Friday, May 13, 2011

Off to Training in Atlanta

It's that time of year again.  Like most pilots, my insurance company "requires" (or should I say "financially encourages") me to take annual recurrent training.  The first few years of plane ownership, I would simply follow the basic FAA Wings program and do some 1-1 training with a local flight instructor.  This was enough to satisfy the insurance company and the FAA.  However, I rarely found it to be very significant.

Last year, I found a much better approach.  The Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) sponsors a 2 day program called the Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Program (CPPP).  I attended one in Lakeland, FL last year and found it to be very worthwhile.  The program entails about 10 hours of ground school and 6 hours of flight school.  This weekend there is a CPPP in Atlanta.

So this morning I flew from Tampa to Cobb County McCollum Airport on the north side of Atlanta. The flight was uneventful until I got close to Atlanta Hartsfield's Class B airspace.  Then it got interesting!

The ATL Approach controller was busy orchestrating ~ 8 different aircraft and seemed a bit grumpy.  Every plane on the frequency seemed to be in the wrong position.  For about 10 minutes, there was not a single break on the radio with every transmission being rapid-fire instructions for heading and altitude changes.  When he finally got around to me, he seemed in a hurry to get rid of me.  He gave me a heading change, an altitude change, the Turbo 2 Arrival Procedure and a frequency change!  I repeated the whole thing back and was happy to change frequencies.  Thankfully, the next controller and frequency seemed to be much calmer.

I then tried to pull up the Turbo 2 procedure chart only to realize that it didn't exist!  However, there was a TRBOW 8 procedure.   I confirmed with the controller, who laughed and told me (in his southern drawl) "there's only one Turbo procedure 'round here and it's Turbo 8"  As you can probably tell, not only was this frequency calmer, the controller was much friendlier.  In fact, when he gave frequency changes, it was often accompanied with "Good Day Y'All" 

After he vectored me to a straight in RNAV GPS 27 approach, I flew a rather good approach but the landing wasn't great.  It was smooth but a little left of centerline.  Luckily, the long, wide runway was quite forgiving.  The line crew @ Preferred Jet Center towed me into a parking space next to 4 other Cirrus planes.  Made for a cool picture today:

By the time "school" starts tomorrow, there should be 2 dozen more Cirrus planes on the ramp.  Hopefully, I can get an even cooler picture and some videos sometime this weekend.

Cheers,

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