanes as a child. I colored pictures of airplanes when I was a child. All I ever wanted to do was fly airplanes,” Scheinblum said.
Scheinblum says he flew about 30 kinds of planes, jets and helicopters. He retired from piloting in 2015.
Article courtesy KLTV Copyright 2017 KLTV. All rights reserved
Dallas Love Field Addresses Bird Strikes with High Tech
City Council May Spend $1.2 Million On Detection System
The number of bird strikes at Dallas Love Field is on the rise, so the city council is considering a high-tech solution that would detect birds as much as five miles from the airport. So far in 2017, there have been more than 150 bird strikes at Love Field, according to airport statistics.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the high number of incidents is what has prompted the city council to consider to $1.2 million investment in a bird detection system from a company called Pharovision. The system uses optical and infrared sensors to detect and track birds up to five miles from the airport, according to the company. When birds are detected, airport officials and air traffic controllers are alerted to the potential danger.
Along with the initial investment would come a $550,000 bill for an extended warranty and ongoing maintenance, according to the report. The cost would be paid from the airport’s operating funds.
The Pharovision system would also detect drones operating illegally within five miles of Love Field.
(Image from Pharovision website)
article courtesy Aeronews.net
**************************** First Flight for Bell’s Tiltrotor
by Mary Grady
The V-280 Valor, a tiltrotor under development by Bell Helicopters, flew for the first time on Monday, in Amarillo, Texas, the company has announced.
The Valor aims to deliver twice the speed and range of conventional helicopters, according to Bell, and is designed to be versatile and affordable. “The V-280 intends to completely transform what is possible for the military when it comes to battle planning and forward operations,” said Mitch Snyder, Bell’s CEO. The design is competing against the SB-1 Defiant, under development by Sikorsky and Boeing, for a contract that aims to replace the military’s Black Hawk helicopters by the 2030s.
Bell says the V-280 will fly up to 800 NM at speeds up to 280 knots, more than twice the speed and range of current helicopter platforms. It can carry a crew of four and 14 troops, with a total payload of 12,000 pounds. The Defiant project is a more conventional helicopter design, but with a pusher prop added at the tail. It’s expected to fly for the first time next year. The Army is expected to select one of the two designs by 2019.
View video of the Bell Valor’s first flight in Amarillo
Vans Aircraft Announces The 10,000th Airworthy Airplane
Milestone Aircraft Is An RV-7 Built In Martinsburg, WV
Vans aircraft is congratulating David Porter, who recently reported the first flight of his RV-7 and became the official 10,000th Van’s RV aircraft to transition from a collection of parts and take to the skies. We say “official” because there are certainly more than 10,000 flying, but we don’t know about all of them. Many builders have taken to the air and, doubtless, the thrilling experience caused them to overlook alerting anyone at Van’s.
Mr Porter lives in Martinsburg, WV and spent 3 1/2 years building his RV-7 from a standard kit. It’s the first airplane he has built. He’s also the President of EAA Chapter 1071 in Martinsburg, where several members are also RV builders and pilots. Serial number 74311 (the 4311th RV-7/7A empennage kit sold) is the 1,662nd RV-7 to fly, and a splendid example of the marque. It’s fairly typically equipped for a modern RV, with a Lycoming O-360-A1A, Hartzell blended airfoil prop, GRT/Garmin VFR avionics and seats by Flightline Interiors. His first flight was on November 24th, 2017.
David is an experienced CFI, but a relative newcomer to the RV world. As he says: “I had never considered building an airplane until one day in late 2013 when I got a ride in the back seat of an RV-8. It was my first time in an RV, and I was amazed by the performance. I immediately started running calculations about whether I could afford to build an RV. Before long, I ordered an empennage kit and sold the Piper Warrior I had owned for several years.”
Van’s Aircraft began to sell RV-3 plans back in 1973, so over the last 44 years a new RV has taken to the air every 1.6 days, on average. No-one is exactly sure when the 1,000th RV flew – best guess is around early 1994. The 2,000 mark was passed in November 1998, nineteen years ago.
The increase from 9,000 flying RVs to 10,000 took just 33 months or under 1,000 days. So currently, about one new RV airplane leaves the ground each day, 360 in the last year. An interesting sidebar is that the shortest time taken to gain 1,000 flying RVs was from 6,000 to 7,000 in the 23 months leading up to October 2010. At that time, three new RVs flew every two days.
Cirrus, the leader of the certified single piston pack, will deliver around 300 airplanes in 2017, so the “distributed production” of RVs is the largest addition to the worldwide piston fleet each year. Van’s continues to democratize general aviation, to offer as many people as possible the opportunity to experience affordable RV “Total Performance”. RVs have flown around the world, over both poles, and in more than 50 countries.
None of this would be possible without the dedicated efforts of thousands of builders, each one with their personal dream to fly an RV that is uniquely their own. Van’s can supply the raw material, but our customers provide the blood, sweat and tears that transform those parts into flying aircraft. Thanks are due to all RV builders, whose work has changed the world of personal aviation.
Dick Van Grunsven, founder and CEO commented: “If we step back and take a historical view of the RV phenomenon, we realize that “RVs” have been part of the aviation scene for over half of the “personal aircraft” era which began in the late 1920s. Over that period RVs have morphed from interesting fringe area curiosities to GA mainstays. Credit is due both to the dedicated and talented staff at Van’s Aircraft and to the thousands of aviation enthusiasts who had faith in the perhaps understated performance and value of our traditional designs. I cannot overemphasize the importance of the countless builders and pilots who have supported each other, and created a community that is now an aviation icon. Together, we have advanced the enjoyment and safety of personally built aircraft. On this strong foundation, I see no end in sight to the growth and energy the RV community is offering to GA.”
We look forward to the next 10,000. At current rates, that should take only about half as long as the first 10,000, so watch this space in 2040 or so. We’re confident that Van’s will be there, and that plenty of RVs will still be delighting their owners, and taking new generations of builders into the sky.
Gordon Lester sent in this photo, taken by Savannah Blackmar, explaining: “My 172 with my daughter’s grandfather-in-Law, Jim Bragdon, on June 30, 2017, at Aransas County Airport (KRKP) in Rockport, Texas. This was Jim’s first flight in a general aviation aircraft.”
At only about five to six miles from George Bush Intercontinental Airport, an occasional plane whooshed relatively close overhead as approximately 20 Humble ISD high school students prepared for a rocket launch in the Turner Stadium parking lot.
“That’s the scariest part. I hope I do not hit a plane today,” joked Kaseen Burnett, eleventh grader at Humble High School.
Of course, Burnett and her fellow student rocket scientists in the Humble ISD Career and Technology Education Tuesday Night Technology Club (CATE TNT) had done their homework. Under the guidance of CATE teacher Joe Paneitz, they learned how to account for different variables, including wind – knowledge that proved quite useful on the blustery morning of Tuesday, Dec. 12.
This was the first of a two-day rocket-launching competition. The four competing teams were a mix of students from Humble, Atascocita, Summer Creek and Kingwood Park High Schools.
“Their target is to shoot inside that pink ribbon,” Paneitz said, indicating a target zone 150 yards away. “As long as the rocket lands inside of it, they get a point. There’s a bow about halfway down that ribbon. If they get inside the bow, they get a point-and-a-half.”
The teams’ objective was to get six points. Each time they launched, the rocket’s engine power was increased, meaning students had to work out new calculations for every launch.
“They have to go to a more powerful engine, so the rocket keeps going higher and higher,” Paneitz said. “Before they launch, they’ve got to take (into account) wind direction, wind speed, (the) launch pad, give it a direction, and compass reading. So they’re trying to make predictions on – ‘OK, the wind’s going this way, and it’s going this speed, where do we need to put this angle?’ They write down all the very precise, exact angles on everything they’re going to do.”
Using the measurements from the first day of competition, the students will analyze the data to formulate even more precise calculations before their second, and final day of competition in January.
At the end of the second competition day, members of the winning team will each receive their very own drone, donated by The College Money Guys.
Burnett has been working to obtain her drone piloting license. She is on track to receive her license by the time students return to school for the spring semester.
“She’ll be our first Humble ISD pilot,” Paneitz said.
Burnett explained that her drone pilot license will open doors for her to work for realtors and other companies taking aerial photos. Winning one of the drones in the rocket competition would go hand-in-hand with her aspirations.
“I’m trying to get one so once I get my license I’ll be able to fly my own drone,” Burnett said. “It’s something that’s good for me to know how to do and have and be able to put on an application that I know how to fly a drone and have my own.”
Winning a drone may serve as an additional motivator for students participating in this contest, but Burnett said launching rockets was something they’d be doing anyway.
“We ended up launching rockets after school one day because we didn’t have anything to do, so we thought, ‘Let’s launch the rocket,'” Burnett said.
Later, when the club was brainstorming where to go on a field trip, the idea for a barbecue and rocket-launch event came up.
“Next thing you know, we’re launching rockets for fun,” Burnett said.
Ultimately, the experience engages students in using STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and math), which may help students like Burnett in college and beyond. But first Burnett plans to tackle her upcoming physics final.
“This rocket launch has helped a lot because I did not understand physics before this, and now I do,” Burnett said. “Calculating the wind speed and the direction and the angles and the way the planes are flying – it’s really helpful. I have finals in physics and this should help me pass.”
Fatal accidents in experimental category aircraft, particularly amateur-built aircraft, continued their decline during the FAA’s 2017 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, falling to historic lows.
For the 12-month period from Oct. 1, 2016, to Sept. 30, 2017, fatal accident totals in amateur-built aircraft were down 18% to just 27, compared with 33 during the 2016 fiscal year.
That continues a four-year trend that has seen a total drop of 47% in fatal accidents, despite an increasing amount of flight hours each year over that period, according to officials with the Experimental Aircraft Association.
The specific totals compare to 40 amateur-built aircraft fatal accidents during the 2015 fiscal year and 51 in the 2014 fiscal year.
In addition, fatal accident totals for the experimental category overall, including racing aircraft, those used for exhibit only, research and development, and some types of light-sport aircraft, dropped as well, EAA officials report.
Total fatal accidents fell from 49 to 45 during the 12-month period. The final figures are nearly 25% below the FAA’s “not-to-exceed” goal of 59 fatal accidents for that period.
“These are historic lows for fatal accidents in amateur-built aircraft and this continuing trend is a credit to everyone who is focusing on safety,” said Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety. “The overall fatal accident numbers remain much lower than other recreational pursuits, such as paddle sports, skiing and snowboarding, and driving all-terrain vehicles. Statistics even show that being involved in a fatal amateur-built aircraft accident is less likely than being killed in a lightning strike incident.”
EAA has worked closely with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board on recommendations to reduce fatal accidents, including participating in the FAA General Aviation Joint Steering Committee that EAA co-chairs.
The EAA focus has also included the Founder’s Innovation Prize competition that seeks innovations to reduce loss-of-control accidents in amateur-built aircraft; a focus on transition and recurrent training; and use of an additional safety pilot during initial flight testing in amateur-built aircraft.
“Further reducing the accident totals is a continuing challenge, but one that is foremost as part of EAA’s mission to grow participation in aviation,” Elliott concluded.
article courtesy General Aviation News
Are you prepared to survive an off-field landing?
What do you pack in your aircraft during a long cross-country winter flight? Visit www.txaa.org for a good list of gear to consider and an excellent article on survival.
Mike Trahan grew up in West Orange, Texas, and, at age fifteen, he started taking flying lessons. He flew light aircraft during high school and college, and by the time he entered Air Force Pilot Training, he had accumulated 650 hours of flying time and a Commercial Pilot Certificate with single and multi-engine ratings.
Mike spent four and a half years in the U.S .Air Force. As an Air Force pilot, he flew C-141 jet transports out of Charleston, S.C. and AC-47 “Spooky” Gunships and EC-47 aircraft in Vietnam. By the time he left the Air Force, he had accumulated 3400 flight hours.
After resigning from the Air Force, Mike was hired by Delta Air Lines. While with Delta, he flew the Convair 880, Douglas DC-9 and Boeing 727, 737, 757 and 767 aircraft. He retired at age sixty, in 2002, after thirty-two years with Delta. Mike acquired over 20,000 flight hours during his forty-five year flying career.
Mike and Sheila have three children: Theresa, Jim, and Jerry. Two granddaughters: Jordan Nicole and Hazel Grace. And two great-granddaughters: Sevyn Sadie and Dylan.
P Peek into each gas tank – verify it has enough fuel to get you there (& back)
L Look at the weather – do not fly when inclement WX is forecast
E Elude VFR into IMC – get your instrument rating and stay clear of clouds
D Do Not Stall – Keep up your airspeed!
G Ground Hurts – No Buzzing!
E Exclaim – Shout GUMPS on approach!
TXAA Foundation, Inc.
Creates iPLEDGE Program
New safety program aimed at reducing GA accident rate
Board members of the TXAA Foundation, Inc. have been working hard to develop a program to help reduce the number of accidents that continues to plague the general aviation community. Although the accident rate for scheduled commercial operations has fallen in the past decade, the rate for GA continues at what TXAA Foundation, Inc. considers unacceptable.
In an attempt to make GA pilots more aware of the problems, TXAA Foundation, Inc. board members have burned the midnight oil to develop THE PLEDGE.
TXAA Foundation, Inc. staff researched various general aviation accident reports and found the six leading causes of GA accidents. It is an old story that continues to plague pilots. The causes of most accidents are the same ones that haunted GA for decades. They include:
Running out of gas
Ignoring weather forecasts
Continuing to Fly VFR into IMC conditions
Stalls – especially on takeoffs and landings
Buzzing – impacting the ground while demonstrating your (lack of) flying skills
Landing configuration – GUMPS – why land with the wheels up?
The PLEDGE is simple:
P Peek into each gas tank – verify it has enough fuel to get you there (& back
L Look at the weather – do not fly when inclement WX is forecast
E Elude VFR into IMC – get your instrument rating and stay clear of clouds
D Do Not Stall – Use the mantra “AIRSPEED & LINEUP – AIRSPEED & LINEUP”
G Ground Hurts – Stop Buzzing! Nobody is impressed when you crash.
E Exclaim GUMPS! Checklist your aircraft for takeoffs and landings
TXAA Foundation, Inc. has made these placards available to every pilot in Texas and the United States. They come in a variety of sizes as either plastic gust loc tags, pitot tube covers, bumper stickers and decals for the panel. For to you, the GA pilot! They are free. Order yours at email@example.com or visit:
Do your part to help reduce the GA accident rate. Your passengers and family will appreciate it!!
Mission of TXAA Foundation, Inc.
TXAA Foundation, Inc. was created by the Texas Aviation Association in 2010 for the purpose of furthering aviation education and improving aviation safety in Texas.
The Foundation carries out its mission by:
* Promoting, developing, and presenting educational programs, such as aviation safety and management seminars and workshops
* Promoting and contributing financial resources to aviation education institutions
* Sponsoring improvements in aviation education facilities, techniques, curricula, and research.
Texas general aviation delivers huge economic impact to the state and local communities.
What economic difference does general aviation have on the Texas economy? Any? A lot?
TXAA is pleased to announce a link to an interesting economic impact study conducted by the Center for Economic Development and Research at the University of North Texas and funded by the Texas Department of Transportation, Aviation Division.
There is an overall study, an executive summary, and a listing of the economic impact of the individual publicly owned – public use airports in Texas. Although this study does not include the thousands of privately owned – private use airports in the state, the value of the 300 public airports shows the significant positive economic impact of general aviation to all citizens in the state, not just the flying community.
General Aviation Airports provide more than 56,000 jobs, with 3.1 billion in payroll and 14.6 billion in total economic output. When combined with Commercial Service Airports, aviation in Texas contributed to more than 771,000 jobs, 23.2 billion in payroll and 59.5 billion in total economic output.
The criteria to determine this economic value to Texas was based on clearly defined and industry accepted standards. TXAA offers the link as a useful tool to all individuals interested in keeping Texas aviation healthy and growing.
“One state – one voice”
To see how your local airport impacts the Texas economy visit www.txaa.org
New corporate hangars planned at AUS and HOU
Western LLC, a real estate development firm with a focus on aviation, has signed a deal with Signature Flight Support to bring new corporate hangars to William P. Hobby Airport (HOU) in Houston, Texas, and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) in Austin, Texas.
According to officials, Western is in the initial phases of these new corporate hangar developments and is accepting reservations on a first-come, first-serve basis.
A rendering of the planned hangars at AUS.
The hangar development at HOU has an anticipated completion date in the fourth quarter of 2018. Pre-leasing kicked off at the 2017 National Business Aviation Association Convention.
A rendering of the hangars at HOU.
This development will include hangars with 28′ doors to accommodate a wide array of business jets and attached office space designed to meet the needs of aviation businesses, such as corporate flight departments or charter operations.
Courtesy General Aviation News
GTU Jet gets new General Manager
Greetings to the GTU Jet Family
I wanted to take a minute to introduce myself to those of you who may not already know me. My name is Brad Lamb. For the past year and a half I served as the Operations Manager and I’m excited to step into my new role as General Manager of GTU Jet.
I come from a diverse background, including several years of FBO work. I have worked with Signature Flight Support (Anchorage Alaska International Airport), Timberline Aviation FBO (Grand Junction Colorado), and Black Canyon Jet Center (Montrose Colorado). I was also able to squeeze in some time working in Law Enforcement. I’ve always been drawn to aviation. I attribute my fascination with aviation to my father, who retired after serving for twenty-two years in the U.S. Air Force.
I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as GM for such a great FBO and to work with such wonderful customers. We are in the business of creating relationships with all our customers and it is my philosophy that we take care of you the same way we would want to be taken care of. The way we accomplish this is through best practices and attention to detail. We are not interested in just meeting customers’ expectations, we strive to exceed them.
Austin, TX – September 26, 2017 – Austin Executive Airport (KEDC) is pleased to announce construction of a new air traffic control tower. ln the face of growing demand, the new control tower will provide an added level of safety; air traffic controllers to provide instructions on taxiing, departures, and arrivals; and a dramatic reduction in runway congestion.
Austin Executive Airport Executive Director Andrew D. Perry, A.A.E. said, “We are very excited to see how the airport has grown over the last six years. The control tower is currently under construction and expected to be fully operational during the latter part of 2017.”
Jodie Kaluza, Airport Manager, said, “This expansion is a tribute to the outstanding customer service and attention to detail our staff provides to our aircraft owners and pilots.”
Located 15-minutes from downtown Austin and adjacent to SH-130, Austin Executive Airport is a private development established by Mr. Ron Henriksen, a businessman and pilot with over 40 years in the aviation industry. Opened in June 2011, the airport caters to business and general aviation.
As part of Austin Executive Airport’s master plan, the airport boasts a variety of amenities including Henriksen Jet Center, a premier FBO terminal building with luxurious amenities, an 18,240-sq. ft. arrival canopy and a member of the Paragon Aviation Group. With a 6,025-foot runway and 113,000-square-feet of hangar space, Austin Executive Airport can accommodate the largest corporate aircraft, including Gulfstream 650’s and Global Express aircraft.
Pearland Regional Airport is offering a rare opportunity to own property at a growing, privately-owned airport! There are currently four lots available, ranging in size from 10,300 square feet to 4.8 acres. All lots have direct airfield access and can be developed for private or commercial use. For more information visit our Land for Sale page on our website or download the brochure.
If you are looking for a more economical option for aircraft storage, our community hangar has several open spaces! Sit back and relax while our staff handles all pull-out and push-back services for your aircraft. Better yet, you can check the weather and update your flight plan from the hangar lounge while enjoying an Otis Spunkmeyer cookie and cup of Starbucks coffee. Rest assured, 24-7 video monitoring keeps your plane safe and secure. Stop by the FBO for a tour today!
Pearland Regional Airport is offering a rare opportunity to own property at a growing, privately-owned airport! There are currently four lots available, ranging in size from 10,300 square feet to 4.8 acres. All lots have direct airfield access and can be developed for private or commercial use.
We’re excited to announce we’ll be adding a courtesy car to our fleet this month. It will be available to pilots flying into KLVJ for everything from a quick trip to La Casita or a business meeting in downtown Houston.
We’re always looking for ways to better serve our customers and a courtesy car is a part of the plan.
The FAA has completed repairs to the Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) and it is back in service. Weather information is again available through the AWOS system, including via the call-in AWOS phone line.
CITY WATERLINE INSTALLATION & SECURITY GATES
The City is still projecting completion date for the waterline for mid March, with a substantial amount of the work to be done by the end February.
As outlined in previous newsletters, we’re waiting for the waterline project to wrap up before turning on the new security gates. Additional information regarding gate codes and procedures will be provided in short order.
For the past 10 years I have been hearing from readers concerned about their airports. Usually it begins with a phone call from someone who is upset because “they” are trying to close the airport. Sometimes “they” have names. Other times they don’t.
The names and locations of the airports change, but often the issues are the same. And – Meigs Field not withstanding – very rarely do airports close suddenly. Usually there are a lot of warning signs that an airport is endangered.
Many advocacy groups, such as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and state aviation associations, have guidelines for protecting airports, but by the time those groups are called in, it may be too late. That means it’s up to airport tenants, pilots and aircraft owners to pick up on the signs that something is coming down the runway, so to speak, and take action.
Realize that the best defense is a good offense, because once the decision has been made to close an airport, there is very little pilots can do. However, if you know what to look for, you can take a proactive approach to protecting your field.
Here are 10 signs of trouble and some suggestions on what to do if you see them:
1. PROPOSED LAND USE OR ZONING CHANGES
If your airport has undeveloped land near it, you should be on guard for this. Most airports and the land near them are in areas zoned light industrial. If the proposal is to change it to “mixed use” or “residential,” look out. If the zoning change goes through, it’s often too late to enact a change.
WHAT TO DO: In most local communities – whether it’s a city, township or county – the law requires a sign be placed on the property advertising that its zoning is up for a change. If you see one of these signs – or a for sale sign – pay attention to it and let others in the aviation community know about it.
You also should routinely scan the public notice section of your local newspaper for announcements of zoning board hearings and ATTEND them if any of the proposals on the agenda could impact the airport. Be prepared to provide logical testimony as to why putting a multifamily housing complex beneath the downwind leg of the pattern, for example, is a bad idea.
Become familiar with AOPA’s “Airport Support Network” program, which is a watch-dog group at local airports. The ASN volunteer keeps tabs on the airport, and if there is a zoning change or development proposal, has a direct line to AOPA to call in the big guns should the situation warrant it. The folks at AOPA have been protecting airports for decades and have resources and experience that most small pilot groups do not. Your airport doesn’t have an ASN volunteer? Find one or become one.
2. RELUCTANCE TO RENEW LEASES
Airports are economic engines – most of the time. But if the airport owner or operator – often referred to as its sponsor – plans to divest itself of the property or the responsibility for the airport, that usually begins by a reduction in support for the businesses there.
Most airport businesses ask for a lease of 20 years or more. If the sponsor insists on a month-to-month lease, that is often a sign that the business is not long for the airport. The sponsor could be making way for a larger, more profitable tenant or it may be the beginning of closing down the airport.
WHAT TO DO: Demand accountability from the sponsor. Usually leases have to be discussed at public meetings. Attend the meetings and, during the public comment period, ask why the leases are not being renewed. Also, show support for the businesses on the field. Use their services when able and make sure the sponsor knows that you do.
3. NO CHAIN OF COMMAND
Few things are more frustrating than trying to get information about an issue at an airport and getting the runaround instead. It’s important to know who is responsible for what at the airport. For example, the airport may fall under the public works department of your city, but an on-site manager is responsible for day-to-day operations.
WHAT TO DO: Make contact with those in leadership positions. It’s important to establish a relationship BEFORE a crisis hits. Even if they are not the right person, if you already have a relationship, they are likely to be willing to help you contact the correct person.
4. NO ADVISORY BOARD
When a sponsor dissolves an airport advisory board, it is often the first step in closing the airport. A lack of a board means a lack of direct contact between the aviation community and the sponsor.
Sometimes a board is dissolved because there is a lack of volunteers willing to serve. Other times the sponsor deems it unnecessary or a nuisance and does away with it.
WHAT TO DO: Petition the sponsor to establish and maintain an advisory board. Volunteer to be on it and encourage other pilots to do the same.
5. NO RESTAURANT
Airport restaurants are often the focal point of the field. A community-friendly eatery attracts the aviation-challenged, as well as the pilot population. A good restaurant draws people to the airport, as well as the surrounding community. With the restaurant gone, the airport loses some of its appeal to visitors.
WHAT TO DO: Encourage the sponsor to actively seek out a restaurant as a tenant or support the restaurant that’s already on the field. This may mean re-negotiating a lease during economic challenges. Be sure to let the sponsor know how much the community values the restaurant – and tell other pilots, as well as your non-pilot friends – to not only support the restaurant, but talk it up to the powers-that-be.
6. EMPTY SPACES
Just as a empty storefront is an indication of a dying town, empty office and hangar space at an airport can indicate decay. The lack of services often keeps pilots away, exacerbating the problem.
WHAT TO DO: Encourage pilots to use the facility and make sure they let the sponsor know they are. Encourage the sponsor to work with business owners to bring them to the airport, as well as help existing businesses remain open in tough times.
7. COMMISSIONING A LAND USE STUDY
A land use study is often a sign the sponsor is considering closing an airport because these studies are often done to determine if an airport is the “best use” for the land.
The study includes an investigation of the airport’s debts and the status of grants if it has accepted state or federal funding. The idea of having to pay back millions of dollars in grants can be enough to table the idea of closing the airport, but sometimes it can stir up opponents, who call for the airport to be closed and the land redeveloped.
WHAT TO DO: Work with the consultant hired to do the study to make sure it is balanced. Attend meetings when the consultant is scheduled to give updates on the study’s progress, so you can identify problems early in the process. Once it’s complete, make sure to get a copy of the study and share it with local aviation groups and other pilots.
8. NO COMMUNITY SUPPORT
If your airport has the reputation as a playground for the rich, look out. Very often non-flying citizens resent that their taxes are being used to “subsidize” this playground and may put pressure on elected officials to close the airport. Others may think that because the airport does not have airline service or a control tower that it is “unsafe” or unnecessary.
WHAT TO DO: Hold an airport appreciation and education day. Partner with local service clubs, car clubs and the like to make it a family-friendly community event. Invite owners to bring their airplanes for display. Show the community how the airport contributes to the local economy, both directly and indirectly, as well as provides other essential services, such as Medevac flights, flights that help local businesses prosper, and more. Don’t forget to include state representatives and the media when you send out invitations to the event.
9. LOTS OF COMPLAINTS
Noise, low-flying aircraft and safety concerns DO get the attention of elected officials. If the issues are ignored, it can aggravate tensions. If enough people complain, the issues became political footballs.
WHAT TO DO: Encourage pilots to “fly friendly.” Hold educational sessions with the airport users and community. Some airports have published diagrams of noise abatement policies, which are often accompanied by a telephone number that can be called to report a complaint.
10. NON-AVIATION USES
The airport property may cover 644 acres, but 120 acres is leased to an auto wrecking yard, or a boat repair facility, or some other non-aviation business.
WHAT TO DO: While these non-aviation uses can help subsidize the airport, the leases need to be carefully worded so that the non-aviation uses do not endanger the airport’s federal grant eligibility, compromise safety or take precedence over the airport’s main mission.
(On Holiday . . . so here’s a reprint from the past)
My wife, Carol, and I sit by the comforting fire in our cabin in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
in Central Colorado remembering our flights up in our Cessna 210 years ago. We watch as a dark cloud eases over 13,000 ft Melissa Mountain carrying yet snow flurry, after a five inch mini storm only five days ago.
We have plenty of snow this year. Sangres and Rocky Mountains completely blanketed. Simply beautiful. 2 degrees at 9:00 AM! Plenty of cold to go along with that snow.
The 210 carried us up here faithfully for sixteen years. When I was working never had a lot of time to spend away from my restaurants, so flying gave us more time at the cabin; its a 14 hour trip on the road.
There is an airport 15 miles from the cabin called Harriet Alexander Airport, a non-instrument VFR only strip almost a mile long, paved, gasoline and lights with recorded airport advisories. they have courtesy cars, old police cruisers, that we would gratefully use to bring our cargo of groceries from the plane to the cabin. we had a jeep parked in our garage that Carol would drive back to the airport where we returned the cruiser.
I sold the 210, my share, when I retired and now we drive up. We now stay months at a time instead of days. In all the times we flew up, I only had a single IFR flight and that was going home to Austin.
Filed in actual instrument conditions from Sweetwater to Austin, solid IFR with 500 foot ceiling at ABIA!
One winter Mule Deer hunting season, we had a lease location in New Mexico. There were six of us hunters and two wanted to fly up with me since I was hunting only a couple of days while the rest of the group had a week to hunt. One of the men flying with me had a dad who had health issues at home and wanted a fast way back to Austin if it became necessary.
Scattered snow flurries were forecast at our destination which was an abandoned stretch of an old county road, paved but not even a wind sock! We would buzz ranch house on our way in and our hunt buddies would drive the 3 mile stretch to the strip. Hopefully,we could spot a windmill to get wind information, although we had a current wind forecast. We brought our own tie down equipment.
We spotted the strip and flew over it for a looksee, then headed to ranch house, made contact with the other hunters and headed back to the strip.
On our downwind leg, it looked just fine, but on crosswind we noticed a snow flurry at the upwind end of strip. As we turned final, the flurry was headed down the runway. We slipped in and touched down just as the snow hit the windshield.
Visibility went to ZERO! Instant runway IFR! I kept the engine at idle speed and we waited 20 minutes for the flurry to pass with patchy blue skies finally showing up.
The other hunters showed up as we finished the tie down job. It was cold and breezy and the pickup heater felt great. Next AM we started hunting early and by noon had brought in three nice bucks.
My friend received a call that his dad passed away and he wanted to leave right then for Austin, but it was near dark and he finally agreed to wait until morning. I got up early and called flight service who told me no snow showers until after noon.
We drove to the strip to discover it was covered with six inches of snow, so while we preflighted the airplane, rancher returned to bring his tractor with a blade that he used to clear snow off the strip. That all took over an hour, and it was in the 30’s and breezy.
We took off without a problem with pinon trees and a two foot snow banks on both sides of strip. We refueled at Carlsbad, NM, and arrived in Austin just after noon. I had been under some time pressure….hurry to hunt, hurry to get back to Austin. Now we enjoy the tranquility of retirement, and do not miss all the hustle and bustle, although we do reminisce about the many exciting, fun days of flying.
We pilots need an active and productive organization working on their behalf. Please go to www.txaa.org and join today.
TXAA is the voice of general aviation in Texas. Do your part. You need TXAA. And TXAA needs you!
Ken Koock is the founding president of the Texas Aviation Association.
TXAA Board Member and airport manager – Katie Jarret
Living The Dream
Katie is on holiday so here is a oldie but a goodie)
Spending a little time reflecting on life this past week, I have come to the conclusion that most of us are in the “very fortunate” category.
That is not to say that life doesn’t have its pain and hardships because it definitely does. My life, while it hasn’t always been overly easy and sometimes not at all pleasant, has largely been full of blessings. Not the least of which has been the opportunity to be involved in the aviation world.
I was born into an aviation family: My father met my mother when she signed up for the ground school class he was teaching at the local airport.
My rebellious youth took me far, far away from both aviation and my family. When I eventually drug myself back to the light side of the force, it seemed that I was once again surrounded by aviation. Many people I knew flew, not just recreationally, but professionally – including my (now) husband, and his parents.
I frequently joke that I learned to fly in self defense. After my mother passed away my father remarried and my new stepmother was, also a pilot. My brother and sister-in-law were pilots. I was surrounded by them and that was pretty much all anybody ever talked about.
When my husband came home from his tour in Iraq, we decided to move to a more rural area. Bored with unpacking at our new home one day, I went out to the local airport to see if there was a hangar to be had for our little Luscombe. I left having secured a hangar – and a job.
The hangar is great – actually I’ve changed hangars a couple of times since then. The airport is great even with all of its warts. Other than my experience as a private pilot and a tangential relationship to the airlines and military, I had no experience whatsoever running an airport.
I’d been to a lot of airports and I happened to know several airport managers and they, along with my friends at TXAA and TxDoT, ultimately proved to be invaluable assets.
Particularly because this is a privately owned public use airport and so has a different set of operational conditions than a municipal or county owned airport.
One of the first tasks, and probably the hardest for me, was setting about meeting all of the tenants. I’m not what anyone could consider to be outgoing. A bit of a handicap for someone in a “people” job. But eventually I did meet everyone, though I confess I decided to withhold judgment on a fair few of them.
I’ve now been at this job for going on 8 years. I am on my second set of owners (apparently I go along with the furniture as part of the fixtures in any sale of the airport). There have been some bad days, a few very bad days, a greater number of mediocre days. But there are far more great days than all of the others combined.
So yes, I could look for and find a lot to complain about – not enough time, not enough money (who has enough money?), a continuous stream of people who know more about my job and my airport than I, men who think I should be impressed because they are a pilot (and should get extra points if they are an airline pilot), and robo calls.
The runway lights are a constant battle, as are the drainage and the water pipes. It can be challenging to keep everybody current on their rent, and equally challenging to keep all of their hangar doors operational, along with the airport tractor.
But looking back on my time here, I think I have been very fortunate to make a lot of good friends, both in the industry and at my airport, In doing that, I have learned a great deal about managing airports – and people. I’ve kept my bills paid and I work for some very good people who have a passion for aviation. I have a great deal of latitude in my duties: I can bring my dog to work, or I can keep a cat in the office. I can even take off and go fly a little bit during working hours.
In short, I am definitely living the dream. I hope the coming year sees you doing the same!
Happy New Year!
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Lone Star Skies!
TXAA Editor Jay Carpenter
Mr. Aviation 101 to Speak at TXAA Annual Membership Meeting
Josh Flowers is a senior at Texas State University. He is also a flight instructor, videographer and aircraft owner.
I first saw flying videos Josh had made several years ago and was impressed. Without wearing his pride on his sleeves, he gives his own personal experiences in the form of video journals posted on YouTube.
After purchasing a Cessna 172, he quickly obtained his private pilots certificate, instrument rating, commercial rating and then became a certified flight instructor. Pretty impressive for such a young man.
Using GoPro cameras mounted on his own aircraft and others, he produces interesting videos about flying GA aircraft from Texas to Oshkosh.
Here is a Texas Country Reporter segment that gives an overview to “Mr. Aviation 101”
I highly recommend that you come and meet Josh at the upcoming TXAA Membership meeting on January 17, at the Catfish Parlour on E. Ben White in Austin. See the ad at the top of this issue.
Don’t even think about it.
Paula Poundstone is a popular comedian with a quick wit. She has a joke about a sign she saw in San Francisco. “I saw a sign next to a house that said, ‘DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT PARKING HERE!'”
“You know, I thought about it. And if anybody asked me I’d say, ‘I was thinking of something else'”.
The other day I thought that I’d fly up to West Texas for a quick view of my secret “El Rancho” located somewhere in the Chihuahuan Desert. A very cold mass of artic air was headed this way and I “thought” I could beat it. Surely, I could make the quick trip and remain out of harm’s way.
What was I thinking? The ground temperature was 39F. Those clouds above were reported only a thousand feet thick but how long would that last? Surely enough, more clouds at higher levels arose. Those surely would contain ice.
DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!
And don’t call me Shirley.
“After all that was said and done, more was said than done!” – Iaman Emoweredone1
Newt: My mommy always said there were no monsters, no real ones. But there are. Ripley: Yes. Yes, there are. Newt: Why do they tell kids that?
(From the movie “Aliens”)
Captain James T. Kirk: We were not spying, Commander. Romulan Commander: Your language has always been most difficult for me, Captain. Perhaps you have another word for it.
Spock: [to the Romulan commander]Military secrets are the most fleeting of all. I hope that you and I… exchanged something more permanent.
Dark Helmet: [after finding that the ‘Self Destruct Cancellation’ button has yet to be installed] Out of order? F*ck! Even in the future nothing works!
Lone Starr: Who hasn’t heard of Yogurt! Princess Vespa: Yogurt the Wise! Dot Matrix: Yogurt the All-Powerful! Barf: Yogurt the Magnificent! Yogurt: Please, please, don’t make a fuss. I’m just plain Yogurt.
“So, Lone Starr, now you see that evil will always triumph, because good is dumb.” – Dark Helmet
Fly happy. Fly safe!
If you have an interesting story about your local aviation community or airport, please write me. I love hearing from all regions of the Lone Star Texas State.
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Bill’s Safety Tip
Synthetic Vision and Enhances Flight Vision Systems
(Bill is on holiday so here is a blast from the past)
The FAA announced recently that the second topic for their Loss of Control initiative is the interesting topic of synthetic vision and EFVS. Both of these are offshoots of the glass cockpit and are becoming more common.
Synthetic vision is a computer generated 3 dimensional-like depiction of the terrain and cultural features in the pilot’s forward field of vision. It is specifically recognizable as not the same as the “real” earth for the specific reason that you understand what you are seeing. There is a lot of practical evidence that synthetic vision displayed behind a flight director can prevent disorientation and helps situational awareness in times of high workload.
It is just as important that pilots understand that this view of the world isn’t reality and does not account for variables such as aircraft on the runway you are about to depart from or land on. If you have synthetic vision, learn to use it as another tool in the cockpit.
EFVS is a much more complex idea that combines synthetic vision, high frequency radar, and infrared, in some or all combinations to present a “real-time” view outside of the cockpit on a heads up display.
Currently EFVS are costly and complex and fitted only to corporate or transport aircraft. The FAA has re-opened a study to look at approving EFVS systems substituting for the visual arrival now required in the last 100 feet of an instrument approach to minimums.
A lot of equipment, training, currency, and certification is anticipated if this become reality and yet history shows that even the most exotic technology will trickle down to GA if there is a demand, synthetic vision being a good example.
Thales, a well-respected aviation supplier just unveiled this year a head mounted simplified EFVS. It is not yet approved but that is only a matter of technology, demand, and time.
Meanwhile, just look out of the windshield and enjoy the view.
Bill Gunn is the former Director for Systems and Training for the Texas Department of Transportation, Aviation Division. He retired from TxDOT Aviation in August, 2016. Bill is an Airline Transport Pilot, Flight Instructor, Airman’s Certificate Review Authority and an FAA Safety Councilor. He has approximately 7000 flying hours in a wide variety of military and civil business, corporate, and general aviation areas. Bill is a current aircraft owner (Vans RV7) and flies regularly for work and pleasure. TXAA is proud to have Bill as an advisor to our board of directors.
Join TXAA Today!! Help promote air safety and protect our airports. No one will do it for us as it is up to pilots across Texas to become ProActive in the struggle to prevent airport closures and educate the non flying public to the economic advantages that GA brings to our communities. It’s easy to join.
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Apache Pass, named by the early Spanish Explorers, is the gravel bar crossing here on the San Gabriel River that was used for centuries by Native American Indians then by explorers, settlers, and local farmers and ranchers for many reasons. This crossing, that is still used by farmers today, was the crossing used prior to the existing iron bridge which was built in 1912. The property was purchased by the Worley family in the late 1800s and remains in the family.
Three runways, longest one is 3700′, 2800′ of which is grass
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TSTC offers courses in Aviation Maintenance and Aircraft Pilot Training Technology
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