Kenneth Kelly, FAA Safety Team Program Manager, was the featured speaker at the Ramp Inspection Program, held May 13, 2014, in conjunction with the Reno-Stead Airport Association’s May Board Meeting, at the new Stead Terminal Building.
The recent warrantless stops and searches of general aviation flights have drawn the attention of mainstream media. On April 15, the Los Angeles Times published an article citing the high
number of stops and searches involving law-abiding general aviation pilots.
“We’re glad to see this issue coming to light beyond the general aviation community,” said AOPA President Mark Baker, who was quoted in the Los Angeles Times article. “While general aviation pilots are being targeted now, there’s a bigger issue here — the respect for constitutional rights. Everyone suffers when an agency tasked with enforcing the law repeatedly oversteps its bounds.”
One pilot who was interviewed for the article told the Times he was mystified when he was stopped and his aircraft searched after a flight from Southern California to Detroit. The officers brought a drug-sniffing dog and told the pilot, who is a retired police officer himself, that he was stopped because his long flight was suspicious.
Similar incidents have been reported nationwide. The reasons for the stops by Customs and Border Protection have included frequent landings at airports, travel to remote airports, travel to states where marijuana sales are legal and even flying east from California. In addition, AOPA has recently received numerous reports of individuals claiming to be law enforcement officers calling FBOs and asking them to report on arriving flights, specifying that the pilot should not be made aware of the scrutiny.
While CBP has provided Congress with some information about the incidents, that information has been incomplete and inconsistent. AOPA continues to seek answers, pursue face-to-face meetings with CBP leadership, and work with Congress and other government agencies to put an end to these stops.
Pilots are expected to conduct flights safely and remain in compliance with the Federal Aviation Regulations. The FAA conducts “ramp checks” to ensure pilots maintain these expectations. Though generally straightforward, some ramp checks end up with enforcement actions against the pilot. This subject report provides guidance and suggestions on how to properly handle an FAA ramp check.
A typical check involves the inspection of the pilot’s airman and medical certificates and aircraft paperwork, along with an exterior inspection of an aircraft. The inspector may use a “Job Aid” during the
inspection; this aid helps demystify the expectations. A cooperative and diplomatic attitude will usually result in a positive ramp inspection.
An FAA ramp check may occur when an inspector:
• Observes an unsafe operation in the traffic pattern or on the ramp.
• Is notified by ATC of an unsafe operation.
• Conducts normal surveillance.
The typical ramp inspection for most noncommercial operations is during normal surveillance. The aviation safety inspector will usually present identification before conducting a ramp inspection. If you suspect you are subject of a ramp inspection and the individual does not present identification, you may ask for it, and the inspector is required to present it.
The check basically involves a review of the airman and the aircraft. The findings from both are usually noted on the FAR Part 91 Ramp Inspection Job Aid.
The inspector is not authorized to detain you if it means missing a flight or making an engagement. They may only keep you long enough to check the required paperwork.
If requested, the pilot is required to present his or her pilot and medical certificates.
Pilots are advised to keep their logbooks at home. Don’t be alarmed if the inspector begins noting this information on his Job Aid. Presenting the documentation is required but not physically releasing the documents.
The pilot certificate is inspected to ensure the airman has the proper certificate and ratings for operations conducted, such as instrument operations requiring an instrument rating on the pilot’s certificate. The medical is checked for proper class; conducting commercial operations requires at least a second class medical. If applicable, the logbook will be checked for records of currency (e.g., flight review, instrument currency, and landings and takeoffs for passengers).
The inspector is not authorized to board your aircraft without the knowledge or consent of the crew. They may inspect the exterior and look through windows.
The inspector is authorized to inspect:
• The airworthiness certificate.
• The aircraft registration.
• The operating handbook.
• The weight and balance information.
• The minimum equipment list (if applicable).
• Aeronautical charts (if applicable).
• The general airworthiness of the aircraft.
• The ELT battery.
• A VOR check.
• The seats/safety belts.
AOPA suggests cooperating with the inspectors, and the following may help reduce the time and scope of the inspection:
• Be courteous and cooperative.
• Be busy; FAA inspectors are not authorized to delay you for any great length of time.
• Do not volunteer more information than is absolutely required.
• Keep in an easily referenced location at least the following information:
• Your medical and pilot certificate.
• Logbook (only for student pilots).
• Airworthiness certificate (displayed at the cabin or cockpit entrance)-
• Aircraft registration.
• Approved flight manual or pilot operating handbook (POH).
• Weight and balance data.
• Current charts appropriate for flight (VFR and IFR).
Excerpted from aopa.org, April 15, 2014, contributed by Elizabeth A. Tennyson, and Pilot Resources, PIC Archive.
Travel Around the World
The Julian News
June 4, 2014
The Julian (California) Branch Library kicked off its summer reading program for adults with a program by Robert F. Gannon, from Henderson, Nevada, on Saturday, June 7, 2014. Gannon took attendees on a fabulous journey around the world.
Some might think, what would possess a person to take flight lessons, purchase a small plane and then decide to fly around the world. Gannon said, “I’m a curious guy. I like experiences. You walk away with an interesting story, or a little knowledge, or a little wisdom”.
Gannon took off from El Cajon’s Gillespie Field in 1992 after three months of flying instruction, and four months later crashed his plane, Lucky Lady, in Kenya, Africa,totaling her but walking away.
In 2000, he again departed from San Diego, this time in Lucky Lady Too, and for the next ten years circumnavigated the globe twice, once in each direction. He has flown to Antarctica, over the North Pole, into Iraq, Iran and Israel. He has landed in 1,200 places in 155 countries on all seven continents. He became an “Earthrounder”. Twice.
Gannon was not on a great race to complete this feat. “My attitude was, I wanted to see the world and this was my only chance of getting round it,” he said. He did not complete this project with haste. He wanted to see the places he had landed and take in the culture and the surroundings.
“Whether it’s geography or animals or people or customs, I feel like I get to know it before I go on to the next country.” He said. “I don’t fly in a straight line.”
Coulson Group relocated fire tanker to Reno Airport
By Rob Sabo
Northern Nevada Business Weekly
April 28, 2014
Possible expansion of its U.S. fleet of firefighting aircraft led Coulson Group of Companies to move its operations to the newly-opened Atlantic Aviation hangar at Reno-Tahoe International Airport (KRNO), Coulson Chief Operating Officer Jim Meeser said.
Coulson Group, a Canadian firm, currently has just one tanker in the U.S., a C-130 Hercules that can hold up to 3,500 gallons of water or fire retardant. But the company is working with the U.S. Forest Service, Coast Guard and Air Force to procure additional C-130 aircraft, Meeser said. Seven surplus craft are slated to be turned into privately-owned tankers.
Coulson re-located its tanker from Sacramento to Reno on April 15, 2014. The decision to move the aircraft from northern California to Nevada was made in just a few weeks’ time, Meeser said. Coulson Group has been contracted by the Forest Service and has five-year options that could allow for significant growth in the United States.
“That contact gives us the opportunity, at the government’s request, to grow our fleet, and we are very, very anxious to do that,” Meeser said. “That is a key part of why we entertained moving our base to a very hospitable business environment.”
Support for the aircraft is expected to employ between 10 and 20 local people.
“We are happy to be at Atlantic Aviation, and we think there is much more business to be had here,”Meeser said. “We are looking forward to working out of here.”
Fire Inspection Deadline
Fire inspections can be scheduled immediately. Stead Airport management wants to make sure that these get done in a timely manner and to have all hangars inspected by the end of July. Inspections can be scheduled through July 31, 2014. Please contact the Airport Manager’s Office at 775-328-6570, to schedule your inspection(s).
A safe airport is a happy airport!
General Fred Michel Scholarships Awarded
Reno Air Racing Foundation’s Pathways to Aviation program has awarded scholarships for 2014.
Members of the Foundation’s Grants & Scholarships Committee met to review student applications and select recipients of this year’s Fred Michel Careers in Aviation Scholarship. The Foundation Board voted to add $4,000 to this year’s expected allocation. In the end, the Foundation awarded a total of $8,500 to the following students:
Nicholas Audenreid – currently attending the University of Nevada
Nancianne Downing – graduating from Galena High School; “first choice” for college is the United States Naval Academy
Ariana Henry – currently attending Baylor University
Jacob Lewis – currently attending the University of North Dakota
Hughston Norton – currently attending the University of Alaska-Anchorage
Bjorn Vasenden – graduating from McQueen High School; “first choice” for college is Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Offering upwards of $8,500 in scholarships is great. However, to really make a difference in a young person’s educational career, increasing the support – per awardee and overall – should be the quest. Raising the bar to a minimum $25,000 will not only increase our scholarship presence, it will be a tremendous leap forward from the Foundation which scholarship champions, like Tom Hall and others, have established.
The “Brigadier General Fred L. Michel Aviation Scholarship” was established in the Fall of 2007 by the Stead Airport Users’ Association and the Reno Air Race Foundation’s Pathways to Aviation Program, to honor Brigadier General Fred L. Michel and to assist Nevada youth in the pursuit of aviation careers.
Minden soaring team makes record long-distance flight
May 7, 2014
Minden soaring pilot Gordon Boettger and co-pilot, San Diego resident Hugh Bennett, made a record-setting 877-mile flight from Carson Valley to northeastern Wyoming in May.
The flight’s target was Rapid City, S.D., located more than 850 miles from Minden, and while the pair didn’t quite make it to South Dakota, their flight ended up being 29 miles longer with 877 miles.
They took off from Minden Tahoe Airport (KMEV) at 5:37 a.m. and by Sunday afternoon had made it to Western Wyoming.
Because the Duo Discus they were flying in is unpowered, Boettger guided it across the country by hopping from one updraft to another, gaining altitude so they could reach the next updraft.
“We got another distance record,” Boettger said. “We beat our old record of 701 miles by flying 877 miles from Minden to Hulett, Wyoming, which is only about seven miles from Devil’s Tower.”
The flight lasted 13 hours, 13 minutes, and reached a top altitude of 29,000 feet.
Meteorologist Walt Rogers tracked the flight across the country as Boettger and Bennett found spots where they could gain altitude while keeping observers updated on Twitter.
Boettger, a Navy veteran who flew aircraft off carriers, has been flying gliders for much of his life. He is a cargo aircraft pilot when he’s not setting soaring records. Bennett is a San Diego resident and owner of the Duo Discus.
Minden-Tahoe Airport tenant Schroeder receives safety award
February 2, 2014
Minden-Tahoe Airport tenant Bill Schroeder received an award for his ongoing efforts to improve safety for general aviation.
Schroeder is a designated pilot examiner and lead Federal Aviation Administration Safety Team representative for the Reno Flight Service District Office.
He specializes in mountain flight training and is the check-pilot for the Reno Civil Air Patrol. He has put together and presented an extensive day-long safety seminar at several Nevada and California airports where he provided attendees with specific instruction on operations at airports experiencing high accident rates in mountain terrain. In addition, he has coordinated with AOPA on a program to increase the use of FAA Flight Plans by pilots flying in remote areas.
“We are very fortunate to have Bill as a tenant at our airport and are pleased that he has received this award for the second time in three years,” said Minden-Tahoe Airport Manager Bobbi Thompson.
Building a Stronger Pilot Community in Tahoe
The Tahoe Flying Club (TFC) is strong and growing at the Truckee Tahoe Airport. Members represent the full spectrum of the flying community, from low-time to thousands of hours, and at least one CFI and one mechanic. TFC aims to offer fellowship, ongoing pilot education opportunities, access to affordable aircraft and an opportunity to build a stronger pilot community in the Lake Tahoe Region.
If you’ve thought about purchasing an aircraft but the numbers didn’t make sense, TFC may be an ideal option for you. The club offers an efficient way to use expensive assets, like aircraft. The average active general aviation pilot flies only 70 hours per year, less than one percent of the 8,760 hours an aircraft is available. Even with a ratio of 12 pilots to every aircraft, the aircraft will still fly less than
10% of the time.
TFC is actively working to acquire its first aircraft to make available to members. They have narrowed the search to 180HP+ Single Engine Land with Fixed Gear (Cessna 182 is ideal) and have begun to scour the market for candidates. If you’re interested in learning more about membership, please visit their website at TahoeFlyingClub.org, or find them on Facebook.
Tahoe Flying Club, Inc. was incorporated in September 2013 as a California mutual benefit corporation and is currently applying for nonprofit status as a 501(c)(7) Social Club.
Goals and Purposes:
• Increase Access To Aviation
• Decrease The Cost of Flying
• Create A Strong Pilot Community
The Tahoe Flying Club does not discriminate on the basis of race, color or religion. The TFC is bound together by a common objective directed toward pleasure, recreation and similar nonprofit purposes.
Jetliner Flies in Hail, Lands with Cracked Windshield
May 23. 2014
A US Airways jetliner that flew through a hailstorm on its descent into Philadelphia recently landed with a cracked Windshield, the airline said.
Only one layer of the multi-layered windshield was cracked and Flight 768 en route from Orlando landed safely, the airline said. No one was injured.
The flight landed as hail – some reportedly the size of tennis balls – was falling across parts of eastern Pennsylvania, cracking car windshields, breaking windows and damaging siding.
The airline said the windshield damage was probably caused by the hail but an investigation is incomplete. The Airbus 320 is out of service while being inspected for other possible hail damage.
US Airways spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said the pilot declared an emergency as a precaution to assure “expeditious routing” into Philadelphia International Airport (KPHL).
Pilots Often Fly to Wrong Airports, Records Show
Reno Gazette-Journal February 11, 2014
On at least 150 flights, U.S. commercial air carriers have either landed at the wrong airport or started to land and realized their mistake in time, according to an Associated Press search of government databases and media reports since the early 1990s.
In nearly all these incidents, the pilots were cleared by controllers to guide the plane based on what they could see rather than relying on automation. Many incidents occur at night, with pilots reporting they were attracted by the runway lights of the first airport they saw during descent.
Some pilots said they disregarded navigation equipment that showed their planes slightly off course because that didn’t match the visual clues of seeing a runway ahead.
From the Reno Gazette-Journal, Letters to the Editor, June 24, 2014, Mike Billow of Reno, Nevada writes –
In regard to the USA Today article “Unfit for Flight: Key Findings” (June 18, 2014):
Using the stated number of five decades in the middle of the article smacks of yellow journalism!
By the time the non-flier panics after reading that 44,407 have been killed in private plane or helicopter crashes, they will most likely not want to get out of bed in the morning.
Let’s put this perspective, according to the National Health Institute, and learn what is really killing people (2012 annual rates times a decade):
Total Number of deaths: 24,684,350
Death rate: 7,995 deaths per 100,000 population
Life expectancy: 78.7 years
Number of deaths for leading causes of death:
➢ Diabetes: 6,919,376
➢ Alzheimer’s disease: 834,980
➢ Heart disease: 5,978,960
➢ Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis: 504,760
➢ Cancer: 5,747,530
➢ Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 1,308,080
➢ Influenza and pneumonia: 500,970
➢ Intentional self-harm (suicide): 383,640
➢ Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 1,297,464
➢ Aircraft Accidents: 44,407
➢ Accidents (unintentional injuries): 1,164,183
I’d rather go flying any day!
David Brian Casey
David Brian Casey, a Nevada Air Guard Col. (Retired) and American Airlines pilot departed to his last duty station on January 14, 2014.
Casey was born in Seattle, Washington in 1950. He earned his BA from Loyola University in 1972, and his MBA while he was stationed abroad.
He joined the U. S. Air Force in 1972. Casey was active in the Nevada Air National Guard for 30 years, flying F-4 Phantoms and C-130 cargo planes. Casey flew in Desert Storm Gulf War in 1991, flying 26 combat missions. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals for his service. Casey also served as a test pilot for Learfan Jets in Sparks, Nevada in 1981-82.
After retirement from the Nevada Air Guard, Dave lived in Avila Beach, Georgia and in the San Juan Islands.
Casey leaves behind four children, Mike Casey, Colleen Sullivan, Tim Casey, Ryan Casey, their mother, Kit Casey, and two grandchildren, all of whom reside in California.