Home > Lessons, Uncategorized > Atlantic City Gamble (part 1)

Atlantic City Gamble (part 1)

Had a long cross country trip to Atlantic City (KACY) yesterday the idea being to fly there in the afternoon, spend some time at the illustrious casinos and fly back at night, so I get lots of my night flying requirements. Too much to tell in one post so this is a two parter! (try to contain your excitement)

The big motivation for Atlantic City is to take my son, the professional poker player (now that’s a story!) and as it turns out another friend of his. All told there were four people in the plane, me, instructor, son and friend of son. We wound up flying a Cessna 172 as usual but not my old standby the 911AT which has 180hp and took a somewhat smaller plane the N52632. Taking off from KGAI it was a loooooong roll till we were airborne, which we expected but it was very interesting the effect of weight on these little planes.

I wanted to fly by Millville NJ airport because I expect to fly there on occasion, as I have family in the Vineland area right next door. Originally I thought we might land there or do a touch and go, but with four people and since I wasn’t meeting anyone it seemed somewhat pointless to land and we just flew over and waved. It was useful however to observe the airport’s runway configuration, as it has two large runways but one had big yellow X’s at each end, designating it as closed. Gotta remember that.

We did all the navigation via GPS with was nice and while the user interface of the Garmin really sucks I am starting to appreciate the equipments usefulness. We were flying fairly low 1500MSL for much of the trip since the cloud cover was too damn low for 80% of the trip. My instructor seemed to enjoy the clouds but I wasn’t that thrilled. Watching the ground and horizon disappear is not something I’m used to and although only for a very short time it certainly gets the blood pumping.

One of the nice features of the Garmin (which as I said I’m coming to appreciate) is that if you fly low, the system flashes alerts about obstacles. I didn’t realize it could do that and even though our charts informed us to the highest obstacles the Garmin flashing warnings was useful (and annoying at the same time). My instructor also showed me how with a quick turn of one of the dials you can see the nearest airports, with runway lengths, frequencies and so on…a great feature in a pinch.

My radio PTT (push to talk) button had a lot of problems and I wasn’t able to effectively talk to the various towers, approach and control folks so for most of the trip my instructor had to do most of the talking, which was pretty annoying. Even more annoying was an issue with the transponder (but stay tuned for that in part 2!).

Atlantic City’s (KACY) is the first class C airport I’ve flown into and it seems that one of the big differences is that you need to contact “approach” and establish two way communications with them before you talk to the “tower”. All in all the various different people we needed to talk to was pretty overwhelming and I definitely need more practice (and I wasn’t even talking most of the time)!  Lots of radio frequency switching and futzing with the equipment to get prepared for the anticipated radio changes and trying to listen to weather all at once. Since the weather was so crappy (minimal VFR) we asked Baltimore Control for flight following which was cool to learn more about. It was nice to know someone was keeping track of us.

As we got close to KACY the weather was much nicer with a higher and very scattered cloud cover.  We hear over the radio, “fighter jets coming in for landing Runway 13” and we see a couple of F15’s flying right over the airport, landing and swooping around…cool! As we come in for our landing onto KACY’s large runways we have a non eventful somewhat bumpy landing but not too bad (the usual). We hold short talking to ground control and see (probably the same F15) land on the cross runway right in front of us which was very cool. We taxi to our destination right behind the fighters and decide that if the plane “light us up” we want ejection seats 😉

We pull up to the Midlantic small terminal for general aviation planes, get out and call for a cab. While waiting in the terminal my son and friend start chuckling because Phil Ivey, probably the most famous poker player in the world is having lunch there with his small possee. He obviously travels via one of the private jets parked right outside. Totally amusing!

Stay tuned for part 2 “the return trip” with exciting equipment failures!

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Categories: Lessons, Uncategorized
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