About Us

Introduction to SCAUWG - the ORGANIZATION

Pat Carey SCAUWG Co-Founder Co-Chairman Emeritus



Pat Carey cfii atp has addressed So Cal Airspace for decades! Local pilots who fly VFR often in the Los Angeles airspace are aware of the size and complexity of the regulated airspace. Visitors to the area can easily become confused with the mix of air carrier and VFR aircraft traffic. In addition to Los Angeles Int’l airport, four additional major airports in the basin handle air carrier traffic. The configurations of the Class B, C, and D airspaces are not consistent and the altitudes vary.

A midair collision between an AeroMexico DC9 and the Piper PA028 in August 1986 induced the FAA to raise the top of the TCA (Terminal Control Area) from 7,000 ft. to 12,500 ft.; and close the VFR corridor that enabled VFR travel north/south over the LAX airport. This created a barrier between the northern and southern parts of the LA Basin -- which caused great angst among the local aviation community. Something had to be done that would address both safety and functional airspace design. Pat took on that challenge!

The Solution

As a result, local aviation community governments, airport operators, pilots and other airspace users organized as a group under the auspices of the Southern Association of Governments to work with the FAA on making the LA Basin airspace a viable resource to the community. Click here to see a .pdf of the original SCAG document authorizing the formation of SCAUWG.

This group, along with AOPA and others, worked with the FAA to reopen the "LAX Corridor", renamed Special Flight Rules Area; and lower the TCA (now called Class-B airspace) to 10,000 ft. Over the ensuing years, SCAUWG has evolved into a self-functioning and more independent organization in response to the changing needs of Southern California's airspace. Along with the growth and evolution of the Los Angeles basin over the years, there has been some small changes in the stakeholder makeup of the group; but the goal of ensuring safe, yet open access to planes of all types throughout Southern California has remained the primary focus of the group.

About the Co-Founder, Emeritus

SCAUWG Co-Founder Pat Carey continues to work with dedicated effort to affect the changes needed in the Southern California Airspace that will help to insure a safer environment for all.

Pat began flying at the Hawthorne Airport, Hawthorne, California in 1963 obtaining a Commercial Pilot certificate in 1966. He entered the US Army in 1967 and attended the Army Rotary Wing Warrant Officer Flight School. He served in Viet Nam as a helicopter gunship pilot in the First Air Cavalry Division earning the Bronze Star and 38 Air Medals. A direct commission to First Lieutenant followed, and he continued his military career serving as a Flight Instructor, Artillery Unit Commander, General’s Aide and as an aviation maintenance test pilot. Staff and command assignments included Command of Libby Army Airfield, Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

In 1987 he retired as a Fixed and Rotary wing Master Aviator and resumed his civilian aviation career at the Northrop Aircraft Company as a Corporate Pilot and Test Pilot. However that was only the start of his accomplishments.  His career biography is EXTENSIVE!  Probably no one knows more about the SoCal airspace than Pat, who gained additional years of experience flying as a corporate ATP rated jet pilot, a helicopter check pilot, a senior FAA DPE, or as top level management with a variety of A-list aviation companies.  He brings all his vast experience to SCAUWG.

Quote from Pat: "I'm the only original SCAUWG member still active with the organization. Having said that, two of our original members' sons, both airline captains, are now active in the organization. The organization started in October 1986. I was still on active duty, but had previously been the Airfield Commander of Libby Army Airfield, Ft Huachuca, AZ that had a lot of special use airspace, and someone thought I could contribute. Next month the organization will be 34 years old. From the beginning 34 years ago, I have worked on 3 Class B redesigns, 2 with Walter White, and 1 with Ron Cagel, and 3 Class C redesigns. As a group we participated in the consolidation of the TRACONS, into SCT, the development of the Transition routes over LAX, the 2010-2012 Airspace Task Force, Metroplex, and numerous airspace projects over the years. The LA TAC chart is the gold standard of TAC Chart development, and as a group we had a lot to do with that."


About the Chairman

Mike Jesch SCAUWG Chairman





Mike Jesch ATP, CFI, CGI, FE, is a B787 Captain for a major airline. I own and fly a Cessna 182 based at FUL. As a Master CFI, I instruct on GPS/WAAS operations, LA airspace familiarization, 182 and Mooney type checkouts, and proficiency flying - FRs, IPCs, and Wings activities.  Mr. Jesch is a FAASTeam Lead Representative for the Long Beach area and is very active in that role.  He regularly presents safety seminars and has produced events for Fullerton Airport area over the past many years. Currently he occupies prestigious positions in the airline industry that allow him to advocate for improved airspace procedures. Mike has assumed the role of SCAUWG Chairman on June 11, 2024.


About the Co-Chairman

John Steven Ringel Co-Chairman





John Steven Ringel, ATP serves as the co-chairman of the Southern California Airspace Users Working Group. Mr. Ringel is a Commercial Pilot with an Airline Transport Rating as well as a Certified Flight Instructor for both Single and Muti-Engine aircraft.  He is a very experienced airman. Captain for United Airlines. Aircraft owner. Longstanding Member of the Southern California Airspace Users Working Group. Very adept at research. As a FAASTeam Service Provider, he has always been happy to council pilots after events that put their licenses in jeopardy. Main focus on remedial training. Main concern: Returning piloting skills and knowledge to the safety levels once enjoyed after check rides. Mr. Ringel is very active in the Long Beach are and has a primary role in both monitoring airport noise issues and designing successful procedures to help reduce community criticism. Mr. Ringel was appointed to the role as SCAUWG Co-Chairman on June 11, 2024.


History Chart

Long time SCAUWG member Al German, a CFII then reprHeesenting AOPA in the SCAUWG, created a two-tier timeline depicting challenges and achievements of SCAUWG over the years. The time line, which begins in 1985, is related to the July and December issuance of the Los Angeles Area Terminal Chart -- which seems to most accurately reflect changes in the VFR airspace in Southern California.

The green triangles define the start and/or end of SCAUWGs involvement with respect to the event noted. Section 1 at the top depicts TACs 11 through 34. TACs 35 through 59 are depicted below in Section 2. A .pdf copy of this time-line graphic can be seen here. The graphic shows how, over the years, SCAUWG has been effective in balancing the needs the various Southern California airspace users interests.



SCAUWG.ORG is an independently owned and managed website.  Our goal is to actively reflect the mission of SCAUWG, and to be able to expand on that mission via bringing it closer to the general public and aviators everywhere.

We will focus on core SCAUWG topics, but add several extra doses of aviation flight related education, runway safety information, and aviation news as it relates to Airspace, Airports, and Aviation Charting.

At SCAUWG.ORG we actively invite pertinent input and authored content contributions.  We support our SHORT TAKES page with exactly that, and our SITE BLOG page as well.   One can send submissions to: contactus@scauwg.org


Director / Webmaster


Ron Berinstein cfii Director / Webmaster




Ron Berinstein cfii - longtime FAASTeam Lead Representative and "WINGS Pro." Ron is also a longtime affiliated SCAUWG member, having been positively influenced by Pat Carey years ago while attending a local FIRC.  Ron has authored over 100 aviation seminar compilations, and has a record of co-producing more than a hundred FAA WINGS sponsored seminars annually. Ron has been invited to present at airports that completely dot the LA Basin and in Apple Valley, Big Bear and San Diego as well.  Unfortunately, live performances have stalled until we get an all-clear sign that the pandemic health risk has been minimalized.  However, he continues to produce the monthly SCAUWG Zoom meetings, and tries to make SCAUWG.ORG a very valuable pilot's resource of the very best kind.  He places emphasis on quality content and quality artistic site design.

Together with cartographer Mike Carson, Ron has spirited the development of the flight planning application, ChartAware, which for the first time ever makes discovering the approximate boundaries of LA Area flight training areas, those published and those unpublished, possible and easy.

Ron is affiliated with CP Aviation in Santa Paula, CA as an instructor, and is a waivered pilot authorized to fly solo aerobatics in the Santa Paula Aerobatic Training Area.


Contributing Editors:


Tom Lasser


Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Thomas Edward Lasser



Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Thomas Edward Lasser retired after completing 40 years of military service.  He spent seven years on active duty with the US Army and another 33 years with the California National Guard. Thirty years of that which was fulltime status with the California Military Department. He is now consulting for his own firm, T. E. Lasser & Associates, LLC.

He earned his Army aviator wings after completing the Army Aviation Warrant Officer Aviator Flight Course. He flew UH-1 Hueys in the Republic of Vietnam and after receiving a direct commission to First Lieutenant, Tom completed another  tour in Vietnam flying Boeing CH-47 Chinooks. LTC Lasser then transferred into the California Army National Guard following his second tour of combat duty.

LTC Lasser has commanded at the company and battalion levels also serving in a variety of staff positions including Headquarters, California National
Guard in Sacramento.  His duties also included an assignment as military liaison in the Governors LA Office and service with the Governors Office of Military Base Retention and Aerospace Support. Prior to these positions he was Airfield Commander, Los Alamitos Army Airfield on the Joint Forces Training Base in Orange County. Most recently he was the Southern California legislative liaison officer for the California Guard and concurrently supported various Guard community relations activities, media events and public affairs functions before he retired.

He is currently a  Commissioner with the Los Angeles County Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. He is member of various veterans organization including life membership with the American Legion, VFW and Military Order of the Purple Heart. LTC Lasser is a vice chair of the Redondo Beach Veterans Memorial Task Force. He is President of the Southern California Association of the US Army and Vice President of the Southern California Army Aviation Association Chapter. Tom is president of the South Bay Aerospace Alliance and a member of the Radio Television News Association of S. California.

He is a master Army aviator with over 6000 flying hours including more than 1000 helicopter missions in Vietnam and almost 1800 combat flying hours. His military decorations include: the Distinguished Flying Cross(DFC),Purple Heart, Legion of Merit, Air Medal with 35 Oak Leaf clusters, Meritorious Service Medals, Bronze Star and other  commendations, service awards and campaign ribbons which reflect over forty years of military  service.  Unit awards include the Valorous Unit Award,  Army Superior Unit Award and Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry.

LTC Lassers military education includes the Infantry Officers Advance Course, Army Command and General Staff College, Aviation Safety Officers Course,
Senior Officer Logistics Management Course, National Interagency Civil-Military Institute and the Joint Service Reserve Component National Security Course. He is a graduate of San Joaquin Delta College and the University of San Francisco. He is married to the former Laura Elena Hermosillo of Stockton, CA. They have a daughter, Ami' Collette Lasser, who is in the fashion industry in Hollywood. The Lassers reside in Redondo Beach, CA.


Michael Carson


Michael Carson, Cartographer, Aviator





Michael Carson earned his private pilot certificate in September 1985 while studying Geography at CSU Long Beach.  Michael has a BA and MA in Geography with a specialization in computer cartography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).  His Master's Thesis (1990) was titled "The Geography of Controlled Airspace in the Los Angeles Basin: Effects of General Aviation" where GIS was used to analyze the location of airspace at different flight levels as well as where air accidents tend to occur between VFR and IFR traffic. Michael is currently the GIS Manager for the City of Burbank and enjoys creating GIS applications to view and analyze spatial information.  He also teaches GIS and Cartography at College of the Canyons. Mike's work for SCAUWG.ORG has been invaluable.  He assisted in the most beneficial way in the development and subsequent publishing of ChartAware, SCAUWG's original Flight Planning Application.  Michael also addressed the once inherit difficulty experienced by those who wish to discern the chart changes made on new versions of FAA issued LA Navigation charts.  His creation. ChartCompare, also available on SCAUWG.ORG, does exactly that.


Lee Unger


Lee Unger, CFII, FAASTeam Rep - WINGS PRO




V. Lee Unger lives in Tucson, Arizona; FAASTeam Representative, WINGSPro, Scottsdale Flight Standards District Office (FSDO); CFII. Special interests include Runway Safety, safe operations at non-towered airports, safety culture, human factors, mentoring youth and adults in aviation careers, safe operations of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Air Space (NAS), learning from National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports, exchanging safety information with others, and more. Thank you Southern California Airspace Users Group (SCAUWG) for your dedication to aviation safety and for sharing your knowledge and information. Your outreach to Arizona widens the Southwest U.S. aviation safety community and is greatly appreciated.  We at SCAUWG.ORG with so many examples have witnessed the tremendous acuity and breadth of knowledge that Lee brings to the aviation safety world.  We feel both privileged and enthusiastic about Lee's SCAUWG.ORG participation.


Dr. Gregory J. Hanker, M.D.


Dr. Gregory Hanker, M.D. - Orthopdeic Surgeon - FAA Senior AME




Senior Aviation Medical Examiner - AME.  This enables him to perform "flight physicals" for applicant airmen so that they may obtain their airman medical certificate. Dr. Hanker is uniquely qualified to perform this important medical evaluation for our local airmen as he is also a pilot and has been through this medical certification process multiple times.  Dr. Hanker started flying in 1968 while in college at Saint Louis University in the USAF ROTC program. After he received his private pilot certificate, and was commissioned an officer in the USAF he continued to fly while in graduate school in Arizona. In 1973 he entered active duty and received his Air Force wings after completing undergraduate pilot training in Texas flying the T-37 and the T-38 jet trainers. He was assigned to the Military Airlift Command/55th Aeromedical Airlift Squadron in West Germany flying the C-9A better known as the "Nightingale," transporting patients to medical facilities throughout the European Theater. His exposure to medical evacuations spurred his interest in medicine; and after 5 years on active duty he received an honorable discharge and transitioned to medical school in Ohio. His 2500 hours of flying experience with the military enabled him to receive his commercial pilot certificate with an instrument rating.

While attending Case Western Reserve University Medical School he continued to serve in the military flying with the Ohio USAF Reserve as a transport C-123 pilot. After medical school the Hanker family moved to California where he trained as an Orthopedic Surgery Resident at UCLA, and subsequently as a Hand Surgical Fellow at USC. In 1987 Dr. Hanker joined the Southern California Orthopedic Institute in Van Nuys where he has been in private practice for over 33 years.

Dr. Hanker never lost his enthusiasm for flying.  He has always had a special interest in aerospace medicine. As a pilot, physician, and a military veteran he fully understands the medical needs of the flying community and is committed to personally work with all airmen to successfully complete their "flight physical" and medical certification.   We are please and honored to have Dr. Hanker contribute to SCAUWG.ORG via the original AMEPilot quarterly series that he authors.