August 2015

California Airports

Airports Are Important

CalPilots Editor’s Note: Airports are much more than parking lots for aircraft –

VAN NUYS  — The Los Angeles Fire Department is ramping up its aerial firefighting arsenal for a busy brush fire season.

On Thursday afternoon, the Fire Department received two Canadian Super Scooper firefighting airplanes that are now based at Van Nuys Airport. Super Scoopers are amphibious and fight fires by collecting water from lakes then dropping that water onto fires from above.

Aviation Interest

Heads Up – Pilot Reports Of UAS Sightings On The Rise

Pilot reports of unmanned aerial systems have topped 650 so far this year – well over the 238 reported for all of 2014, the FAA said this week. The agency said there was a big jump in sightings this summer, with 138 pilot reports in June and 137 in July. Meanwhile, there were just 52 reports for the June-July 2014 period. The sightings were at altitudes up to 10,000 feet and came from a variety of aircraft, from large air carriers to helicopters, the FAA said. On Wednesday, a medical helicopter reported having to maneuver to avoid a UAS while flying at 1,000 feet AGL. Over the summer, unmanned aircraft interfering with aerial firefighting operations prompted the FAA and the National Interagency Fire Center to issue a warning to UAS flyers to stay clear of fires, reminding them that unsafe operations could result in jail time and fines up to $25,000. The FAA, while wrangling with forming UAS safety rules in the personal and commercial sectors, has attempted to curtail problems with similar public safety announcements for airports and sports venues.

California Airports

New Catalina Air Show In The Works

Organizing an airshow is always a big job, but the folks working to put on the next Catalina Air Show, set for October 2016, face some extra challenges. The show is held on a small resort island, 26 miles off the coast of southern California, meaning any support gear that can’t be flown over has to come on the ferry. And the island’s only runway sits on a small mountain site, with steep drop-offs at both ends. To make the airshow work, the organizers have established the show box just offshore, above the harbor, well in sight of all the coastal restaurants, boaters, beachgoers and tourists. “That means our audience is not at the airport, but in the resort area at Avalon,” says Jeff Herold, who is heading up the show planning. “So we can’t charge admission to the show — we have to find other ways to make it work.”