It’s not just us in GA

November 14, 2008 by Mike Collins

Coming home from AOPA Expo the other day, aboard a Delta Air Lines Boeing 737, we took off from San Jose’s Runway 30 Right and began a climbing right turn toward Atlanta. We kept climbing–and turning, and turning, and turning.

As we headed west toward the Pacific, I wondered if we were returning to the airport, but we were still climbing. Finally, we stopped turning and headed in a southeasterly direction.

Disembarking in Atlanta, I asked the captain what was up with that departure. He told me the spiraling climb was normal for San Jose, necessary to avoid the San Francisco and Oakland airspace to the north.

It reminded me that those kinds of things don’t always happen just to those of us flying small aircraft. Departing IFR to the west from my home airport, Frederick Municipal, usually requires flying to the northeast for radar identification–and then a climbing right turn until the DG finally points to the “W.” Does anything like that happen to you?


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