March 16, 2009

Spring Weather Brings Crowded Skies

weekendflight.jpgThe mercury is on the rise in thermometers throughout the Midwest and pilots are finding their way back to the airport. I could not resist the call and reserved a plane for a weekend afternoon flight, my first in over a month. While enjoying the first jacketless pre-flight of the year I noticed all the empty spots on the tarmac and realized I was not the only one with the great idea of going flying.

After engine start-up and taking down ATIS notes I had to be patient to wait for a break in all the radio chatter to make my initial call-up to Chicago Executive ground control. I informed them that after departing their airspace I would be interested in flight following for my flight to Waukesha (KUES). Sometimes getting flight following in the Chicago airspace can be hit or miss and I worried that I might not get flight following as I figured the controllers would be busy. I was right about them being busy but they were able to support my request.

As I departed the Chicago Executive airspace I counted more than seven airplanes on the G1000 MFD. I felt confident I would have safe separation from the aircraft with the combination of my visual scan, the G1000 traffic advisories and updates from the air traffic controllers.

The weather was ideal for flying with light and variable winds, unrestricted visibility and no sign of a ceiling in any direction. After a nice 40 minute flight I arrived at a busy Waukesha airport. There were several planes performing their pre-flight run-up and three planes in addition to mine that were communicating to the tour while heading inbound for landings. I made a nice smooth landing and taxied to the terminal for a short break.

When I was ready to depart for the return leg I had the airwaves and airport to myself. On the return flight I again requested and received flight following. At one point the controller pointed out traffic to my two o'clock position eastbound and also a plane at eleven o'clock northwestbound both at ~3,000 feet I watched from a few thousand feet above and a mile or so away as these two airplanes crossed paths much closer than I would have preferred as one of the pilots. I don't believe either was taking advantage of flight following services as I never heard the controller give either of them traffic advisories.

I highly recommend pilots take advantage of flight following whenever they can on a VFR flight. When I trained my instructors never spent much time teaching me how to request flight following and how to use the service. I found this PDF to be a valuable resource for detailing how flight following works.

I enjoyed adding another new airport to my list of airports visited while also building more time and experience in the G1000 enabled Cessna 172SP. I will be publishing a few posts in the coming week outlining some of the tools I have used in the past few weeks to continue to learn all the great features of the G1000.

Posted by at March 16, 2009 9:50 PM
Comments

thank you for sharing

Posted by: zylhuette at March 21, 2009 1:17 AM

It was fun to see you flying overhead last weekend ... :) Hope this weekend's weather is flight-worthy as well!

Posted by: CJ at March 24, 2009 10:53 AM

Given our main practice area for student pilots is right underneath the flight path for our main international airport and between two major routes into town for the rest of the smaller traffic, I am a very big believer in flight following, especially when maneuvering.

It always makes approach happier to know where I am and what I'm doing, and in return, they give heads-ups to help keep me separated from the 737's wake turbulence, the C-130's coming in low to base, and the Cessnas coming and going from town.

Posted by: Wing and A Whim at March 30, 2009 9:11 AM

Woah! I'm really digging the template/theme of this blog. It's simple, yet effective. A lot of times it's hard to get that "perfect balance" between usability and appearance. I must say you've done a amazing job with this. Additionally, the blog loads super fast for me on Safari. Excellent Blog!

Posted by: Cira Degroff at April 15, 2011 11:54 AM
Post a comment