Short Takes

Aiation 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 SCAUWG.ORG or SCAUWG.


We're teaching stalls all wrong - An argument for more advanced training - By Ian J. Twombly

"Repeat after me: Reduce power, hold the nose back, add full flaps, maintain altitude until the stall, lower the nose, add full power, and reduce flaps in increments. Bored yet? I bet you’ve flown the power-off stall routine around 50 times. If you have any sort of pilot certificate you’ve demonstrated one on a practical test."  "...The problem is not you. You fly to the standard. The problem is us. We have spent decades teaching pilots useless stalls. Want proof?"    Read the rest of the story published by AOPA by clicking HERE


How do airports remain safe against the constant threat of cyber-attacks?     (See International Airport Review)

Airports have been supplanted by the perfect storm of cyber-security, but how can the industry make sure airports are as secure as they can be? International Airport Review’s recent webinar, in association with AlertEnterprise, provided a platform to discuss how airports must be totally secure. From the webinar five key points surfaced: The perfect storm of cyber-security; security convergence; cultural changes; insider threat and patterns of behaviour.

The perfect storm of cyber-security

Constant developments within the cyber industry have resulted in old systems becoming more vulnerable to advances, and the inability to accurately identify threats means we are just waiting for disaster to strike. New technology is being implemented quicker than it can be secured, and many systems are just an open invitation to malicious attacks. A perfect example of this is the speed at which IoT has expanded. In practice IoT will help individuals in organizations make better decisions based on real-time data. However, if the data fed is wrong or skewed in some way, the outcomes can be drastically different.

There is a magnitude of laws and regulations which are limited and inconsistent; this means that there is a gap within the framework through which exploitation can occur. Regarding airports, this means that sensitive material is available to manipulate. Moreover, there is limited interconnectivity between systems which allows for threats to go undetected for months.   READ THE STORY and FIND A LINK TO A WEBINAR ON THE SUBJECT IN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT REVIEW   -  CLICK HERE


Be Alert After Maintenance

From:  Fly Safe: Prevent Loss of Control Accidents - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the general aviation (GA) community’s national #FlySafe campaign helps educate GA pilots about how to avoid loss of control (LOC) accidents.

Do you know how to properly preflight your aircraft after maintenance? Many pilots secretly admit that they sometimes don’t quite know what they are looking for. Does that concern you? It should, since the pilot is the final authority when it comes to the aircraft’s fitness for safe flight.
As a pilot and/or aircraft owner, it is in your best interest to know and understand every component of your aircraft. You may think you have even less to worry about after your aircraft comes back from the shop. It should be in great shape, right?
Actually, aircraft just out of maintenance are more likely to have safety-of-flight issues than an aircraft in good condition flown on a daily basis. Something simple shouldn’t cause a problem, but work on multiple systems leaves the door open for more than a few complications.
For example, in-flight emergencies and accidents have occurred with incorrectly rigged flight control or trim systems. Loose bolts or a forgotten connector have led to other tragedies. It’s best to be on the safe side, know what work has been done, know what you are looking for, and perform thorough preflight checks.

Advanced Preflight Checks

Advanced Preflights go above and beyond the normal preflight checklist. Create your checklist by reviewing the maintenance history of the aircraft, and once you have that information, develop your additional items checklist. Once you have made this list, you can use it in all future preflight inspections. Find and review all aircraft records, including receipts, work orders, FAA Form 337s (Major Repair and Alteration forms) and approval for return to service tags (8130-3 Forms). Find any Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) data, including information on items no longer installed on the aircraft.

Some additional tips:

Become familiar with all controls and systems before maintenance, and create a baseline. Having this information will make it easier for you to find any “abnormal” functions after maintenance.

Coordinate with your mechanic to determine exactly what has been accomplished. Give those systems an extra look-over before flight.

Pay particular attention to the aircraft components that were replaced or repaired. If you suspect a problem, ask your mechanic to recheck the aircraft.

Be ready to abort take-off if something doesn’t feel right.

For the first flight, stay in the pattern within gliding distance to the runway.

Your safety, and the safety of those who fly with you, depends on your vigilance. Check, ask questions, and recheck. Your life may depend on it!
Be sure to document your achievement in the Wings Proficiency Program. It’s a great way to stay on top of your game and keep you flight review current.

More about LOC:
Contributing factors may include:
Poor judgment or aeronautical decision making
Failure to recognize an aerodynamic stall or spin and execute corrective action
Intentional failure to comply with regulations
Failure to maintain airspeed
Failure to follow procedure
Pilot inexperience and proficiency
Use of prohibited or over-the-counter drugs, illegal drugs, or alcohol
Did you know?

From October 2017 through September 2018, 382 people died in 226 GA accidents.
LOC was the No. 1 cause of these accidents.
LOC happens in all phases of flight. It can happen anywhere and at any time.
There is one fatal accident involving LOC every four days.

Learn more:
Check out this FAA FAASTeam Fact Sheet on Advanced Preflight After Maintenance. (PDF)
The NTSB (PDF) provides these important preflight safety tips.
AOPA has a number of helpful resources, including How to Pre-Flight an Airplane.
What’s coming for the future? Learn about the benefits NextGen is bringing.
Time is getting short! The FAA’s Equip ADS-B website gives you the information you need to equip now.
Curious about FAA regulations (Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations)? It’s a good idea to stay on top of them. You can find current FAA regulations on this website.
The website has Notices, FAAST Blasts, online courses, webinars, and more on key general aviation safety topics.
The WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program helps pilots build an educational curriculum suitable for their unique flight requirements. It is based on the premise that pilots who maintain currency and proficiency in the basics of flight will enjoy a safer and more stress-free flying experience.


AINsight: Putting Part 135 Safety Under the Microscope

by Stuart “Kipp” Lau

Chartering a business aircraft is a convenient alternative to flying on an airline. For consumers not versed in aviation, finding the safest operators can be a challenge. The expectation is that chartering a Gulfstream or Learjet should have the exact same level of safety as riding in the back of a Southwest or Delta airliner. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

After reading several recent NTSB accident reports involving chartered flights, a few glaring issues emerged.

Read the article by Clicking Here


AINsight: When Can’t I Fly?

by Robert Sancetta

"As I previously noted, U.S. FAR 61.53 outlines basic medical responsibilities that a pilot must adhere to at all times between FAA medical exams with an aviation medical examiner (AME). Pilots have both leeway and ethics in self-assessing whether they are fit-to-fly on any given day.
Are there circumstances, however, when it is certain that a pilot cannot fly? Quite clearly there are, and these provisions are outlined in Part 67 “Medical Standards and Certification.”...  Read the full Article by Clicking Here.


Need Pilot Credentials - FAST? - Lessons Learned

Article by Ron Berinstein cfii

We arrived at the emergency room entrance via the ambulance driveway and I stopped front and center just feet away from the entrance. I moved fast, out of the driver’s seat, into the hospital, seeking a wheelchair, plus some strong assistance to help mobilize my friend. The onset of paralysis required getting admitted fast.

It was a bit of a struggle; a chest and knee carry. In the chair wasn’t enough, her legs would not fit the foot supports. I needed a MacGyver solution. There was a cane stored in the back of the van; I crawled in the back door and reached a bit; I got it, rushed back around to the chair, stretched it from left to right, it was enough to lift her feet. We were on the move. During triage it was decided that it was more important for me to answer questions than to move the van.

It wasn’t until hours later that I reached for my wallet and it wasn’t in my pocket. I figured it was in the van which I had by then parked in the nearby structure hours previously. That turned out not to be true, no matter how many times I looked. The wallet was gone. Maybe in the ER room where I sat for 6 hours, or maybe it slipped out of my pocket while playing a TV star, or maybe it was left visible near the front seat while the car was unlocked outside the hospital’s door? Nope, lost and found had no wallets. Not that Allied Universal Security company appeared to care, as a very polite letter addressed to the on-site security chief requesting a video search went unanswered.

So how prepared are YOU should you lose your pilot certificates, medical, credit cards and driver license?

I was not prepared… but I will be now! Here are some findings.

The FAA Airman Certification System really works; but you will need a credit card. A problem if you don't happen to have a card stored away in an accessible safe spot or if you don’t really care to ask a friend for theirs, and also the use of their security code. Neither did I have a record of the CRV information that I could have used immediately, that is just prior to reporting the card stolen.

"Airmen Certification – Airmen Online Services" is where you need to go.
The link is:

No account with them? You will need to create one before logging in. Not difficult but, one tip: keep your password simple. Don’t get fancy and use any of these special characters: < > % : |* ; ( )
Numbers and letters - upper/lower case – and you’ll be fine.

Once you have an account, navigate to “Airmen Services Log-on.”

Enter your Email address and your password and you are on your way. Choose option: “Request Temporary Authority to Exercise Certificate Privileges”

With two dollars for every pilot certificate you need, you’ll be able to request both replacement certificates and temporary operating privileges at the same time. But plastic only accepted; no checking account numbers.

The result: an immediate email with reference to your medical certificate as well! For the actual medical certificate replacement, you will need to apply separately. Don’t expect a rapid response.

You should submit AC Form 8060-56 to:

Federal Aviation Administration
Aerospace Medical Certification Division, AAM-331
Attn: Duplicate Desk
Post Office Box 25082
Oklahoma City, OK 73125

You must include a check or money order for $2.00 made payable to FAA. If you have questions or need additional information, call (405) 954-4821 and select option 3.   It will arrive with a different doctor's signature; it must be signed by you, and like the original, you must carry it with you as it supersedes the original certificate.

So, lessons learned:

Keep a credit card accessible in a safe place. That’s the best solution. Or, should the card be stolen make sure you have a record of same including the CRV code) in the event you need to use it to obtain your temporary operating privileges prior to reporting it lost or stolen.

But should all your cards be stolen, and your driver license as well, you may also experience problems trying to cash a check. A valid passport might do the trick. In my case, mine was not valid. So, I applied for not only a duplicate Driver License, but an official state ID card as well. That, plus the credit card is now in my chosen safe place.  Arriving at the DMV 45 minutes before scheduled opening did the trick.  Bring a folding chair and your laptop. I was out of there in 30 minutes.

So, here is my new trick for eliminating troubles with the need for possible medical certificate replacement that I learned from airspace/pilot expert Pat Carey. Here is the trick: When after the physical while obtaining your medical certificate, have the AME print and sign at least three of them. It won’t cost any more, and though you keep one with an original signature with you, you can keep two additional certificates with original signatures in the safe place with your credit card and ID. Note: an original signature is required; copies are not legal.

I wasn’t happy with the bank where my checking account has resided for about 15 years without being paid interest. Because I rarely go, having elected to use ATMs and get photocopies of the items deposited, I wasn’t personally known there, and they denied me the right to cash a check. Consequently, despite a substantial account balance, using my expired driver license with my picture was not acceptable, and nor was my willingness to supply personal and account usage information. So, yes, I have already opened an account elsewhere, and I will make sure I drop in there every now and then to see Moe, the officer who helped me do it.

I think banks figure it is such a pain in the neck to really change banks, and follow through on threats to do so, and being forced to create new account links etc., that most folks will just put up with a certain amount of abuse. Not me! I found a new bank that will pay $250 if I just set up direct deposits for three months. I did.

Regarding plastic: I found you are instructed that most replacement credit cards will take 7-10 days, but it doesn’t hurt to ask if the process can be expedited via an extra fee. With two cards that worked.

So, thanks to my friend who had some cash on hand, and subsequently thanks to my employer who quickly wrote me check that was cashable at the business, I made it through. My biggest problem now: find a wallet as nice as the wallet I had that replaced the wallet I’m using. I walked for over an hour and visited three different department stores to no avail. I guess one better add an extra likeable wallet to that safe storage place as well! Oh yes, having a data list for all those other items one carries in your wallet is helpful too, and maybe some extra cash as well!

p.s.  Btw, your wallet may not be the best place to keep that "emergency" key for your home's front door, airplane or car.

- Ron Berinstein cfii, director SCAUWG,ORG website - FAASTeam VNY                                                                                                                                                (updated 7/08/2019)


Why ask Why?

Article by Mike Jesch ATP MCFI

It’s often said the most underutilized words in the pilot/controller lexicon are “Unable” and “Say Again”. Sometimes, it’s critically important to get your point across; clear up a misunderstanding, get clarification in the most expeditious way possible, and at other times, the issue is a bit more subtle, but just as important.

Recently, a story came to me of a classic case of miscommunication." Fortunately, the outcome wasn’t bad, but it could have been. It’s an interesting event, and perhaps will illustrate the importance of asking questions.

The pilot was departing from one airport and destined for another some 50 miles away, and across about three separate ATC sectors. The weather was good VMC, but he wanted to fly IFR just for the practice. In our area, it’s possible to obtain a “canned” clearance – called a Tower Enroute Control – without filing an IFR flight plan and going through all those hoops. In any event, our pilot did exactly this and was soon on his way, cleared via the expected route and 6000 feet (which was higher than the normal 4000 published for the route). As he was climbing through 4700, the pilot was instructed to maintain 4500MSL for traffic, which he acknowledged and did, and got some additional vectors.

Soon, he was transferred to the next ATC sector, and then another one, and dutifully checked in each time level at 4500. One of the controllers instructed the pilot to “resume own navigation” (normally, an IFR pilot should expect a heading to intercept an airway or to a fix before resuming). The final controller eventually told him “Practice approach approved, no separation services provided.” The pilot responded with, “I guess I’ll cancel IFR then.” I can only imagine what went through the controller’s mind when he heard that!
I think this event illustrates a couple human factors mistakes, and offers a chance to review some best practices that we all might consider bringing into our technique. I believe any mistakes made were honest omissions, and no violations of procedures or regulations appear to have occurred.

First, the controller issued a bit of an unusual altitude to the pilot, which was modified to an even more unusual altitude. While it’s not normal to be assigned a strange altitude above the MEA like that, neither is it out of the question. In this case, conflicting traffic necessitated the change, and the controller probably intended to instruct the pilot to descend and maintain 4000 once he was clear of the conflict. On the pilot’s part, he received a clear reason for the different altitude, and it made perfect sense. I don’t know whether the traffic was pointed out to the pilot, or whether he ever had visual contact with that traffic. And, it doesn’t really matter.

Next, control was moved to the next ATC sector, where the pilot checked in “Level at 4500”. The previous two airplanes in the same area were both at 4500 and under VFR, so the presence of a third probably didn’t seem unusual, and no questions were asked. He might have had a little Confirmation Bias here, expecting that any aircraft at 4500 clearly had to be VFR. I have no idea what was said during the handoff procedure between sectors, or if there is an indication on their screen as to the rules under which the pilot is operating.
Eventually, control was issued to the final controller, and the approach request was made. I know from experience that if the request is made to that second controller, word often doesn’t get passed to the final, and it often seems like a surprise.

So, what lessons can we learn? What can we do to reduce confusion like this and help our teammates out on the other end of the radio? Perhaps an earlier communication with ATC, at almost any point on this flight, raising the question. Something along the lines of, “Hey, ATC, I was cleared to 4500 for traffic; do you still need that?” Or, “When can I expect to go back to 4000?” Or maybe reminding each sector that you’re “IFR, level at 4500.”

Remember that we’re all human. Our Air Traffic Controllers are excellent; they take immense pride in accurately and safely providing the services they provide us, and they do so without problems so much of the time that it may be hard to remember that mistakes will occur. They’re not perfect. But, it’s our kiesters strapped to that aerospace vehicle. If at any time, something seems unusual, or you don’t know why something is happening, don’t be afraid to ask the question. Don’t let any confusion remain in the operation, even if it’s not on your part, but you think the controller might be confused. Poke the controller for clarification or resolution. It’s possible that he or she might have just forgotten that he’d asked you to do something weird.

Finally, please take any opportunity to visit with controllers. Whether it’s visiting the tower at your local field, or a pilot group-sponsored tour of a TRACON or ARTCC facility, or even finding the Pink Shirts at Oshkosh, I cannot recommend highly enough that you avail yourself of any and every opportunity to meet these people and see how they do what they do. Write down your questions and bring them and ask them; they truly enjoy meeting the people they serve and answering them. As it happens, in this case, the pilot happened to be scheduled to tour the very facility in question just two days after the event. It was a tremendous opportunity for them to meet and explore the nuances of this tricky situation in person.

Fly Safe! Have Fun! Fly More!

-Mike Jesch ATP, Master CFI - 2018 LGB District FAASTeam Rep Of The Year


The Transformation of Certification
Adopting Consensus Standards for Light-Sport Aircraft

Article by Jennifer Caron, FAA Safety Briefing

"Catherine Ashton’s quote 'I look for the consensus because the consensus drives the policy into new places.' speaks directly to the spirit of the time — 2002 — when the FAA made the decision to use industry-developed consensus standards for the design, manufacture, airworthiness certification, and maintenance of a new, and emerging category of light-sport aircraft.
Back then, manufacturers of single-seat, lightweight ultralight vehicles were creating larger, heavier, and faster two-seater ultralights at a rapid pace. With two seats and affordable, innovative designs, these heavy ultralights were all the rage, and consumers were clamoring to buy and fly these exciting creations that required neither aircraft nor pilot certifications.

But these new ultralights were caught between two worlds;..."   Learn about the history of consensus standards and the way today's world has been influenced by READING MORE HERE


The Desanctification of AoA

Opinion by Paul Bertorelli - as it appears in AVweb

"About five years ago, there appeared on the market a handful of angle-of-attack indicator products. I’m not sure why the timing unfolded as it did, but I think it might have been a confluence of several events. One, the technology became cheaper and easier to deliver to market, including displays, envelope protection was becoming a thing, the FAA relaxed the approval process and we were starting to talk about stalls as a persistent accident cause. Wait, what the hell am I saying? When have we not talked about stalls as a persistent accident cause? Wilbur and Orville even had a name for the spin that follows: well drilling."

CLICK HERE to read the AVweb Story


UAS-specific Weather Data Lacking

Opinion by Mark Huber

"The current weather tools and weather training for the UAS industry are woefully inadequate. That’s the assessment of Don Berchoff, a former U.S. Air Force meteorologist and the CEO of TruWeather. “Our Part 107 [UAS pilot] certification training has a weather section in it that is totally irrelevant,” Berchoff said. “We have a mismatch right now in standards and requirements,” he said, adding that current standards may allow UAS operators to “check the box” for regulatory compliance but fall short of operational needs."

CLICK HERE to read the AIN Story


AINsight: More Women Finding a Place in Aviation

Opinion by Rolland Vincent

"One stereotype that seems to have the half-life of uranium-238 is that men and women perform best in certain jobs. For example, some believe that men are more suited to technical and mechanical fields, where strength and stamina provide comparative advantages. Others believe that women are better suited to nurturing and educational roles in society, where interpersonal skills and empathy are essential enablers of success. While there may be some elements of logic to each of these stereotypes, are they true? What exactly might that even mean, and why is it important for business aviation?"

CLICK HERE to read the AINsight STORY


Those Lyin' Eyes (Part 2)

"Expectation bias (EB), our tendency to believe our “lyin’ eyes” telling us what we want to be true and not what is actually true, can be a killer in an airplane. Last month we discussed EB in detail and cited some examples of just how dangerous it can be. Let’s look at each of these flights we talked about and see how the crews allowed their expectations to affect their decision process. There are important skills to learn from these examples and carry with you on every flight that will help you to recognize your own expectation bias and not fall prey to its powerful charms." From Kenneth Stahl, MD, FACS written in AOPA 5/01/19 Read The Article Here.


From the FAASTeam: CFI & DPE Runway Safety Tips

Notice Number: NOTC8443
As a CFI or DPE, you are in a position to make a profound impact in reducing runway incursions. Did you know that from October 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019, there has been an average of two (2) runway incursions per day because of general aviation pilot deviations? These incursions carry a risk of tremendous loss of life and property, and therefore demand your focus and expertise.

Runway Incursion Avoidance standards are the same for Private, Commercial, and ATP pilots (reference applicable ACS or PTS). During training and testing, are you ensuring your students and applicants demonstrate knowledge of and skill in Runway Incursion Avoidance? Check out the pertinent sections in these publications:

FAA-H-8083-25 Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
AC 91-73 Parts 91 and 135 Single Pilot, Flight School Procedures During Taxi Operations
AC 61-98 Currency Requirements and Guidance for the Flight Review and Instrument Proficiency Check

Several additional resources can be found at: ß Be on the lookout, new scenarios coming soon!

Fly safe!


...wanted to share with everyone the story from the Reason Foundation’s Aviation Policy News by Bob Poole - Remote Towers Reaching New Levels 

The cover story of the current issue of Air Traffic Management is “The Digital Tower.” Inside the issue is a 20-page feature that provides both a global overview and profiles of specific programs and accomplishments.

Since my last report on remote towers, in the January issue, a number of air navigation service providers have announced their country’s first digital/remote/virtual (the terms are synonymous) tower projects. These include:

  • Australia, with a trial operation for the Royal Australian Air Force, developed and managed by Indra Australia and Kongsberg Defense and Aerospace;
  • Brazil, where Frequentis is implementing the country’s first digital tower at Santa Cruz Air Force Base in Rio de Janeiro;
  • Canada, where Nav Canada and Searidge are considering remote towers to replace aging conventional towers, such as at Red Deer, Alberta;
  • Iceland, where ANSP Isavia and Frequentis are researching an extreme-weather remote tower; and,
  • New Zealand, where Frequentis is installing a virtual tower with Airways NZ, at Invercargill Airport at the southern end of South Isla

The growing experience with actual remote/virtual towers is rebutting a number of misconceptions about the potential of this new approach to managing local airspace. For example, only a year or two ago there were doubts that aviation safety regulators would approve the control of multiple airports from a single remote tower center (RTC). The most ambitious such project to date is Norwegian ANSP Avinor’s in-operation RTC in Bodo. Now under way is the roll-out of control from Bodo to 15 small airports between now and the end of 2021, with a possible future expansion to a total of 36.

Based on some very early tests, there were also concerns about the difficulty of obtaining a very high data rate to permit nearly real-time control of an airport from the RTC. But bandwidth keeps getting cheaper. Now certified and in operation, DFS’s RTC in Leipzig is controlling traffic at Saarbrücken, 280 miles away. Two additional airports will be added to that RTC’s responsibilities over the next two years.

The idea that a RTC could deliver better performance than a conventional tower had skeptics several years ago, but they are mostly being convinced by the ability of infrared cameras to see aircraft through fog and rain and to provide much better “out-the-window” views at night than controllers’ eyes can provide. Moreover, their cameras (visual and infrared) can monitor runways that cannot be seen from an existing physical tower, which will likely permit Heathrow to avoid building a new tower when its third runway is actually added. (Too bad this technology was not available for two-tower DFW or three-tower O’Hare.)

Conventional wisdom a few years ago maintained that while a remote tower may be fine for small, low-traffic airports, it could not handle a large hub. That is not the view of Katrin Scheidgen of DFS Aviation Services. She told Air Traffic Management’s David Hughes that, “Technically, it is less challenging to provide control through remote technology at a large hub airport. Hubs usually have better surveillance and a more homogeneous traffic mix of mostly IFR movements, which a remote tower system can handle more easily.” London Heathrow already has a contingency remote tower capability, and one is under development for Singapore Changi. And for medium hub Budapest, HungaroControl’s remote tower is now fully capable of handling all the airport’s traffic, but for the time being, the ANSP is using it for training and as a contingency facility—though it may well replace the physical tower in the future.

We are also starting to get a handle on cost savings. U.S. control tower developer Bill Payne told David Hughes that just building the road to reach the site of a physical tower can cost as much as the structure since it must handle heavy airport fire and rescue trucks. The tower must also have an elevator and water, sewer, and power lines—none of which is needed for an at-ground facility added to an existing airport building. Dieter Eier of Frequentis USA estimates that airports needing a new or replacement tower should be able to save 50 percent by using a remote tower instead.

The sad part of this story is that America’s ANSP—the FAA Air Traffic Organization—is still not engaged with remote towers. To be sure, there are two pilot projects under way with the agency’s blessing and monitoring (in Leesburg, VA, and Loveland, CO)—but no funding. Last year’s FAA reauthorization bill nominally created an FAA remote towers program, but Congress has still not appropriated any funding for it. The Defense Department, by contrast, has an RT program under way, with fixed sites at Homestead Air Force Reserve Base and Jacksonville Naval Air Station, both in Florida, plus two deployable RTs for use in the field.

Corporatized ANSPs are leading the way in this paradigm shift, with a number of them forming joint ventures with RT companies to market this new approach in other countries. NATS and Nav Canada jointly own RT developer Searidge. The ANSP of Sweden, LFV, has formed a joint venture with Saab to develop and market RTs. Germany’s DFS and Frequentis have launched DFS Aerosense for the same purpose, as has Norway’s Avinor launching Ninox with Kongsburg and Indra Navia. But as a government department, the FAA’s ATO cannot invest in a business venture of any sort.

Email sent to us by:  Spencer Dickerson
Senior EVP Global Operations
601 Madison Street, Fourth Floor
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone 703/824-0500, ext. 130

-reprinted here with permission


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