Arizona Aviation Journal

Phoenix Sky Harbor to Welcome Record Number of Super Bowl XLIX Visitors

a Glamour shot 0413mediaAmerica's Friendliest Airport® is looking forward to welcoming travelers to the Valley of the Sun for Super Bowl XLIX. Various events across the Valley including the 2015 Pro Bowl presented by McDonalds, Waste Management Phoenix Open and the Super Bowl will mean Phoenix Sky Harbor will be very busy. February 2, the day after Super Bowl XLIX, will be Phoenix Sky Harbor's busiest day on record with a 60 percent increase in traffic. An average day at Sky Harbor sees about 110,000 passengers while February 2, could see 180,000 passengers. Additionally, an average day sees about 1,200 takeoffs and landings at Phoenix Sky Harbor, while February 2, the Airport expects approximately 1,600 takeoffs and landings.

"Our staff has been preparing for more than a year," said Acting Aviation Director Tamie Fisher. "We have been working with the airlines, TSA, car rental companies, law enforcement, the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee, the NFL, our restaurant operators and other organizations to develop special operational and staffing plans to give our visitors a world class airport experience."

What can you do to make your travel experience to smoother? Here are some important travel tips before your arrival:

If you are planning to rent a car, make sure to reserve your car in advance. Phoenix Sky Harbor is anticipating a 50 percent increase in car rentals around the Super Bowl and vehicles may be limited for walk-up customers. 


Vertical Flight Award to Papillon Founder Halvorson

Matt Hasik and Elling Halvorson

Matt Hasik, Bell Helicopter’s Executive Vice President of Commercial Business, presented Elling with the Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award statuette.

Bell Helicopter honored Papillon Helicopters founder Elling Halvorson with the Bell Helicopter Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award at the 12th annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards in Beverly Hills on January 16. The award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to the rotorcraft industry. “I’m truly honored to be awarded with the Bell Helicopter Vertical Flight Hall of Fame award,” said Elling Halvorson. “I’ve been presented many opportunities throughout my life to witness the inspiring work aviation yields and every day I’m humbled by the wonderful experiences we see in the aviation industry.” Elling is the founder of Papillon Helicopters, the world’s oldest and largest sightseeing company flying an estimated 600,000 passengers a year on its daily tours to the Grand Canyon. He began his story in 1963 when he won a bid to build a water pipeline that stretched 13.5 miles across the Grand Canyon on some of the most difficult terrain in the world. The project turned out to be the single largest helicopter supported construction job ever completed, using more than 25,000 hours of helicopter flight time and six different models of helicopters, including a Bell 204. Elling has demonstrated superior vertical lift capability through his proven success on projects benefitting construction, utility, travel and tourism. Matt Hasik, Bell Helicopter’s Executive Vice President of Commercial Business, presented Elling with the Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award statuette. “A visionary, an innovator and a leader in the helicopter industry, Elling is a true pioneer for aviation,” said Hasik. “He continues to share his expertise and passion around the world, and we admire and appreciate his tireless efforts and infectious enthusiasm for the industry.”



Photo Oct 02, 6 48 33 PMeditRedHawk Aero, a subsidiary of Redbird Flight Simulations, announced this week that Cochise College in Douglas, Arizona has ordered 6 RedHawk aircraft in a move to upgrade and modernize their training fleet.  Students enrolled in the upcoming fall semester will utilize the new RedHawk aircraft while training for Private Pilot, Instrument and Commercial Pilot Certification in Cochise College’s professional pilot program.

“The selection of RedHawk aircraft for our training fleet, offers us flexibility and cost savings” said Belinda Burnett, Director of Aviation Programs and Chief Flight Instructor for Cochise College.  “With a field elevation of more than 4000 feet, performance is vital to us.  In our test flights, the RedHawk demonstrated improved climb performance to our existing fleet while burning less than 5 gallons per hour.”

Redbird began development on the RedHawk project in 2012 with a goal of creating a standardized training aircraft that is affordable, operationally economical and technologically advanced.  The result is a remanufactured Cessna 172, equipped with a Jet-A burning, FADEC managed, Continental engine, and advanced avionics.

“The combination of the Continental CD-135 twin-turbo diesel engine, and a new three-bladed, composite Hartzell propeller offers outstanding performance at a fraction of the hourly cost of a traditional Cessna 172” explains RedHawk VP of Operations, Darren Bien.  “The addition of state-of-the-art Garmin avionics offers student pilots hands-on experience with modern glass-panel systems without sacrificing the training benefits inherent with traditional steam gauges, making the RedHawk the perfect training airplane.”

Cochise College’s new airplanes will join a fleet of six other RedHawks currently operating in training programs around the country.


Ascent Aviation Opens New Hangar in Tucson

new-hangar (1)Ascent Aviation Services Corporation has announced the opening of a newly constructed 42,000 square-foot hangar at its facility adjacent to the Tucson International Airport.  The new hangar doubles Ascent's heavy maintenance capacity with 100,000 square feet of hangar space designed to accommodate four narrow body aircraft.  The new hangar is fully operational, and the Company will begin servicing its customers' aircraft immediately.

Ascent CEO Joseph Ng said:  "The additional hangar capacity will enhance Ascent's flexibility and efficiency in maintenance, repair and overhaul of aircraft to the exacting high standards that our customers and regulatory authorities expect from us."

Ascent Chairman John McNamara commented:  "The new hangar is instrumental to Ascent's growth strategy, which will enable the Company to continue to provide additional quality and reliable MRO services to a wide range of private and commercial narrow body aircraft."

Ascent Aviation strives to become the premiere narrow body MRO in North America by providing highly flexible customer service, compelling value and the industry's highest standards of quality and safety.  Ascent performs heavy maintenance services, aircraft modification, transition and refurbishment work, aircraft storage and reclamation services, and consigned part sales.  Ascent has received FAA certification to perform heavy maintenance checks for A319, A320, A321, B717, B727, B737, B757, CRJ 100/200, DC 9, MD80 and MD90 aircraft.  Ascent has a footprint that consists of 30 acres of concrete ramp area, nearly 100,000 square feet of hangar space, and 88,000 square feet of shop and secured consignment space in an ideal desert climate.  Ascent is a portfolio company of LongueVue Capital, a value-oriented private equity firm with offices in New Orleans, New York and Salt Lake City(


Garmin G500H Glass Panels Installed in Guidance Aviation Helicopter Fleet

G500H FleetGarmin G500H glass panels have been installed in the Guidance Aviation helicopter fleet. Last year, the primary helicopter flight training organization with flight operations in Prescott, Arizona and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, announced their decision to upgrade their aircraft. Now, the organization's fleet upgrade is in its final phase with all of the IFR fleet installations complete.

"Currently, we have (13) R44s in the fleet, with (2) more on the way. So as we add new R44's, they will have the G500H glass panels installed. We also have (3) R66 turbines in the line-up, a fourth R66 arriving in February 2015, and a fifth one new from the factory in March, 2015. All of the new R66 turbines have Aspen EFD 1000H Pro/HSI glass panels. Finally, we are already initiating ADS-B compliance in our helicopters. Our ADS-B work is well ahead of the FAA's 2020 ADS-B mandate designed to improve situational awareness and safety for pilots," states Jason Kidd, Director of Maintenance, Guidance Aviation.

“Almost all actual instrument flying in helicopters is done in ships that have glass cockpits such as the Garmin G500H and Aspen  EFD 1000H Pro/HSI glass panels, so using this equipment for our students’ initial instrument training is a great advantage to our graduates when they get to real IFR.  The Garmin and Aspen glass panels also complement our tablet based software and the Computer Based Training we already have in place.  The great thing is that all this added together equals less in-flight time needed for our students to get ready for the instrument checkride.” states John “JJ” Johnson, Director of Academics, Guidance Aviation.

Director of Flight Operations, Guidance Aviation's Dave Roy adds, "We have now configured our (13) helicopter flight simulators by X-Copter to represent the G500H glass panels now found in our aircraft. Our students and instructor pilots can step into a state-of-the-art helicopter flight simulator to practice their procedures and scans all while using G500H simulation. We've taken these aircraft upgrades and included them into our training, simulation, and course outlines."



Building on the popularity and success of its inaugural events, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) will host Fly-Ins at five new locations nationwide during 2015. The events, which will include an AOPA Homecoming at the Association’s Frederick, Maryland, headquarters, will be free to all attendees and will include aviation product and service exhibitors, aircraft displays, seminars, activities, food and plenty of fun.

“The AOPA Fly-Ins were a huge hit with our members in their first year, and we’re thrilled to be able to continue them in 2015,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “With new locations we’ll be able to meet folks we’ve never met before, support more general aviation airports and continue our mission to build the GA community all across the country.”

AOPA’s 2015 Fly-Ins are scheduled for California’s Salinas Municipal Airport (SNS) on May 16, Minnesota’s Anoka County-Blaine Airport (ANE) on Aug. 22, Colorado’s Colorado Springs Municipal Airport (COS) on Sept. 26, and Tennessee’s Tullahoma Regional Airport (THA) on Oct. 10. In addition, the AOPA Homecoming Fly-In will be held at Maryland’s Frederick Municipal Airport on June 6. 


As Park & Walk, West Economy will Offer Deep Discounted Parking at Sky Harbor

On January 13, West Economy Parking at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport will become the West Economy Park & Walk.  The area will offer a deeply discounted on-airport parking choice that gives travelers the option of parking and walking to the terminal.

Parking will be available for a reduced rate of $7 a day.  No bus service will be available.  Travelers will find the parking area convenient to Terminal 2.

Examples of walking distances and durations:

·            From the eastern portion of the parking area to Terminal 2, it is approximately a 3 minute walk.

·            From the western portion of the parking area to Terminal 2, it is approximately an 8 minute walk.

·            It will take 15 minutes or less to walk from the western portion of the West Economy Park & Walk to the Terminal 3 PHX Sky Train Station®.  From there, passengers may access Terminal 3 or take the train to Terminal 4. The PHX Sky Cart is available to transport passengers along the section of walkway between the east side of Terminal 2 and the Terminal 3 PHX Sky Train station.

For those who prefer traditional economy parking, there are more than 1,000 uncovered $9 per day spaces available on the roof of the Terminal 2 garage, in addition to covered economy parking in the Terminal 2 garage for $11 per day. Sky Harbor also features $9 and $11 parking at East Economy, which offers Early Bag Check and its own dedicated PHX Sky Train station®.

Convenient terminal garage parking is also available for $25 per day. Travelers can save money on terminal garage parking by reserving in advance through Prepaid Discount Parking on

For more information on all parking options, use our interactive tool to search based on availability and price at  Or, call our 24-hour parking hotline at 602-273-4545.


Arizona Business Aviation Association Awards Fall Scholarships

Arizona Business Aviation Association (AZBAA) has awarded scholarships totaling $9500 to four applicants in business aviation-centered education programs or careers.

Fostering careers in aviation is important, as aviation represents 10% of the state of Arizona's total employment. There are 84 airports in Arizona serving our citizens, more than 45 million passengers relying on air transportation to reach Arizona, and 3 million aircraft takeoffs/landings per year from general aviation airports. Business aviation is any flying done for business purposes other than scheduled airlines and military aviation.

The AZBAA is very proud to congratulate its 2014 Fall scholarship winners:

Patricia Espinosa $3500, Cochise College Commercial Pilot and Unmanned Aviation Systems Patricia is a pilot and unmanned aerial vehicle operator. She is the vice president of the Papa Zero Three flight club at Cochise College, and she will be pursuing a bachelor's degree in Aeronautics at Embry-Riddle University with a minor in unmanned aircraft systems. Patricia aspires to start an aviation business to fight Arizona wildfires more efficiently by coordinating manned and unmanned aerial systems.


PHX Sky Train® Now Serves All Terminals at Phoenix Sky Harbor

T3 PHX Sky Train Station7-14_6979 (1)editPhoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, members of the Phoenix City Council, City and Airport officials took the first ride to the brand new Terminal 3 PHX Sky Train® Station December 8 at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. The event marked the opening of the newest section of the PHX Sky Train®, extending it to Terminal 3 with a walkway to Terminal 2. There is no Terminal 1 at Phoenix Sky Harbor. The train now connects the regional Valley Metro Rail with Sky Harbor’s East Economy Parking and all three airport terminals.

“All of Sky Harbor’s passengers may now enjoy an easy connection with public transportation, and a convenient ride between the Airport and downtown Phoenix. That is great news, especially with the Super Bowl coming to Phoenix in 2015,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Our goal was to open this extension before Super Bowl and we have exceeded expectations, opening it in time for December and January holiday travel.” 


Embry-Riddle Pilot Receives Master CFI Recognition

MCFI Ken Fukayama, AZ (Nov14)editMaster Instructors LLC has announced that Ken Fukayama, a 2-time Master, recently renewed his Master CFI accreditation.  Ken is a ground instructor, flight check instructor, and upset recovery instructor with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) at Prescott's Love Field (PRC).  Additionally, he serves as head coach of the university's NIFA flight team, the Golden Eagles, and is the university's assistant aviation safety program manager. Recently, Fukayama's accreditation as a Master CFI (Certificated Flight Instructor) was renewed by Master Instructors LLC, the international accrediting authority for the Master Instructor designation as well as the FAA-approved "Master Instructor Programä."  He first earned this national professional accreditation in 2012, has held it continuously since then, and is one of only 145 worldwide to earn the credential two (2) times. To help put these achievements in their proper perspective, there are approximately 98,000 CFIs in the United States.  Fewer than 800 of those aviation educators have achieved that professional distinction thus far.  The last 19 National