Short Takes

Aviation Short Takes

Short Takes - Commetary

Pertinent Comments about current events


Aviation Short Takes is designed as a comment area. The opinions about important aviation matters developing today can be read here.

The articles will find a home here temporarily; and depending upon the long term relevance, the commentary may subsequently be republished on our INFO WAREHOUSE page.  Do you have relevant comments concerning Airspace Design and/or Aviation Safety that you feel others can benefit from?  For instance, do you have a recommendation for us to link to?  Please let me know!  Use and address your input to Ron Berinstein, webmaster. IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: Opinions and views expressed in the following commentary are those of the authors &/or publishers alone; and may, or may not reflect any position SCAUWG.ORG, SCAUWG, or any individual SCAUWG member might profess.


Aviation Groups Object to FAA's Pilot Drug Study

by Gordon Gilbert in AINonline - April 17, 2019

"Nine groups representing general aviation and airline pilots have expressed their “strong opposition” to a proposed FAA study aimed at assessing the use of medications and other drugs among pilots by anonymously collecting and testing their urine during physical exams. The study replies to NTSB recommendation A-14-95, initially published in 2014 but for which the FAA submitted its final response last year."

Read the Entire Article by Clicking HERE


"HEADS-UP"   GPS Military Interference Testing       Comments by Richard Eastman, CFI

"Heads-Up" ... "Heads-Up" ... "Heads-Up"

This weekend -- April 5 and 6 in particular -- is fraught with a cross-over of multiple possibilities involving GPS testing AND VIP movement!!!

Now, if you "break" into the VIP TFR, be sure to double-check the GPS testing in effect. It's possible, though doubtful given the relatively new nature of aviation GPS, that your entire GPS system will have "transported" you to a different place!!! Or, you might be able to make the claim (or not)!

1. There are two GPS Testing events on the "event" schedule this weekend ... one which will be ongoing through mid-April (the 19th)

2. There is the GPS "roll-over" on April 6 which is when is when the 10-bit binary system used in Global Positioning Systems reaches its limit -- and will reset to Week 0 (zero)! According to some news media, your car or airplane could all-of-a-sudden find itself in the middle of the Pacific ... or the Great Plains ... while you're driving down the main streets of Los Angeles in your car; OR ... in the middle of the VIP TFR planned for the 6th in the Los Angeles Basin even though you're flying in Palm Springs or Bakersfield. "They say" (whoever "they" is) such a "transition" is unlikely -- unless you have an "older" GPS system. But "older' isn't really well defined either! The specific time of the "roll-over" isn't clear ... beyond that it is supposed to happen on the 6th.

3. Per SkyVector.Com and NOTAM 6373, there is a VIP TFR scheduled to be in effect from roughly 2PM to something close to 8PM on the 5th. Unknown at the moment is whether "the VIP" will overnight in the Los Angeles Basin or not.

It's probably not unreasonable to think that the "conventional" GPS testing that is noted in #1 above is, at least on the 5th and 6th, related to the "GPS roll-over" noted in #2. For the most part, the GPS Testing at Nellis AFB takes place on the 6th and 9th ... and will impact most of the LA Basin at 4000' and below.

Fort Irwin testing is unlikely to impact general aviation as its impact over the LA Basin is at 10,000 or above. However, as you fly toward Las Vegas or Blythe, it comes down to the surface. The testing at Fort Irwin takes place on the 5th from Midnight to 11AM and on the 6th from 11:30AM TO 1:30PM. Starting on the 7th, Fort Irwin testing continues daily from Midnight to 11AM and from 11:30 to 1:30 PM.

It is actually a weekend where it's possible that you could be impacted by GPS testing and/or the roll-over -- and if they don't get you, "the VIP" 32 mile protected areas!

.pdf documents on all of these issues are appended.
// Richard

6373 Notam Details
The April 2019 Global Positioning System
GPS Week Number Rollover

Webmaster Note: You are invited to visit our GPS TESTING PAGE located Under AIRSPACE for testing dates, and some additional comments by Richard Eastman CFI.


Re: Contacting SoCal over KSMO   - letter to the Webmaster

I believe Jeff and I solved the issue, but that does not account for the ATC response. Here is the situation.

We were in the special flight rules northbound (about 9:50am PST) from KTOA. Over KSMO I called ATC on 128.75.
The controller asked "please state location and altitude only" so I said 4500 over Santa Monica VOR."
He responded "You should check your charts, contract So Cal on 134.2 or 124.6."

Unprepared for the "check your charts" comment I missed the first frequency but caught the second. In order to reduce air chatter I acknowledged the second frequency and changed. On the 124.6 frequency the controller was fine and professional.

My complaint is that I had used the box closest to SMO which said "CTCSOCAL APP ON 128.75" and received "schooling" which distracted my attention while I was navigating the busiest airspace in the world. A more professional reply would simply be "contract So Cal on 134.2 or 124.6."

After reviewing the TAC chart, LA (unlike San Francisco) has blue and magenta boxes for "contact So Cal" details. If I had heard it in my lessons it did not stick, and the chart legend does not distinguish between the colors. I now realize the blue contact boxes are for aircraft entering the bravo area and evidently the magenta boxes are maybe for those transitioning or entering the charlie area, BUT THAT is not applicable for the 134.2 box as I would have been heading away from the Charlie airspace. So if you use the color box of the airspace you are heading away from then the blue frequency was correct!

This creates a conflict in the use of the colored Contact boxes. Do you choose the box based on the color of the airspace departing or entering/transitioning. If I exit special flight rules at KSMO for KSZP would I use 128.75 (I am departing Bravo area) or 134.2 (I am not going toward Charlie for any reason). And if either is valid, why did ATC "school" me?

Having spent most my flight time in the LA area with rare excursions beyond LA or California I had not realized:
1) these contact boxes are not prolific.
2) only blue for bravo areas, but not all have them.

I may have missed in in my lessons, or just not heard it, but after today I now know the difference.


Last name withheld by request


Letter from Dennis Muilenburg (Boeing) to airlines, passengers and the aviation community

March 18, 2019
We know lives depend on the work we do, and our teams embrace that responsibility with a deep sense of commitment every day. Our purpose at Boeing is to bring family, friends and loved ones together with our commercial airplanes—safely. The tragic losses of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and Lion Air Flight 610 affect us all, uniting people and nations in shared grief for all those in mourning. Our hearts are heavy, and we continue to extend our deepest sympathies to the loved ones of the passengers and crew on board.
Safety is at the core of who we are at Boeing, and ensuring safe and reliable travel on our airplanes is an enduring value and our absolute commitment to everyone. This overarching focus on safety spans and binds together our entire global aerospace industry and communities. We’re united with our airline customers, international regulators and government authorities in our efforts to support the most recent investigation, understand the facts of what happened and help prevent future tragedies. Based on facts from the Lion Air Flight 610 accident and emerging data as it becomes available from the Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accident, we’re taking actions to fully ensure the safety of the 737 MAX. We also understand and regret the challenges for our customers and the flying public caused by the fleet’s grounding.
Work is progressing thoroughly and rapidly to learn more about the Ethiopian Airlines accident and understand the information from the airplane’s cockpit voice and flight data recorders. Our team is on-site with investigators to support the investigation and provide technical expertise. The Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau will determine when and how it’s appropriate to release additional details.
Boeing has been in the business of aviation safety for more than 100 years, and we’ll continue providing the best products, training and support to our global airline customers and pilots. This is an ongoing and relentless commitment to make safe airplanes even safer. Soon we’ll release a software update and related pilot training for the 737 MAX that will address concerns discovered in the aftermath of the Lion Air Flight 610 accident. We’ve been working in full cooperation with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Transportation and the National Transportation Safety Board on all issues relating to both the Lion Air and the Ethiopian Airlines accidents since the Lion Air accident occurred in October last year.
Our entire team is devoted to the quality and safety of the aircraft we design, produce and support. I’ve dedicated my entire career to Boeing, working shoulder to shoulder with our amazing people and customers for more than three decades, and I personally share their deep sense of commitment. Recently, I spent time with our team members at our 737 production facility in Renton, Wash., and once again saw firsthand the pride our people feel in their work and the pain we’re all experiencing in light of these tragedies. The importance of our work demands the utmost integrity and excellence—that’s what I see in our team, and we’ll never rest in pursuit of it.
Our mission is to connect people and nations, protect freedom, explore our world and the vastness of space, and inspire the next generation of aerospace dreamers and doers—and we’ll fulfill that mission only by upholding and living our values. That’s what safety means to us. Together, we’ll keep working to earn and keep the trust people have placed in Boeing.

Dennis Muilenburg
Chairman, President and CEO
The Boeing Company



I was able to fly a F-35B Demonstrator Simulator - by Anthony Wayne Salleng

Back in February, I attended the Armed Forces Communications & Electronics Association (AFCEA) WEST 2019 Expo at the San Diego Convention Center. While there, I was able to fly a F-35B Demonstrator Simulator. The following is a description I sent to a good friend of mine (a retired USMC Major General and Aviator) the day after my attendance. Read his observation HERE


Data Informs, Data Confuses by Paul Bertorelli

Paul Bertorelli comments on the Boeing 737 Max 8 info and relates reported info from Southwest Airlines. LINK to the AVweb article HERE


Boeing's crisis: AOPA safety expert weighs in by Richard McSpadden 

Original article appeared 3/21 - Editor's note: This article was updated March 22 after further analysis of NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System reports. The review of the reports and the MAX 8's MCAS reveal that the incidents in the ASRS reports were unlikely to be caused by the MCAS. Edits were also made to correct reference to the Boeing 737 MAX 8's tail. The aircraft has a stabilizer.   Read it HERE

Richard McSpadden - Executive Director of AOPA Air Safety Institute - Richard McSpadden lead’s AOPA’s ASI, committed to reducing General Aviation mishaps by providing free educational resources and supporting initiatives that improve General Aviation safety and grow the pilot population.


Aviation Needs More Women On The Flight Deck - And In All Roles - Forbes - Stephen Rice, Contributor Aerospace & Defense

The aviation industry faces a worldwide shortage of qualified pilots. Numerous agencies cite the need to hire thousands of new pilots over the next two decades.  Read the Story HERE