Arizona Aviation Journal

Phoenix Goodyear Airport Celebrates 75 Years

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Pictured left to right: State Representative Charlene Fernandez, District Representative for Congressman Grijalva Jennifer Papworth, City of Phoenix Aviation Director Jim Bennett, Goodyear Councilwoman Wally Campbell, Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord, Goodyear Airport Manager Joe Husband, Vice Mayor of Avondale Stephanie Karlin, Avondale Mayor Kenn Weise.

The Phoenix Goodyear Airport, a vital general aviation hub for Phoenix’s West Valley, today marked its 75th anniversary.   Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord and Phoenix Aviation Director Jim Bennett were on-hand to mark the occasion and celebrate the airport’s history. The Airport started in 1940, with the development of a facility for Goodyear Aircraft Corporation. The company donated adjacent land to the US Navy to develop airport facilities. The airport’s first name was the Naval Air Facility at Litchfield Park and it supported war efforts during World War II and the Korean Conflict.

In 1968, the city of Phoenix purchased the airport to serve as a general aviation reliever.  Since that time, Phoenix Goodyear Airport has grown and provided vital service to corporate and private pilots who come to the Valley for major sporting events such as the Super Bowl and NASCAR.

“The Phoenix-Goodyear Airport is a significant component of our community’s history and an integral part of our future, said Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord.  “We look forward to the continued success of the airport as it will benefit both the City of Goodyear and the City of Phoenix economies for years to come.”

Goodyear 75th 055The airport is now home to a variety of businesses such as fixed base operator Lux Air; Aero Turbine, an aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul business, and Airline Training Center Arizona, a world-class pilot training facility for such airlines as Lufthansa.

“The Phoenix Goodyear Airport has played an important role in Arizona’s history,” said City of Phoenix Aviation Director Jim Bennett.  “Today, we recognize the contributions the airport has made and the essential services it offers to our West Valley community.”

Included in the celebration was the Spirit of America Goodyear Blimp, which visits Goodyear during special events such as NASCAR, the Super Bowl, and college football games to provide aerial event coverage.  The Spirit of America is celebrating 60 years in live, aerial broadcasting and 90 years in promotional airships this year.  Since 1916, the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company has been part of Arizona’s rich history.

For more information on the Phoenix Goodyear Airport, please visit


Yuma Airport Celebrates Community’s Roots

Microsoft Word - 2015-11-18 Airport celebrates Yuma's RootsYuma International Airport has teleported its East end restrooms back in time to celebrate Yuma’s rich historical roots as the Gateway to the Great Southwest.

“With tens of thousands of passengers arriving into Yuma each year through the airport, we wanted to extend the City of Yuma’s efforts by embracing and promoting Yuma’s history within the terminal,” said   Gladys Wiggins, Airport Director. “The goal is to share the history of Yuma with a painting (which was recreated in the life size model) and begin the appreciation of the great partnerships to transport people, goods, and possibilities for future growth.”

Wiggins said they met with several families who played an important role in the establishment of the City of Yuma. They also provided a library of photos for consideration for the large mural and decorative pieces within each facility.

Microsoft Word - 2015-11-18 Airport celebrates Yuma's RootsA lithograph created by George H. Baker of the ‘Fort Yuma on the Colorado River’ was selected as the mural which stretches the length of the walls for the arriving passengers to see as they enter into the airport after the quick flight from Phoenix. The lithograph provides a raw and realistic view of the Fort Yuma outpost, which was one of the most important in the American Southwest. The location played important roles in the early Spanish exploration of Southwest, with the Native Americans, the Mexican-American War, the U.S. Civil War and the development of the overland transport routes that connected California to the rest of America.

For centuries the location was valued by Native Americans as the only natural crossing of the Colorado River near the mouth of the Gila River, and was thus the nexus of several major overland trails.


Sky Harbor Awarded VALE Grant to Help Reduce Emissions

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Southwest Airlines will use funds from the VALE grant to convert diesel ground service equipment to electric. Pictured here is a bag loader (far right) and bag tractor (left) that have already been converted to electric.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport was recently awarded one million dollars as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Voluntary Airport Low Emission (VALE) environmental grant program.  This grant will reduce emissions at the airport by funding the development of electric charging infrastructure to support the replacement of diesel-powered airline ground service equipment (GSE) with electric.

This is Phoenix Sky Harbor’s first VALE grant.  As part of this grant, 28 electric charging stations will be installed around Terminal 4. Southwest Airlines and Piedmont Airlines will be the primary users of the charging stations.  In the first year, Piedmont, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines, plans to convert eight bag tractors.  Southwest Airlines will convert 25 bag tractors and five bag loaders.  In the second year, five additional belt loaders and 25 bag tractors will be converted by Southwest.

As a result of the conversion from diesel-powered GSE to electric, there will be a reduction of emissions of particulate matter, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides.  In fact, the projected reduction is about 345 tons of air pollutants over the course of this project which equals 2,345 cars off the roadway per year.

“Over the past four years Phoenix has become the best sustainability comeback story in the nation, and our commitment to emission-reducing alternative-fuel technology is a big part of that success,” said Mayor Greg Stanton.  “This grant will help Maricopa County meet its air quality goals while establishing Sky Harbor as a leader in sustainable growth to other airports in the region and the community.”


Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport Maintains Its High Bond Ratings

a glamour shoteditStandard and Poor’s Ratings Services (S&P) once again affirmed its ‘AA-’ rating on Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s senior-lien revenue bonds.  S&P also affirmed its ‘A+’ ratings on the airport’s junior-lien revenue bonds.

In addition, Moody’s affirmed the airport’s General Airport Revenue Bond ratings on the senior (Aa3) and the junior (A1) liens.

The ratings agencies cite several factors that contributed to Sky Harbor’s high bond ratings, including a robust demand for air service in the market, the airport’s low cost structure for airlines, an experienced and effective administrative team and the Airport’s recent strong financial performance.

A higher bond rating means the airport pays lower interest rates when it borrows funds for airport improvements and modernization projects.

“Sky Harbor’s excellent bond ratings reflects the consistently smart, shrewd and strong management at America’s Friendliest Airport,” said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton. “Phoenix residents can be proud that Phoenix Sky Harbor continues to have one of the highest ratings of any airport in the country.”

No local tax dollars are used to support Phoenix Sky Harbor. The airport is funded with the revenue that it generates.


Expanded Hours for Customs Sees Upswing at Scottsdale Airport

Scottsdale Airport has seen U.S customs and immigration use increased by 53 percent this past year, since expanding customs hours and adding a second agent.

Expanded customs service began in February 2014 when two additional hours were added each day; service is now available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

When airport officials expanded customs service, the goal was to make Scottsdale Airport more viable as an international business destination. The change appears to be working with 786 aircraft processed from February 2014 through January 2015, up from 513 in the prior 12 months.

Pilot Lindsey Stemp with JNL Homes LLC says, "With the expanded hours and days, we have been able to streamline our operations and planning. We clear on average two to three times per month, and thus we have been able to reduce trip times, and operating costs by not having to clear at another port of entry."

The bulk of users originate from Canada and Mexico, but Scottsdale serves as a gateway welcoming commerce and visitors into the region and access for outward travel as well. In fact, there are more visitors coming from other countries, like Peru, Chile, London, Aruba and Egypt.

The expanded service cost $162K, but the airport recovered those costs in about nine months ahead of what was anticipated. Users pay for this service based on the size of their aircraft up to $750 per use.


Prescott among new AOPA Fly-In Locations for 2016

Earnest A. Love Field in Prescott, AZ will be the site of one of AOPA’s four regional fly-ins in 2016, it was recently announced. The other three new locations will be Michael J. Smith Field (MRH) in Beaufort, North Carolina on May 21st, Bremerton National Airport (PWT) in Bremerton, Washington on August 20th, WK Kellogg Airport (BTL) in Battle Creek, Michigan on September 17th. The Prescott date is October 1st.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the success of the AOPA Fly-Ins, so we’re excited to bring them to brand new locations, with new seminars, social events, and activities for 2016,” said AOPA President Mark Baker.

Since the AOPA Fly-Ins began in 2014, more than 27,000 people have attended and more than 4,000 aircraft have flown in to a dozen events in 10 states. The 2016 events will be the first AOPA has held in North Carolina, Michigan, and Arizona. Previously AOPA has visited California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.

The 2016 locations were carefully selected from among numerous detailed proposals submitted by airports nationwide. AOPA has hosted a fly-in at its Frederick, Maryland headquarters for the past two years, but has decided to visit a different mid-Atlantic location in 2016.

"We wanted to be able to visit another fun airport within reach of the greater Washington, D.C., area and meet folks who might not be able to make it to Frederick,” said Baker. “So for 2016, we’ll spend a weekend in North Carolina instead. But we also know our members enjoy coming home to headquarters, so we’ll definitely return to Maryland in the future."

Features for 2016 fly-ins include:


Yuma Airport Celebrates General Aviation Appreciation Month

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Senator Pancrazi reads a proclomation at Million Air in Yuma.

Yuma International Airport and several resident aviation companies will recognize area pilots during its quarterly General Aviation (GA) social on September 23rd. The GA social will be to recognize and celebrate September as General Aviation Appreciation Month as proclaimed by Arizona Legislators with the passage of SCR-1007.

Senator Lynne Pancrazi will read the proclamation which recognizes Arizona’s 83 airports with 17,986 pilots and 6,561 general aviation aircraft – ranking Arizona as fifth in the United States with active aircraft. The proclamation addresses the vital role general aviation plays in Arizona’s economy, contributing nearly $609 million in economic impact creating 6,900 jobs.

“We are pleased with the State’s passage of this proclamation and are proud to celebrate Yuma’s strong and vibrant aviation community.” Airport Director, Gladys Wiggins shared. “General aviation has played an important role in Yuma for over 100 years in the private and corporate aviation as well as the aviation industry. From the first aircraft landing by Robert Fowler in 1911, to the Endurance Flight in 1949 on through today’s testing and training, aviators have embraced and thrived in Yuma’s never-ending sunny skies.”

The airport team at Yuma International Airport continues its work to provide an environment for aviation to thrive in Yuma County well into the future. Wiggins continued, “We have invested over $20M in infrastructure here at Yuma International Airport and at Rolle Field in an effort to attract aviation industry, and have fostered partnerships with academia to encourage aviation related careers. The airport team also works diligently at various community events to bring awareness of aviation related programs such as Civil Air Patrol, AOPA and EAA.”

“During a recent Chamber event, we were excited to talk with so many people in our great community who are interested in learning how to fly!” said Gen Grosse, Corporate Accounts Manager. “We are hosting a Meet & Greet with local flight instructors on October 21st from 5:30-7:00 in the airport’s conference room on the second floor and encourage everyone interested to join. This is an excellent opportunity to ask questions, learn about the process and begin the path to make those dreams soar.”


American Airlines Commits to Yuma Airport

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Gladys Wiggins

Not long after the announcement that Yuma International Airport had a record year in 2014, American Airlines (formerly US Airways) has committed to a five year lease at the airport. Not only has the airline committed to provide continued jet service between Phoenix and Yuma, they have invested in an expanded footprint inside the passenger terminal building.

“We are very excited to announce this new agreement and look forward to working with American Airlines in their effort to provide services to our flying travelers (commuters) throughout our region,” said Gladys Wiggins, Airport Director. “Their investment in our community is evident with this new agreement as well as their recent remodel of the ticket counter and expansion of their footprint in the terminal. American Airlines is truly committed to providing the best air service for our community and in the industry.”

While American Airlines will continue to provide air service from Yuma to Phoenix, airport officials are hopeful that data received by the Federal Aviation Administration in July confirming Yuma International Airport’s record commercial airline passenger activity in 2014 will help open discussions for additional routes.

Wiggins said that Yuma is very fortunate to have one of the world’s largest airlines serving their market and as a legacy air carrier, she is confident that American will see an increase in passenger travel over the course of these next few years. “We look forward to a long-lasting supportive relationship with the local American Airlines team,” said Wiggins.


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.