Arizona Aviation Journal

Santa Making Annual CAF Stop at Falcon Field

AFTN Santa nr planeThis is a special Santa Alert! Air Traffic Control at Falcon Field Municipal Airport in Mesa reports seeing a blip near the North Pole on its radar screen. It looks like Santa Claus has begun his annual 3,905-mile journey to The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Airbase Arizona Aviation Museum at Falcon Field. According to Ground Support at the Museum, Santa is scheduled to land at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 29, 2014. Earlier that morning, before doors open to the public, the Museum will host a special "Breakfast With Santa" for 100 children sponsored by the Salvation Army.

Santa and CAF Airbase Arizona are also going to help the East Valley Firefighters Charities collect toys for needy children this Holiday Season during their annual toy drive. The Museum will collect new unwrapped toys and canned food from November 29 through December 19. On the day of Santa's November 29 visit special admission prices will be in effect. Admission will be free for children 12 and under and $12.00 for those 13 and over. Museum visitors who bring a new, unwrapped toy to the Airbase that day will receive FREE admission. Those bringing canned food will receive $1.00 off of the Museum admission price.

The East Valley Firefighters will distribute these toys and canned goods to needy children throughout the area for the holidays. Santa also will be talking to all the girls and boys who come to the Museum that day, gathering their Christmas wishes and his special Elf assistants will assist him in determining who has been naughty and nice. Doors open at 10:00 a.m. and close at 4:00
p.m. with Santa Claus arriving at 11:00 a.m. Admission includes a tour through the Aviation Museum and its collection of over 20 historic aircraft. Toy drawings will be conducted every hour.

The CAF Airbase Arizona Aviation Museum and the City of Mesa encourage everyone to join the East Valley Firefighters in making sure needy children have a happy Holiday Season.

The Toy and Food Drive will run from November 29, 2014 to December 19 this Holiday Season at the CAF Airbase Arizona Aviation Museum.


City of Phoenix Aviation Director Retires

Murphy, DannyAfter 31 years with the City of Phoenix, Danny Murphy, Director of Aviation has announced his retirement. Mr. Murphy joined the City in 1983 and has served in a diverse array of executive leadership roles. This included Chief Information Officer, Water Services Director and Acting Deputy and Assistant City Manager positions. He has led the Aviation Department and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport with distinction for over 8 years.

"I want to thank and commend Danny for an outstanding career as a city leader. It has been a great honor to work with someone as committed to public service as he is," said Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher.

Murphy has led the Aviation Department through the construction of the PHX Sky Train, an internationally acclaimed, award-winning restaurant overhaul in Terminal 4, tough recession decisions, a federal government shutdown, two Phoenix-critical airline mergers and countless security and infrastructure improvement projects. He did all of this while maintaining excellent bond ratings with both Standard and Poor's and Moody's.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton said, "The City of Phoenix has undoubtedly been a better place during the 31 years that Danny Murphy served it in so many capacities. We will all miss him greatly and count on him to remain an active member of this community."

Murphy says he looks forward to relaxing and spending time with his family and friends.

"I am proud to have served this community throughout my career and I have the utmost confidence in Assistant Aviation Directors Tamie Fisher, Chad Makovsky and the staff of the Aviation Department to carry America's Friendliest Airport's vision forward," Murphy said.
"I’ve never met such dedicated, hard-working people," he added.

His last day with the city will be October 30. Tamie Fisher will take over as Acting Phoenix Aviation Director, the first female ever to lead the department since the City took ownership of Sky Harbor in 1935.



RAF Pipers MarchThe Commemorative Air Force's ("CAF") Airbase Arizona Aviation Museum, located at Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona, announced plans today for the annual RAF Cadet Memorial Service at the City of Mesa Cemetery located at 1212 N. Center Street, Mesa, Arizona on Sunday morning, November 9, 2014 at 10:45 AM.

The Memorial Service honors the 23 RAF Cadets who lost their lives in flight training at #4 British Flying Training School (which ultimately became Mesa's Falcon Field) during World War II. Once cadet training was completed, graduates returned to Great Britain for reassignment in the skies over Europe, North Africa and the Pacific, wherever British forces fought alongside their American allies in the world-wide struggle against Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and the Japanese Empire. The 23 deceased cadets who died in training were and remain today an
inspiration to those alongside whom they trained and those today who remember the principles for which they gave their lives.

The Memorial service has been conducted for more than 30 years and includes a wreath laying ceremony, remembrances and tributes to these fallen servicemen. The British Plot is located approximately in the center of the Mesa Cemetery. Representatives of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Royal Air Force and numerous dignitaries from both the City of Mesa and the British government will be present. The Mesa Caledonian Pipe Band will perform. This is a public event and all are invited to attend. There is no admission charge for this event.

Now in its 36th year of operation as the premiere aviation attraction in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, the Aviation Museum is operated by Airbase Arizona (formerly the CAF Arizona Wing, now honored to be the first designated Airbase of the CAF). Organized in 1978 as the local Arizona chapter of the Commemorative Air Force, the mission of Airbase Arizona is to restore and preserve historically important aircraft and related memorabilia in order to educate the public about the significant contributions made by men and women in the defense of the
Nation. Airbase Arizona is home base to a unique collection of twenty historic warbirds, including the famed, fully restored Sentimental Journey, one of the few remaining World War II-era B-17 Flying Fortress bombers still flying today, and Maid in the Shade, a veteran B-25 Mitchell bomber that saw action in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations in World War II.



Gathering of Legends_1The Commemorative Air Force's ("CAF") Airbase Arizona Aviation Museum, located at Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona, announced plans today for its Seventh Annual Gathering of Legends, an event celebrating the service of military aviators and flight crews instrumental in preserving the Nation's heritage of freedom.

This year, aviation veterans of WWII, Korea and Vietnam representing noted groups such as the Tuskegee Airmen, Women's Airforce Service Pilots ("WASPS"), World War II fighter aces, former RAF Cadets who trained at Falcon Field in World War II, bomber crews, Forward Air Controllers and others will be on hand to share their experiences with attendees.

The Airbase is privileged to include among the Legends in attendance honorees inducted into the Airbase's Military Aviation Walk of Honor, a prominent feature of the Museum, including two Medal of Honor recipients: Colonel Bruce P. Crandall (U. S. Army, ret.) and Major Fred Ferguson (U.S. Army, ret.); as well as Mr. Sergei Sikorsky and retired U. S. Navy Rear Admirals Lew Chatham and Hugh Dennis Wisely. More on these Legends' background can be found at

This unique Veteran's Day weekend commemoration starts off on Monday evening, November 10, 2014, when Airbase Arizona hosts its Dinner With The Legends, to be held at the Airbase's unique Aviation Museum at Falcon Field (located at 2017 N. Greenfield Road Mesa). Colonel Bruce Crandall will deliver the keynote address at the Dinner.


New Prescott Business Represented Best in Arizona Aviation and Technology At World’s Biggest Air Show

X-Copter Sunset_med (1)editX-Copter, Prescott's newest aviation business and helicopter aviation's newest simulation company, exhibited and demonstrated its next generation helicopter flight simulator at the world's largest airshow in Oshkosh, Wi., during AirVenture 2014.  The airshow attracted record crowds of over 500,000 spectators and 10,000 aircraft between July 28 - August 3rd.

After thousands of flight testing hours, X-Copter pre-viewed its generation-one helicopter training device during HELI-EXPO 2014, the helicopter industry's largest trade show. There, X-Copter is sharing features and capabilities of their simulator while anticipating approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The X-Copter is a primary flight training device for helicopter student pilots, private owners, and organizations who use helicopters in their daily operations.  The simulators boast three massive 60" inch high definition screens outside the cockpit (outside view), two high definition touch screens in the cockpit, and highly customized cockpit controls.

"In addition to recent FAA approval, we are very excited about our new leasing and financing options for our customers. We will make it very easy for a flight school or individual to acquire an X-Copter," stated Brandon Frett, Dir. of Simulation.

Based at the Prescott Municipal Airport (KPRC), the company has already produced and delivered fourteen (14) production units with an additional 10 units on order and in production. "We are excited about our recent success and our presence at AirVenture 2014. There are both domestic and international opportunities and we look forward to what the future holds.  Most importantly, we look forward to growing our business and bringing hi-tech jobs to the region," remarks Frett.

X-Copter currently offers helicopter flight simulation models for the Robinson R22 and R44 helicopters. In development are the popular Robinson R66, Bell, and Schweizer models.


Phoenix TRACON Says Weather Advisories Restored

Due to some quick action by a number of folks literally across the country, the Phoenix TRACON reports they now have their weather feed returned to service for Northern Arizona. Curt Faulk, Staff Manager said, “We really did believe that this was going to be a long-term situation as of yesterday afternoon. It's nice to know that we can all react quickly when we need to.”


Phoenix Approach Control weather information and weather advisories limitation

As of 07/29/2014, pilots receiving air traffic control services from Phoenix Approach Control within the state of Arizona, in the areas of Prescott, Sedona and Flagstaff are cautioned that ATC radar-based weather information and weather advisories from ATC are not available because of equipment limitations.  According to Curt Faulk, Staff Manager of the FAA Phoenix TRACON, the duration of this unavailability is unknown.  Subsequent information will be provided when these services become available.


Navajo Nation Airports System Master Plan Underway

Navajo tribal airportedit

Window Rock Airport. Photo by Dennis Corsi

With the much anticipated kick-off meeting for the Navajo Nation Airports System Master Plan (ASMP) held in May at the Navajo D.O.T. Transportation Complex in Tse Bonito, New Mexico, work on the comprehensive study of several of the Navajo Nation’s airports, led by Armstrong Consultants, Inc., is underway.

In keeping with the strong traditions and culture of the Navajo Nation, a blessing ceremony was held before the kick-off meeting in the early morning led by Mr. Philmer Bluehouse. The meeting was attended by those directly involved in the project, including Navajo Nation government leaders and staff, federal and state agency representatives, members of the consultant team, and Chapter community members.

The Navajo Nation Airport System is comprised of six airports included in the Federal Aviation Administration’s National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS); likewise, ten non-NPIAS airports are also spread across the boundaries of the Navajo Nation which extends over three FAA regions (Western Pacific, Southwest, and Northwest Mountain) and three states (Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah). These airports provide vital services to the Navajo Nation and the National Airport System including air medical evacuation (medevac), business transportation, government transportation, search and rescue, tourism and economic development.

These airports currently offer varying levels of facilities and services and are in varying physical conditions. In order to provide safe and efficient airport facilities and services, and to identify and prioritize the capital, operational, and maintenance investments, the Navajo Nation has sanctioned the development of a Navajo Airports System Master Plan.

Dennis Corsi, C.M., President, Armstrong Consultants, Inc.

Dennis Corsi, C.M., President, Armstrong Consultants, Inc. Photo by Jenny Watts

The primary purpose of this study is to identify and prioritize the improvements needed to enhance safety at the airports and improve upon operating conditions. “This project is special,” stated Dennis Corsi, C.M., President of Armstrong Consultants, Inc. “We [the project team] have a real opportunity to help develop great airports that will benefit the people of the Navajo Nation. We are grateful to be a part of this exciting project,” Mr. Corsi also stated.

Three Arizona airports, Chinle, Tuba City, and Window Rock, and two New Mexico airports, Crownpoint and Shiprock, will be studied and analyzed as part of the project. The major stages in the process to develop the plan include an inventory and an assessment of needs of the study airports, followed by the recommended development, capital improvement, financial feasibility, and airport layout plans, and a grant program guidebook.

An extensive Public Outreach Program will provide the Navajo Nation and the local Chapters an opportunity to participate in the planning process. The Public Outreach Program will encourage information sharing and collaboration among the Navajo Nation, airport users and tenants, resource agencies, elected and appointed public officials, community members, and the general public. Several Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) and Chapter House workshops are planned over the coming months.

Arlando Teller

Arlando Teller, Program Manager, Navajo D.O.T. Photo by Jenny Watts

The ASMP will help enable the Navajo Nation to secure funding for much needed improvements at the Navajo Nation airports. The Navajo Division of Transportation has been one of the driving forces behind the project since its inception. Arlando Teller, Program Manager for the Navajo D.O.T., expressed his enthusiasm about the start of the project when he stated, “Navajo D.O.T. is thrilled to have been instrumental in moving this project forward. The end result will be a working document that will offer guidance to the Nation’s airport capital improvement program.”


Sky Harbor Offers Timely Tips for July 4th Holiday Travel

July is a busy travel time at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and passenger traffic for the July Fourth Holiday is expected to peak before the holiday on July 2nd and 3rd and after on July 6. America’s Friendliest Airport® has several travel tips to make your trip easier and more enjoyable.Glamour nightmedia (1)

Save Money with Convenient Parking - Prepaid Discount Parking gives travelers the opportunity to park in the terminal garage at a reduced price. Travelers can avoid the summer sun by booking and prepaying for their parking using an easy online reservation system. Discounted parking is available in the Terminal 2, Terminal 3, or Terminal 4 garages. Those using Prepaid Discount Parking should take a ticket when entering the garage, then present the ticket and the prepaid parking confirmation (printed or on a smartphone) to the cashier upon exit. To reserve parking, visit

Check your bags before arriving at the terminal – Early Bag Check is a handy service that gives travelers flying American, Southwest or US Airways the opportunity to check their bags before they arrive at Terminal 4 and avoid the ticket counter lines. The service is available at East Economy Parking, the 44th Street PHX Sky Train Station® and at the Rental Car Center. Early Bag Check is free, though airline bag fees still apply. For additional information, including hours of operation at each location, visit

Additional important travel tips:

  • Arrive at the Airport two hours before your flight departs, especially if you are parking in economy areas or checking bags.
  • Looking for a handy pick-up and drop-off spot? Save time by dropping off and picking up your party at the 44th Street PHX Sky Train® Station rather than at Terminal 4. The station offers Early Bag Check and kiosks to print your boarding passes. It also offers a quick, five-minute ride to Terminal 4 on the PHX Sky Train ®. Wait for your party free of charge at the Cell Phone Waiting Lot or use a four-hour parking meter to ride the train in to meet your party. To access the 44th Street PHX Sky Train Station from the 202 Red Mountain Freeway, exit at 44th Street and head south. The PHX Sky Train Station is on the southwest corner of 44th Street and Washington.
  • Look through your purse or carry-on bag before you come to the Airport. A forgotten weapon can cause you delays, hassles, and even fines. Make your travel experience hassle-free: double check your bag BEFORE you come to the airport. Visit for information about what can be placed in your carry-on. And, remember, fireworks are prohibited.
  • For updated information on parking lot and garage availability, visit or call our 24-hour parking hotline at 602-273-4545.
  • Visit on your smartphone or tablet to access our award-winning mobile website. Check your flight status and find out which shops and restaurants are near your gate. Arrive early and grab a bite to eat at one of our new restaurants. Enjoy traveler favorites like Matt’s Big Breakfast, Four Peaks Brewery, Blanco Tacos and more.

FAA Breaks Ground for New Tucson Air Traffic Control Tower

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today joined local officials in breaking ground for a new, $26 million air traffic control tower at Tucson International Airport.

At about 250 feet tall, the new tower will be more than double the height of the current tower, which is 55 years old. It will provide air traffic controllers with better airfield views and make it easier for them to determine the positions of aircraft on the ground and in the skies around the airport.

“This project is a great example of the FAA’s commitment to continually reinvesting in our nation’s transportation infrastructure,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Improving our facilities and making them as environmentally friendly as possible helps maintain a cutting-edge transportation system and makes the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”