The “Pennsylvania 2”

I am sure everyone remembers the furor last spring when a plane not only strayed into the ADIZ around Washington DC area but also into the FRZ over the capitol building itself. The media had a field day over it, the PIC of the flight had his licence revoked, and pilots everywhere shook their head in amazement that anyone could be so clueless.

Well, AOPA published an interview with the two ocupants of that flight in their magazine and online (AOPA membership required) and frankly I was amazed at the tone of the article. Rather than portray the flight as careless (or clueless), they try to convince us that it was a simple chain of small mistakes. The student pilot involved does his best to say he had nothing to do with it – what kind of pilot will he make where he cares not about the actions of the PIC? He also says this has convinced him never to fly without a handheld GPS – no, it should convince you to fly using pilotage and the navigational aids certified for use in your craft. Handheld GPS’ are great, I use mine all the time, but it is a backup not an ‘essential’.

I am surprised that AOPA chose this tact, it looks too much like protecting our own rather than exposing the ugliness for all to examine and learn from. ADIZ incursions are 50 a day, air space will only get further restricted if this continues. By saying these are simple mistakes does the rest of us an injustice and only hurts future general aviation. I’d rather see more consequences and people make more of an effort to keep it legal.

In futre I suggest they use TFR Check

Speaking of Currency…

I whined a few days ago about how hard it is to keep all the different currencys so I was surprised this morning to see an email from my online logbook account saying I was no longer current to act as PIC. I thought that surely I had forgotten to make an entry but it’s true I’ve managed to let my PIC lapse. I think this is the first time since I got my Private in 2002.

But it isn’t going to last for long. Tuesday night I have a safety pilot lined up to re-establish my instrument currency. I need two landings to get back both PIC and night currency so I will do two stop and go’s before he arrives and everything will be back legal again. And this is good news because Wednesday I am taking two friends on an overnight to Laughlin.

Fight The ADIZ!

The Post 9/11 Air Defence Zone around Washington DC was supposed to be a temporary measure to protect the nation’s capitol but the FAA has recently proposed to make it permanent. Further, there are legislators trying to pass laws that would make it a serious crime to violate the ADIZ, with penalties higher than many “real” crimes! Whilst I’m not sure how realistic, there are fears that, if implemented, we’ll see much of the current Class B airspace shut down in this manner and therefore pilots need to make a stand.

To this end, I encourage you to go to AOPA’s Operation ADIZ webpage and leave the FAA a comment. Now, the TSA didn’t care about the comments when implementing the alien flight training rule so I don’t have much hope that the FAA will listen either, but it might be worth a few words.

Changes at Montgomery Field

My home airport, Montgomery Field in San Diego, was built by Bill Gibbs in 1937 and later acquired by the City of San Diego in 1948. Ever since then the Gibbs Flying Service has run the FBO services there providing tie-downs, fuel, service etc.

The Gibbs lease expires May 31st and the City has dragged its heels over giving Gibbs the opportunity to apply for renewal. This means that no new lease will be in place before June 1st and Gibbs will therefore lose its situation on the field. The City wants to make more money from the airport operation and getting Gibbs out is one way to do this; the manner of this ‘eviction’ whilst legal is certainly underhanded and unpleasant. The City says that things will continue as usual – someone will provide fuel and tiedown service, the flying clubs can remain in the office space, only the leaseholder will change. And of course Gibbs is free to bid for the lease when the City finally gets round to putting out the RFP.

I’m quite the traditionalist so am sad to see Gibbs moving out after having founded the airport and been there ever since. But on the other hand, dealing with their front desk has always been tedious. The staff do their best to ignore you, it is very hard to get their attention and when you do it always seems that your fuel order is the worst thing to happen to them all day. That’s no way to run an aviation business. So I probably won’t be sad to see Gibbs go so long as the services continue to be available.