South Carolina Aviation Association
2021 Summer Edition
SC Airports System Lands a Win With S.675!
In This Issue...
Aviation and Aeronautics Update Annual Conference Recap Aviation Week
SC Aviation Association Update Terry Connorton SCAA President As Director of the Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport, I run the airport with three objectives in mind: to recognize and remember those who came before us, to manage the airport as a business, and to connect the community with aviation. I see the airport with a past, a present, and a future. Every airport has a story, and I am fortunate to have an airport with an exciting history. When Charles Lindbergh visited South Carolina on his tour of the 48 states following his historic Atlantic crossing in 1927, he came to Spartanburg for the simple reason that it was, at the time, the only airport in the state. Does your airport have a story to tell? Today airports mean business. Every year many thousands of visitors arrive at our general aviation and commercial airports. Visitors to South Carolina often have expenditures for lodging, food, ground transportation, entertainment and retail purchases. Visitor spending helps support jobs and payroll, primarily in the hospitality business. How can your airport promote local goods and services? Future opportunities are with the next generation to take over the reins when we leave. Connections are made through aviation outreach to the local community, making the airport an asset where anybody can come out, learn and experience aviation first-hand. I want to make sure that we’re not just reaching out to people who have airplanes. I want to make sure we’re reaching out to people who don’t, but who can see the possibilities given the opportunity. If a young person came to your airport interested in aviation, how could you help them? As the new President of the South Carolina Aviation Association, I would like to challenge each of our airport’s leadership with past, present, and future perspectives. Do you see your airport with any of these perspectives? These three perspectives reveal themselves to us in many exciting ways. A few months ago, we were clearing out a T-Hanger and came across an old cardboard box. Inside, we found an old dusty aviation base radio station. It had some of the knobs missing on the front, so it could only transmit at 123.00 (Spartanburg CTAF). Being a bit of a techie, I had to see if it still worked. I cleaned off the dust and grime, made some cable repairs, and fired it up! Sure enough, the radio began to chatter away with our pattern aircraft around the airport, and I wondered when was the last time it made a transmission. It was at this time we noticed an inscription etched on the back of the microphone, reading “Lee Orr.” Lee was inducted into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame in 2001 and had a 50-year career teaching aviation in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Her microphone was a Shure 488 SONOBAR made in Chicago in the mid-1960s, at a cost of $72.50, which was a lot of money back then. As an aviation microphone, the advertising claimed: “gets the message through EVEN WHEN THE SPEAKER CAN’T HEAR HIMSELF!” I guess Lee wanted to make sure her students got the message. While Lee passed away in January 2020, I am sure she would still like to keep her students safe while traversing around the treacherous airport patten, so I installed her old radio and microphone inside our control tower. It is now a piece of history that can still be used today. It also has a story for our young aviators to touch and see because they were provided the opportunity to come to the airport.
Terry Connorton Page 2 Palmetto Aviation
SC Aeronautics Update James Stephens SC Aeronautics Commission Executive Director Did you know that in 1935, Act 317 of the State Legislature created the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission? Did you know that our Aeronautics Commission was created before the Civil Aeronautics Authority (the precursor to the FAA)? I didn’t … Often, I’m asked about the Commission and its purpose. Those questions make me look back at our history and the thought process that was apparent during the creation of the acts and rules that were put in place by the legislature throughout the history of the Commission. Our history, as stated previously goes back many, many years, but our purpose has changed little. Act 317 gave a responsibility to the Aeronautics Commission to foster air commerce, supervise aeronautical aviation activities and facilities, and provided for the formation of rules and regulations for public safety. Although the rules and regulations have changed and been added to (significantly), the purpose of public safety remains. Today, our industry has made it through another type of change. A change that has negatively impacted each of our airports and most of our airport users and tenants. We’ve seen passenger enplanements plummet due to travel restrictions. We’ve seen regular charter destinations devastated due to individual state restrictions. We’ve seen significant air service reductions across the country, and we’ve seen airport communities’ revenues drop drastically due to low tourism numbers. Airlines for America (A4A) states that “U.S. passenger airlines incurred $35 billion net losses ($46 billion pre-tax) in 2020. Air cargo demand reached an all-time high in 2020. U.S. passenger airline operating revenues fell 66 – 67 percent from 2019 in January to February 2021.” Here’s the point: The impacts have been great! But where are we going from here? A4A says that it will take years for airlines to retire their new debt incurred due to COVID-19, and that interest expense will likely limit the ability of airlines to rehire and reinvest. They also state that passenger volumes are unlikely to return to 2019’s numbers until 2023 at the earliest. Other projections from A4A, International Civil Aviation Organization and other aviation data analysts agree that the rebound that has been experienced since we hit bottom will continue to grow if other outside uncontrollable events don’t again impede the trends. For South Carolina’s statewide impacts, we’ve experienced fuel sales tax reductions due to fewer fuel sales at airport Fixed Base Operators, and we’re anticipating a reduction in airline property taxes in 2022. We’ve also seen a reduction in state funding requests due to the FAA’s 100 percent grant program over the last two years. The full impact of these differing situations remains to be seen, but they will play out over the next couple years. However, we’re excited by the signing of S.675 into law, as this is a tremendous step for South Carolina’s airport system. I’d like to thank SCAA for their proactive approach to the revenue issue faced by the State Aviation Fund. I look forward to celebrating this legislative victory during SC Aviation Week. As for change and history, they’re both inevitable. Change will come, and history will be made. The question is, how will each of us impact both for the benefit of aviation? Blue Skies,
James Stephens Palmetto Aviation Page 3
The event began with a golf outing in support of the SCAA Scholarship Fund and an outdoor welcome reception.
SC Aviation Association Holds Annual Conference Blended In-person and Virtual Event Brings Aviation Industry Updates to South Carolina’s Airport System and Beyond SCAA held its Annual Conference at the Sonesta Resort in Hilton Head Island on Feb. 24 – 26, 2021. This event brought together individuals from the state’s airport system, aviation industry representatives, the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission, National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and covered topics ranging from aviation industry trends and updates, an airport showcase, safety initiatives, networking and innovation.
Pictured at right: William “Bill” Kendall (top) and Darwin H. Simpson (bottom), 2021 SC Aviation Hall of Fame Inductees.
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Pictured above: Darlington County Airport Manager Barry Kennett discusses safety initiatives with an exhibitor at the SCAA Annual Conference.
Pictured above: Jon Rembold, C.M., Beaufort County Airports Director, presented a Hilton Head Island Airport showcase, describing how the airport’s master plan led to a runway extension and even further airport expansion.
Pictured above: Attendees and exhibitors met for networking, demonstrations and catching up during breaks in conference education. Special thanks to all onsite participants, who complied with health and safety guidelines in place to help create a safe event full of value for all.
Pictured above: FAA SC FSDO GA Award winners stand with FAASTeam Program Managers. Pictured left to right: Lanny Cline, FAASTeam Program Manager, Operations; Charles J. Copley, III, CFI of the Year; Scott G. Newsome, FAASTeam Representative of the Year; John L. “Chuck” Hyer, Aviation Maintenance Technician of the Year; James A. Dangerfield, FAASTeam Program Manager, Airworthiness. Pictured right: During the 2021 SC Aviation Hall of Fame Banquet, where William “Bill” Kendall and Darwin Simpson were inducted, 2001 Inductee Roland “Rocky” Gannon (pictured at right) delivered a memorable video memoir of his life’s achievements. While COVID-19 prevented Rocky from traveling to Hilton Head Island from his home in Florence, all eyes were trained on the screen as Rocky regaled attendees with stories from his childhood, military experience, work as an aviation consultant and as the former executive director of Florence Regional Airport. Both humorous and touching, the presentation will long be remembered as an all-time favorite. To view Rocky’s video, visit https://scaaonline.com/scaa-hall-of-fame/.
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The Eyes Have It
By: Lt. Gen. Tom Waskow, USAF (Ret.) “Dragnet, Picture?” I radioed Airborne Warning and Control (AWACS), hoping they were on their game that day. “Three groups, marshalling over Bullseye,” came the response to my call. And so, my fellow pilots and I began to build our situational awareness (SA) as we ingressed at Mach 0.9 toward the 30-plus Red Air forces.
Provided by: Leo Berube, CFI, CFII, MEI SCAA Board of Directors FAASTeam Representative In early May 2005, I received a phone call from the Charlotte Flight Standards District Office (CLTFSDO) regarding Military/Civilian Transition Training for a retiring United States Air Force Fighter Pilot. Transitioning a highly experienced USAF Command Pilot from military operational procedures to Federal Aviation Regulations (Civilian) operations required a Plan of Action that encompassed 14 CFR Part 61, Part 91, Federal Aviation Regulations, procedures in Class A, B, C, D Airspaces, and Instrument Flight Rules for airway operations including various instrument approaches concluding with an Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC).
In the spring of 1981, Red Flag 81-3 kicked off in its usual fashion, providing the best air combat training in the world. [Editor’s Note: Red Flag is a multi-week exercise held several times a year by the United States Air Force, offering realistic air combat training for U.S. military pilots and allied countries.] Featuring more than 30 fighters including USAF Aggressors flying F-5s, F-4s and F-15s to provide the Red Air (hostile); and 40 fighters, tankers, tactical airlift and AWACS aircraft as Blue Air (friendly), the air war was complete. One thing was sure: Each of the morning and afternoon exercises would include a true multi-bogey environment. As I led the first wall of eight Eagles, our ship elements trained radars on the developing Red Air tactic. Hearing the controllers call, “Eagle 01, three groups, one group at Bullseye, one group Bullseye 180 at 20, one group Bullseye 270 at 10,” this first wave of Blue Air began to execute our targeting plan. The air war began based on our Bullseye point (we had chosen a prominent mountain, Quartzite peak, as Bullseye), and the multi-bogey environment was seconds away. (Continued on page 13)
In February 2017, I invited and had the honor of introducing Tom Waskow, Lt. General USAF (Ret.) as Keynote Speaker at the South Carolina Aviation Association Annual Conference in Isle of Palms, S.C. “The Military Response to the 9/11 Attacks” was an insightful and riveting presentation with accompanying graphic color photography. In keeping with our current Safety Update theme, “The Eyes Have It” is part one of a two-part series that addresses inflight methods of improving visual scan techniques and developing overall Situational Awareness (SA).
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Refueling aircraft fly among fighter jets during Red Air exercises. Pilots must have situational awareness at all times.
SC Aviation Week is August 15 – 21 SC Aviation Week is scheduled for August 15 – 21, 2021. Proclaimed by Gov. Henry McMaster, SC Aviation Week highlights economic development through airport improvement and expansion, showcases education opportunities by connecting communities to local airports and celebrates legislative support of the state’s airport system and aviation industry. Airports across the state are invited to participate by planning an event that reflects these goals. To assist, SCAA has developed event manuals based on event type. Each packet will contain example ideas for that type of event, as well as templates for to-do lists, event timelines, letters of invitation, press releases, and more. This framework is free and available to all SC publicly owned, public use airports. Manuals are available for an Open House, Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, Education/Community-Focused Event, and Safety Event/FOD Walk. To request a kit email email@example.com or call 877-359-7222.
2021 Aviation Week Challenge! SCAA challenges every airport to host an event during Aviation Week. One of the simplest ways to achieve this is to plan and host a FOD Walk between August 15 – 21. The event can be small and limited to airport staff and tenants. However, airports may also involve pilots and other airport users, as well as community members. FOD prevention is simple, low-cost exercise that can yield tremendous safety results. Finding and removing FOD increases airport safety, reminds airplane owners and pilots to check for FOD, and reduces financial burdens on airport users, and can even minimize the burden on local taxpayers.
Ceremonial Signing of State Aviation Fund S.675 SCAA is working with the Office of the Governor and Sen. Josh Kimbrell, who wrote S. 675 and championed the legislation in the
Statehouse, to plan a ceremonial signing of the State Aviation Fund Bill during SC Aviation Week. While subject to change due to scheduling, the signing is planned to take place at Spartanburg Downtown Memorial Airport, in Sen. Kimbrell’s district. To read more about how this bill will positively impact the state airport system, turn to page 8.
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Legislative News: Aviation-Friendly Bills Signed Into Law On May 18, Gov. Henry McMaster signed S. 675 into law. This act will amend existing funding laws by: • In the first year, directing the first $1.25 million from the airline property tax receipts to the General Fund of the State, and the remaining amount to the State Aviation Fund. • In the second and subsequent years, directing all airline property taxes to the State Aviation Fund. Prior to this legislation, the first $2.5 million from airline property tax receipts were directed to the General Fund, the second $2.5 million were directed to the State Aviation Fund, and everything over $5 million was split evenly between the two funds. Previously, South Carolina’s four largest commercial airports were not supported with funds from the State Aviation Fund, causing them extra work to obtain airport improvement project matching funds and putting off other projects
By the Numbers – Aviation in South Carolina
that impact the competitiveness of South Carolina. This change paves the way for funding scenarios that impact the entire state airport system. Airports are the gateway to South Carolina. This act is a crucial step to keeping airport infrastructure up to date and in place to meet demands of travel, commerce, business development and recreation. Nearby states are already maximizing grants for commercial and general aviation airports, and this update will help keep South Carolina competitive.
58 PUBLIC OWNED/PUBLIC USE AIRPORTS:
52 General Aviation
Small Commercial Service
Large Commercial Service
AIRPORTS WITH 5,000 FEET OR MORE RUNWAY • 27 General Aviation • 6 Commercial Service TOTAL ECONOMIC IMPACT* • $16.3 Billion/Year • 122,759 Employment • $4.8 Billion Annual Payroll • 11.5 Billion Annual Spending - $656.9 Million Tax Revenues * Source: 2018 SC Aeronautics Commission Economic Impact Study
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Passage of this legislation is a allowing for increased service to shared victory for South Carolina the state’s airport system. With Aeronautics Commission, the these two accomplishments, South state airport system, airport users Carolina is ready to take its place and tenants and SCAA members. as a driving force in aerospace and Special thanks to bill sponsors aviation in the years to come. Senators Josh Kimbrell, Rex Recently, SCAA hired lobbyist Ben Rice, Scott Talley, Harvey Peeler, Homeyer to support the association’s Michael Gambrell, Ross Turner, legislative efforts, including the Thomas Alexander, Sean Bennett, passing of S. 675, State Aviation Billy Garrett and Richard Cash. Fund Legislation. Thank you also to the Senate With more than a decade of lobbying Finance Committee led by SCAA LOBBYIST BEN HOMEYER experience in South Carolina and Chairman Sen. Hugh Leatherman 17 years working with and for the and the House Ways and Means S.C. General Assembly and the state’s executive branch, Committee led by Rep. Murrell Smith for their Homeyer served five years as legislative director to the uncontested support of this legislation. SCAA thanks South Carolina House Ways and Means Committee. He our members who urged their legislators to vote yes on coordinated more than 400 bills each session, directed S. 675 and encourages you to send a brief note of thanks the appropriation of $700 million in state funds and to all who supported this bill. analyzed legislation concerning property tax reform The previous legislative session also yielded positive and health care. results, featuring the Sept. 28, 2020, signing of S. SCAA thanks Homeyer for his guidance and knowledge, 1048, which allows South Carolina Aeronautics which proved integral to recent legislative achievements. Commissioners to serve two consecutive terms,
Legislative Fund SCAA welcomes contributions to its legislative fund, which are not deductible for federal income tax purposes as charitable contributions. Payments may be deductible as a business expense. To make a contribution, visit the Legislative page on scaaonline.com. The legislative fund support the association’s legislative activities, and SCAA is grateful for the support of its legislative sponsors:
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a well-trained staff. Other airport amenities include flight planning and catering, as well as a pilot lounge, quiet room, free crew car, car rental and conference room.
Anderson Regional Airport - The Legacy Continues By 1897, Anderson, South Carolina, boasted electric streetcars, streetlamps and the world’s first electricallypowered cotton gin. Today, Anderson is also known as the City of Hospitality and the Friendliest City in South Carolina. Anderson County Airport, founded in 1927, was a grass field located where the Anderson Civic Center stands today and designated as an emergency landing field. Eventually it was used to deliver air mail. Amelia Earhart visited the airport on Nov. 14, 1931. Anderson was among the many South Carolina airport stopovers Earhart made during her southeastern Beech Nut Gum tour. Greeted by more than 1,000 excited residents, Earhart’s visit raised great enthusiasm in the community, Within the year, local officials bought land to develop a new airport facility three miles from downtown Anderson. During World War II, the airport was an auxiliary airfield for the U. S. Army Air Forces, supporting the combat flight training at Greenville Army Airbase. In 1950, Eastern Airlines scheduled daily departures. While the airport was one of Eastern’s smallest stations, famed WWI fighter ace and eventual CEO of Eastern Airlines, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker, made an unannounced stop. This visit was chronicled in an issue of Life magazine. A new terminal was built in 1970 and served the airport for 50 years. Eventually, it was determined this terminal had asbestos and the costs of removing it and bringing it to current building codes were higher than constructing a new building. The decision was made to build a new terminal and demolish the old one after its completion. In May 2018, plans for a $6.1 million new general aviation terminal and face lift of a runway were approved. The 7,000-square-foot terminal was completed last year. The design is similar to the style of Cabela’s Sporting Goods stores, with its large wooden beams on the interior and rock and stone exterior and covering 7,000 sq. ft. In fact, the locals call it Little Cabela’s. The FAA Part 139 Airport has a Category I Instrument Landing System for all weather operations. Fueling, aircraft storage, pilot services and aircraft services are provided by
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Above: Eddie Rickenbacker was known for flying the Eastern Airlines system and showed up unexpectedly. LIFE captured these images of Rickenbacker looking over the terminal at Anderson during a surprise 1949 visit. Below: The Anderson Regional Airport as it stands today.
The Anderson Regional Airshow is held annually with county residents in mind. Attendees come at no charge. Unfortunately, the 2020 show was cancelled due to COVID-19. Scheduled headliner was Patty Wagstaff, a three-time national aerobatics champion, six-time member of the U. S. Aerobatic Team and Inductee into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. One of the honored guests included Captain Lori Cline, Chief Pilot for American Airlines who appeared as herself in the movie, “Sully.” An accomplished aviator, Cline has logged more than 21,000 hours of flight time. Due to runway resurfacing, the airshow will not be held in 2021.
Brett Garrison –– son of the late Reid Garrison, an S.C. Aviation Hall of Fame Inductee-–was appointed airport manager in March 2020. Hospitality and friendliness are what you will experience flying into the airport, which is exactly what the new management has brought to fruition. Brett is very familiar among the aviation community in Anderson, as he is a lifelong resident and grew up around the airfield, beginning his career as an FBO line tech at Anderson Aviation in 1985. During his aviation career, Brett earned his instrument, multiengine, commercial and ATP rating, and currently has more than 5,000 hours of total flight time. His 32 years of aviation experience include flying as a corporate pilot, working as a certified A&P aircraft mechanic, and general manager. Continuing in the family, brother Jeff manages the FBO at Oconee County Regional Airport. Airports are a vital element of economic development and Brett states when businesspeople fly into the airport, he wants them to see a modern building with all of the amenities corporate flyers expect. He wants pilots to feel they are receiving service which is a cut above and pass the word. Anderson Regional Airport has all that and more. Looks like the legacy is paying off.
Corporate Spotlight: CHS Flight School
Flight students have a great deal of choice on where to spend their time and money on flight training. In 2020, CHS Flight School averaged 10 check rides per month, 6,500 hours of flight time and added 288 new pilots. It’s the largest flight school in South Carolina with 15 airplanes over five airports, 25 instructors and two fully functioning Redbird flight simulators. Why do so many individuals in the greater Charleston area choose CHS Flight School? Whether it’s the nearby locations, the experienced instructors, or the options on aircraft and simulators, the school adds more new pilots to the GA community than any other flight school in South Carolina. CHS Flight School has multiple locations at Charleston International Airport, Charleston Executive Airport, Mount Pleasant Regional Airport, Summerville Airport and Georgetown County Airport. The school offers traditional courses for Private Pilot, Instrument, Commercial and CFI ratings. CHS Flight School also features accelerated flight training courses for Private Pilot and Instrument ratings; IFR6, a six-Day Instrument course; and Com3, a three-Day Commercial course. Pioneering the use of simulators in flight training, CHS Flight School has created its own syllabus, now in use at flight schools across the country. Owner Michael McCurdy is a flight school consultant who has advised flight schools outside the state on using a simulator to attain high quality flight training. The teaching philosophy at CHS Flight School is based on the benefit of repetitive training: individuals do best what they practice most. CHS Flight School recognizes that the airplane is inefficient for that type of training. They increase repetition and build muscle memory in a low-risk, low-stress environment of the of the flight simulator. Once a student has established the pattern of repetition, they take to the airplane, often able to start-up, taxi, run-up and take off on their very first flight with almost no assistance from their CFI. That philosophy unites all instructors at CHS Flight School in the belief that people don’t approach a flight school to take flight lessons, they go to get a pilot license. The school helps students achieve that goal as quickly, inexpensively and safely as possible. CHS Flight School’s list of standards includes scenarios that prepares pilots for real-world flying, and students must take-off from and land on a grass field at least once during training, refuel the airplane from a self-serve pump at least once, performing a weight and balance before every flight, and perform a take-off briefing from their first flight. Solo cross-country flights must be to unfamiliar airports. In addition to helping individuals become pilots, CHS Flight School is community minded. The company sponsors an Explorer Aviation Post, which provides a hands-on introduction to careers in the field of aviation to young women and men from 6th grade to 20 years old. Additionally, the organization contributes to multiple charity events each year, including Charleston Duck Race, which funds multiple area projects and nonprofit organizations. For information on flight training in the Charleston area, visit chsflightschool.com, call 842-478-4334 or use the online contact form at chsflightschool.com/contact.
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S.C. High School Graduate Plans Trip Across Lower 48 Ben Templeton will Promote Aviation and Triple Tree Aerodrome Along the Way Triple Tree Aerodrome is proud to support BenFlies. com. This event is the culmination of years of planning and developing Triple Tree’s Aviation Centered Education Portfolio or ACE. ACE is a comprehensive group of educational programs designed for current and aspiring aviators of all ages. One of the program participants, Ben Templeton, has asked to fly the iconic Triple Tree Aerodrome J-3 Piper Cub to all 48 states over the summer of 2021. The inspiration for this flight came from the founder of the Triple Tree Aerodrome, Pat Hartness. Pat’s son Ryan flew across the country and back when he was 18 years of age in the same J-3 Cub. Ben saw firsthand how the journey helped develop Ryan into not only an excellent pilot but a productive citizen. Ryan is now employed with FedEx as a 777 pilot, and Ben shares the same goal of one day becoming a commercial pilot.
Ben and his personal Cessna 120
Ben will also serve as a youth ambassador for the Triple Tree Aerodrome to fulfill our mission to ignite and expand the passion for aviation. Ben has meticulously planned out his journey to fly to 48 states and will land at over 100 airports. Some of his highlights along the way will be to compete in the International Miniature Aerobatic Club (IMAC) international competition at the Academy of Model Aeronautics Headquarters in Muncie, Indiana, and landing at Amboy Airport on the iconic Route 66 in California. Ben will graduate in June, and after walking across the stage to get his diploma, he will head to the airport to begin his 8,300-mile journey. According to Ben’s calculation, visiting all 48 states will take a little more than 2 months. After completing the trip, he will fly to Middle Georgia State University, where he plans to Major in Aviation Science Management. Ben estimates the cost to be $15,000, including fuel, lodging, food, and maintenance. He will be actively fundraising to finance this trip. Please visit the website www.benflies.com to donate to the trip and to follow along with Ben on his journey! For further questions or how you can help support this trip, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben Templeton and Triple Tree Aerodrome Founder Pat Hartness in the Piper J-3 Cub that Ben will fly across the nation.
ID Requirements are Changing
Does your ID have a gold star? You will soon need a REAL ID-compliant license or another acceptable form of ID, such as a valid passport or U.S. military ID, to fly commercially within the U.S. Check with your state driver’s license agency to verify that your state-issued ID is compliant, and learn about flying with a REAL ID at tsa.gov/real-id. Due to circumstances resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and the national emergency declaration, the Department of Homeland Security has extended the REAL ID enforcement deadline to May 3, 2023. Page 12 Palmetto Aviation
LT. GEN. TOM WASKOW
(Safety Continued from page 13) During my 35-year career as an Air Force fighter pilot, one of the constants that has been proven in air-to-air combat is that. survival went to those with the best SA. In this article, I will share some of my thoughts on why the eyes have it. Our discussion of visual look out begins with an understanding of the human eye. As we studied for our GA Private Pilot certificate, we learned about the rods and cones in the eyeball and the two key components of human vision, focal vision and ambient vision. When we focus on an object, the eye consciously recognizes shapes and other physical characteristics in a slow and deliberate set of interactions with our brain. Ambient vision, on the other hand, gives us the instantaneous peripheral vision that provides the environment for our picture. The impact of these features is that when we focus on an object, it takes a few milliseconds for us to focus while losing fidelity on the surrounding environment. The average focal length of the eye is from 6 to 12 feet when not focusing on an object, and what our brain sees is a mosaic of both the focal object and the peripheral environment. It is our jobs as pilots to manage that picture. With that in mind, I offer three factors to consider when practicing your visual look out the next time that you fly: 1) Isolate the threat 2) Develop a disciplined scan pattern 3) Use all available aids in simplifying your scan.
FIRST, to isolate the threat, prioritize your scan where the most important threat to your safety will originate. For example, flying in the enroute structure I will attempt to rely on the old air-to-air rule: when approaching an aircraft head on, clear to the right. When entering the airport environment at an uncontrolled airport, your knowledge of the local environment will direct your scan. I will usually descend to pattern altitude well outside of the airport airspace so I can concentrate on looking for other traffic. I also used to teach the importance of “squinting with my ears” to build a picture of who has announced their intentions in the pattern.
SECOND, developing a disciplined search pattern takes time to internalize. With a focal length of 6 to 12 feet, a pilot has to create a scan pattern that begins with focusing on an object at a distance. I have found that a 30-degree scan pattern provides the best opportunity to pick up other aircraft. After each 30-degree scan, I will look back into the cockpit to check my instruments and move to the next 30-degree segment. Looking into the cockpit reduces my focal length to about 2 feet. My technique is to look at the gauges then immediately look out at a high color contrast object. This will re-extend my focus, so I can see the inbound traffic. By taking a mental picture of the information in the cockpit, I am forcing my brain to recall what I just saw to avoid fixating on the gauges so I can concentrate on the visual pickup. This will give you a central axis for your 30-degree pattern. With practice this will become second nature. The environment will have a significant effect on your visual pickups as well. Haze, a high overcast, broken cloud conditions casting shadows on the ground, and time of day will all factor in your ability to see. Remember, the eye will alert when it sees movement or high contrast across the scan pattern with your eye focused on one central object. THIRD, use all available SA tools that you have. One recent addition to that tool bag is ADSB. I am constantly reminded of the vast amount of information provided by ADSB that will enable you to sight other aircraft. Once an inbound aircraft pops up on the screen, the key is to focus on a disciplined scan looking for movement or contrasting colors and shapes. Another technique using the ADSB is to use the map display to facilitate your scan. VFR traffic likes to follow roads, power lines or other manmade objects from point to point. A lesson that I learned as a Forward Air Controller in Vietnam was always to look at the map for a key reference, map to ground, not ground to map (such as Quartzite peak during Red Flag 81-3). When an inbound aircraft passes that ground reference on the ADSB display, I now have a reference point where I can base my scan pattern. Once you have identified a potential traffic conflict, expand the display to no more than a 10-mile circle. You probably won’t be able to see a contact outside of 4 miles so the focus should be inside that range. Also, remember that there is a brief latency in the display of the data, so focus on where the target is headed, not where the ADSB says it is.
Hopefully I have given you some ideas to improve your visual look out. As you develop your own scan patterns, your confidence in your ability spot other aircraft early will enhance GA operations here in South Carolina. The good news is that I don’t anticipate any 40-airplane air furballs in our future, but it is always helpful to see a bogey before he or she sees you. Eagle 01, Out.
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Robert L. Sumwalt Retires from National Transportation Safety Board SC Aviation Hall of Fame Inductee served 15 years with NTSB and was Chairman from 2017-2021 Robert L. Sumwalt, a South Carolina native, began a career of aviation advocacy when he was a freshman at the University of South Carolina, organizing and managing the first UofSC Flying Club. Sumwalt later served as the first Chairman of the Richland County Airport Commission. As a commissioner, he served on the committee that reoriented the runway at Hamilton Owens Airport to make the airport safer. Sumwalt was Manager of Aviation for eight years for the SCANA Corporation, a Fortune 500 energy-based company. For 24 years, Sumwalt was an airline pilot with Piedmont Airlines and then US Airways. He received extensive experience as an airline captain, airline check airman, instructor pilot and air safety representative.
From 1991 to 1999, Sumwalt conducted aviation safety research as a consultant to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System, studying various issues including flight crew performance and air carrier de-icing and anti-icing problems. He worked on special assignment to the US Airways Flight Safety Department from 1997 to 2004, where he was involved in the development of numerous airline safety programs. Sumwalt served as a member of the Air Line Pilots Association’s (ALPA) Accident Investigation Board from 2002 to 2004, and he chaired ALPA’s Human Factors and Training Group. He was a co-founder of that organization’s Critical Incident Response Program, which provides guidance to airline personnel involved in traumatic events such as accidents. He co-authored a book on aircraft accidents and has written extensively on aviation safety, having published more than 85 articles and papers in aviation trade publications. In 2003, Sumwalt joined the faculty of the University of Southern California’s Aviation Safety and Security Program, where he was the primary human factors instructor. In recognition of his contributions to the aviation industry, Mr. Sumwalt received the Flight Safety Foundation’s Laura Taber Barbour Award in 2003 and ALPA’s Air Safety Award in 2004. Sumwalt was sworn in as the 37th Member of the National Transportation Safety Board on August 2006 and served as NTSB Chair from 2017 through June 2021. He was inducted to the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame in 2009.
Andy Busbee, P.E.
Michael Baker International
SCAA Welcomes New Board Members During the Annual Conference in Hilton Head Island, SCAA thanked outgoing directors Steven Gould, C.M., Bud Hawk, Hernan Peña and Philip Chandler. The organization welcomed four new directors to its board:
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Jasper County Council
SC Aviation Week 2021 Calendar of Events As of publishing, the following events are planned. For the latest updates, visit the Aviation Week section of the SCAA website. August 14 (Pre-Aviation Week Event) Rock Hill-York County Airport Rock Hill, SC 2nd Annual Tour de York Aerial Parade 10:30 a.m. Monday, August 16 Donaldson Field/SC Technology and Aviation Center F-16 Arresting Gear Ribbon Cutting Greenville, SC 11 a.m. *For safety concerns, this event is not open to the public* Spartanburg Memorial Downtown Airport Ceremonial Signing of S.675 Spartanburg, SC 2:30 p.m. Fairfield County Airport 3rd Annual Youth Discovery Flights Sponsored by S&S Aviation Winnsboro, SC Time TBA Wednesday, August 18 Sumter County Airport Showcase and South Carolina Avionics Ribbon Cutting Sumter, SC 9 a.m. Saturday, August 21 Barnwell Regional Airport Youth Education Event Barnwell, SC Time TBA Greenville Downtown Airport FOD Walk Greenville, SC Time TBA Sunday, August 22 (Post-Aviation Week Event) Triple Tree Aerodrome South Carolina Breakfast Club Woodruff, SC 9 a.m.
Membership Application South Carolina Aviation Association PO Box 80994, Charleston, SC 29416 (P) 1-877-FLY-SCAA // (E) email@example.com (W) www.scaaonline.com __ $25 __ $40 __ $250 __ $450
Student Membership Individual Membership (Pilot) Airport Membership (Includes 8 members) Corporate Membership (Includes 10 members, logo in all newsletters & email spotlight)
Membership Category Circle the category that best describes you: Pilot Government Offical* FBO Consultant Vendor Airport Manager *Includes airport commission member, state, federal, or other government agencies. Please include any additional descritions (with ratings) that apply to you on the line below. (Examples: Commissioner, Commissioner Chair, Airport, Executive Director, Manager, FBO, Consultant, Vendor, Pilot, etc.) ______________________________________________ ______________________________________________ ______________________________________________ Name _______________________________________ Affiliation____________________________________ Address_____________________________________ City/State/Zip________________________________ Phone_______________________________________ Email________________________________________ Circle your method of payment: Check Visa MC Amex Bill Me CC#________________________________________ EXP Date ____________________________________ Security Code_________________________________ Name/Billing Address _________________________ _____________________________________________ ___ Please send me a printed copy of Palmetto Aviation.
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PO Box 80994 Charleston, SC 29416 1-877-FLY SCAA (359-7222) www.scaaonline.com
Thank you SCAA corporate members!