Arizona Aviation Journal

Lux Air Breaks Ground on $9.7 Million Project at Phoenix-Goodyear Airport

GYR-LuxAir_7631editLux Air Jet Centers, the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport Fixed Base Operator (FBO) since 2007, was joined by Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord, City of Phoenix Aviation Department officials and Washington Federal on Friday, July 10 to break ground on its planned Corporate Hangar and FBO Facility at the Phoenix-Goodyear Airport.

The nearly $10 million project, slated to be completed in Spring 2016, will include:

  • Three hangars – 12,500 square feet each
  • Lux Air Jet Fixed Base Operator Facility – 10,000 square feet
  • Office space – 18,000 square feet

“This development will further establish the airport’s corporate image, enhancing our recruitment of high-quality businesses that need local access to an airport,” said Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord.

The facility will be able to hold 12 to 15 aircraft at a time, depending on the various plane sizes. In addition, Lux Air Jet Centers has plans for an in-house restaurant in the space.

Adolfson & Peterson Construction will be handling the project.


FAA Approves First Complete Image Acquisition Drone Operation in Phoenix

HighGround Images, LLC announced today they have received notice that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has granted HighGround's Section 333 exemption request. This exemption allows HighGround to commercially use unmanned aerial systems (UASs or UAVs), commonly known as drones, for a wide range of image acquisitions from motion picture and real estate filming to mapping and search & rescue.

Whitney Johnson, owner of HighGround Images, stated, "I think we are the first in Phoenix to receive the FAA exemption. We're very excited we can offer this service here." Mr. Johnson further explained what the FAA's grant of exemption means in concrete terms, saying, "There has been an understandable reluctance from some organizations to use unsanctioned drone operators. Now that HighGround has the exemption and drone liability insurance, we hope to offer our services to an expanding market."

Pilots at HighGround have accumulated 100s of hours of flight time with drone systems, ultra-lights, general aviation, and commercial aviation aircraft. Additionally, HighGround's owner, Whitney Johnson, has experience in the film and commercial photography industry. He is a certified video editor and technical coordinator with Apple software and hardware. Previously, Mr. Johnson certified with Skycatch as a Workmode aerial mapping technician.

For more information, visit HighGround Images website

HighGround Images, Apple, Skycatch, and Workmode are registered trademarks of their respective owners.


McDonough Earns Master CFI-Aerobatic Accreditation

MCFI-A Marty McDonough, AZ (Jul15) (1)

Francis M "Marty" McDonough, a 1st-time Master and SAFE member, recently earned his Master CFI-Aerobatic accreditation.  A retired Air Force officer and instructor pilot, Marty is the chief of safety with Aviation Performance Solutions (, a Part 141 flight school at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway (IWA).  He specializes in upset prevention and recovery training as well as stall, unusual attitude, spin and air-to-air combat training.


Ostreicher Returning to Aviation Department after Phoenix Hires New Public Information Director

Ostreicher, Deborah 2edit

Deborah Ostreicher

Phoenix Deputy Aviation Director Deborah Ostreicher, who has been running the Public Information Office for the City of Phoenix during a national recruitment effort will be returning to the Aviation Department next month.

City Manager Ed Zuercher named Julie Watters as the new Phoenix Public Information Director. Watters comes from the city of Glendale where she spent 13 years, most recently as Communications Director. In Phoenix she will oversee the staff handling public information, and the city’s digital media team including the website, social media and the city TV station, Phoenix Channel 11.

Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher said, “Julie has a proven track record of strategic communication leadership. We are excited to welcome her to the Phoenix team.”

Since 2002, Watters served in various communication and leadership roles in Glendale in both the communications and fire departments. As Communications Director she oversaw Glendale’s public information office, city-owned TV station, Glendale Media Center, website, office of special events, the Convention & Visitors Bureau, creative services, and city convention center.

Julie Watersedit

Julie Watters

Watters worked on the 2015 and 2008 Super Bowls and has played a role in high-level communications projects on topics ranging from economic development projects to the city budget, complex management agreements, public safety education campaigns and day-to-day operational services. She has also been nominated for and received Emmy awards for her work at the city-owned TV station. Prior to her work in municipal government, she was an anchor and reporter at KPNX-TV, Channel 12, for more than eleven years.

“I’m so pleased to have this opportunity to live and work in the same community and to lead the Public Information team in sharing the city’s diverse messages locally, nationally and internationally,” said Watters.

“Deborah Ostreicher has done an outstanding job of upping our game in communications and we are looking forward to continuing our outreach and communication to Phoenix residents with Julie Watters,” said Zuercher. Watters begins with the city of Phoenix on June 15.


Denny Returning Home to Ohio as Columbus Regional Airport Authority’s VP of Asset Management

gateway 3edit

Casey Denny during construction of Phoenix Mesa Gateway's terminal. Photo by Kim Stevens.

The management of Port Columbus, Rickenbacker and Bolton Field airport assets become the responsibility of Casey Denny, A.A.E., in June when he assumes the position of Vice President of Asset Management for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority.

Denny, who leaves Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport as Deputy Director, will oversee and provide strategic direction for the use and maintenance of buildings, grounds, pavement and equipment for Airport Authority owned and operated assets. Six departments representing more than 175 employees across three airports align under Denny’s capable and proven asset management leadership.

“Casey Denny’s distinguished aviation career, related accomplishments and interpersonal communication skills qualify him to lead a division that’s critically important to the success of our airports in the Columbus region,” said Airport Authority President & CEO Elaine Roberts, A.A.E., to whom Denny will report. “I’m thrilled to have him on my executive team.”

As an Accredited Airport Executive, Denny has amassed to his credit a voluminous list of professional activities. He is the immediate past president of the Southwest Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives, a past president of the Arizona Airports Association, past president of Gilbert Leadership, and serves on aviation industry advisory boards for his alma mater, Arizona State University, as well as East Valley Institute of Technology. Denny and his wife Susan, also an Ohio native, devote time to raising three very active boys, ages eleven, nine and eight.


Lake Havasu Hosts Airports Association Spring Conference

Flying over the London Bridge with Lake Havasu view to the South. Photo by Reb Wallace.

Flying over the London Bridge with Lake Havasu view to the South. Photo by Reb Wallace.

Lake Havasu City hosted the 2015 Arizona Airports Association Annual “Dutch Bertholf” Spring Conference, May 2nd through the 6th at the Nautical Beachfront Resort on the shores of Lake Havasu. This year’s conference was deemed successful by the more than 150 registered attendees from the airport management industry, including engineering, planning, project management consultants, managers, federal-state aviation agencies and companies offering products for airports ranging from lighting to pavement.

Steven Johnston, Airport Supervisor for the Lake Havasu Airport said the City was able to showcase the unique natural beauty of the region, friendly community and great dining opportunities during this event.  One estimate put the total economic impact of the event was in the range of $90,000 over five days.

This year’s conference focused on continuing education and the topics were timely and well received, including updates by the FAA and ADOT, sessions on sustainability, diversity, NextGen/RNAV implementation, public-private partnerships, legislative impacts on the Aviation Fund, AzAA transitions, environmental requirements, AIP Handbook updates, AAAE Accreditation, airport special events and the benefits of the Civil Air Patrol. According to attendees, the exhibitors were constantly busy and their displays well attended.



Presidents Awards Banquet, 2014-15 AzAA Board, right to left, Mr. Michael Hotaling, C&S Engineers; Mr. Steven Johnston, Lake Havasu Municipal Airport; Ms. Carmen Williams, Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport; Mr. Bradley Hagen, Falcon Field Airport; Mr. Richard A. Crosman, Genesis Consulting Group, LLC; Mr. Daniel Rauscher, City of Phoenix Aviation Department; Mr. Barney Helmick, Flagstaff Pulliam Airport; Ms. Gladys Brown-Wiggins, Yuma International Airport. Photo by Kenn Potts

The weather, according to Johnston, was an unusual mix of high and moderate temperatures, sun, wind, rain with occasional lighting strikes.

During the conference banquet the memory of Nielson A. “Dutch” Bertholf, A.A.E. was honored and the Arizona Airport of the Year was awarded to the Yuma International Airport. Two Marty Rosness Student Scholarships for $1,250 each were awarded to Alexandra Duffy, CM and Lucas Mackey.

The 2015 AzAA board officers were recognized and are: Gladys Wiggins, CM; President, Daniel Rauscher, CM, 1st Vice President; Bradley Hagen, AAE, 2nd Vice President; Barney Helmick, AAE, Past President; Carmen Williams, CM, ACE, Executive Director; Steven Johnston, CM, CAE, ASC, Executive Director; Arlando Teller, PM, Executive Director; Ed Faron, AAE, Executive Director; Charlie McDermott, Corporate Director; Richard A. Crosman, Associate Director; and Cathy Herring, Administrative Director.

AzAA Lake Havasu

AzAA Spring Conference, Sustainability Planning Session. Photo by Kenn Potts.




Mayor Greg Stanton

Mayor Greg Stanton

Last Tuesday afternoon, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, Council members Kate Gallego, Laura Pastor and Michael Nowakowski and city officials met with executives from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the airlines to discuss aircraft noise affecting the Phoenix area.

This is part of the six-point action plan directed by the Phoenix Mayor and Council in a special policy session on April 16, 2015 to address aircraft noise. The city has been asking for relief from the noise imposed on the community since the September 18, 2014 flight path changes occurred.

For more details on the six-point plan, please visit or go directly to

As a result of the meeting, all parties agreed for their respective technical experts to meet as soon as possible to explore possible flight path options to address the noise concerns of airport neighbors.

For updates on progress, the public is encouraged to continue watching

All activity is logged there and new items are identified with a red “NEW.”



EPSON MFP imageA Proclamation has been issued by the Office of the Governor, designating June 5, 2015 as "Battle of Midway Remembrance Day" in Arizona. The declaration recognizes the significance of the World War II battle in the Pacific as a turning point in the historic conflict with Japan and identifies the contributions made by Arizonans to the successful outcome of one of the most crucial naval battles of the war.

In particular, the gallantry of Navy Ensign John C. Butler, Jr., of Liberty (Buckeye), Arizona is acknowledged. Butler, a dive bomber pilot assigned to Bombing Squadron 3 aboard the U.S.S. Yorktown, was killed in action while attacking the Japanese fleet on the afternoon of June 4, 1942. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, the Navy's highest honor. In addition, the Navy subsequently commissioned a destroyer escort bearing his name as a tribute to his accomplishments.

The Battle of Midway has been designated by the Chief of Naval Operations as one of the two most important dates in the history of the United States Navy, the other being the establishment of the Navy on October 13, 1775. The Battle of Midway is considered by historians to be the turning point in the Pacific War with Japan, signaling the end to Japanese expansion and the beginning of a relentless drive to defeat the Japanese which concluded with the unconditional surrender of Japan's forces in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.


iFlightPlanner Introduces Garmin GTN Flight Plan Compatibility

iflightiFlightPlanner announced today the availability of new functionality that allows pilots to create and save flight plan files for use in the new GTN 600 and 700-series avionics by Garmin.

This innovative technology eliminates the need for pilots to enter complex routes by simply saving a GFP file from to a compatible SD Card, then following the step-by-step instructions found in the Garmin Pilot’s Guide for their particular unit to activate or store the route files.

“iFlightPlanner is very excited to be the first flight planning resource offering file export capabilities for use in the Garmin GTN series of avionics,” said Andy Matthews, iFlightPlanner’s Co-Founder & Director of Business Development.  “Safety, usability and flight planning efficiency are at the core of every new feature we develop and we believe our membership will find this technology to be an incredible asset to their flying.”

iFlightPlanner has been a leader in flight plan file creation since it first introduced this type of functionality for its members in 2012, with GFP compatibility building on iFlightPlanner’s existing FPL flight plan file creation for Garmin’s G1000 and 430/530 avionics packages.  Collectively iFlightPlanner now supports five (5) different file formats – Garmin GFP and FPL, GPX, GPX for AvMap and the FMS flight plan file format used in the popular X-Plane Flight Simulator by Laminar Research.


Hartzell Awarded TC for Two-Blade Bantam Prop for Rotax Engines

hartzell for rotaxHartzell Propeller has received a Type Certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration for the new two-blade extremely lightweight Bantam propeller for use with the Rotax 912 and 914 four-stroke engines series, used mostly for light sport and ultra light aircraft.

“The Rotax 912 and 914 series of four cylinder four stroke engines perform even better with Hartzell’s new two-blade Bantam prop,” said Hartzell Propeller Joe Brown. “This will become the propeller of choice for many light sport and ultra light aircraft.”

The Hartzell Bantam propeller series consists of small, lightweight two- and three-blade propellers with a thin, wide chord and swept high performance airfoils. The recent approval covers installation of Hartzell’s two-blade Bantam propellers, featuring carbon fiber structural composite blades, hard nickel leading edges and composite spinners.