We read with great interest two recent letters to the editor regarding the airport. Our comments address the weather reporting and instrument landing procedures issues raised in the letters.
We recently moved to Payson from Denver. We are building a home and hangar in the Mazatzal Mountain Airpark. We use our airplane to travel around the country. From our perspective, the two deficiencies of the Payson airport are the lack of weather reporting and an instrument landing procedure. Both capabilities, as we understand it, are being addressed and will soon be available.
Weather reporting will allow pilots to learn the current and recent past weather to develop some idea on the weather trend for the area. This is very helpful if you are sitting in the Panhandle of Texas wondering what the actual weather is in Payson, your destination.
An instrument approach into Payson would be very beneficial even if the weather is not below the minimums for visual flight. The primary reason is that the instrument approach provides for terrain clearance. It can also be helpful during twilight and night conditions, since we have very few outside surface lights to aid in identifying terrain. Additionally, the instrument procedure should provide for a departure route that ensures terrain clearance for the pilot.
We always travel on an instrument flight plan. The Payson airport is about 5,200 feet elevation. Air traffic control will descend an airplane no lower than 10,000 or 11,000 feet when arriving from the north. That is sometimes not low enough to be below a cloud layer, even though it could be a perfectly legal visual flight rules day in Payson. An instrument approach would allow the pilot to safely and easily descend into Payson for a landing.
A recent article in the Payson Roundup discussed the economic impact that the Tonto Apache Tribe has on the economy. It said the out-of-town customers were the "engine customers. They bring new money to the Rim country." People who fly into Payson for the weekend to play a few rounds of golf or for business during the week also fit that category. Weather reporting and an instrument landing procedure will make it safer, easier and more comfortable for these out of town pilots to select Payson as a destination.
Robert & Ann Henley