Goin’ to Sun ‘n Fun

March 25, 2010 by Bruce Landsberg

It’s time for aviation’s Spring Break. Many of us are coming out of hibernation so we may be a bit rusty -  practice BEFORE heading south. Florida is home to some of  the most congested airspace in the country. Between training schools, colleges and universities and just a lot of GA pilots who revel in the sunshine, it’s a great place to fly – as long as you don’t swap paint with another aircraft.

ASF has complied a helpful list of free resources to get you to Sun ‘n Fun safely.

SNFNext week on Thursday April 1, at 8 pm, AOPA Pilot editor-in-chief, Tom Haines will host an ASF webinar on flying into Lakeland for Sun ‘n Fun. If you’re even just contemplating  the trip,  this would be time well spent.  Tom will be joined by a SNF Air Traffic Controller who will have the honor and the anxiety of helping throngs of GA aircraft come and go safely.

I’ll offer a couple of observations from my trips into KLAL during the big show.

1. This can be done by people of normal ability.

2. You must read the SNF Arrival Notam and be familiar.

3. Most pilots are equipped with two ears and one mouth and they should be used in about that proportion – the Notam specifies, to except in an emergency, listen – not talk.

4. See number 2 above.

5. This is a VFR operation so plan on the last 30 miles being VFR in really high density traffic.

6. Most GA collision avoidance gear will be limited in functionality because ATC asks that everyone squawk standby when getting close. That means eyes outside and sterile cockpit.

7. Carry lots of fuel. It’s not unusual to get a 40 minute delay. Declare minimum fuel if you need to and an emergency if you have to, but admit that you didn’t plan well. Always have an out not just a down.

8. You’ll have a great time flying in – just remember that you are PIC and the laws of gravity and aerodynamics do NOT go on Spring Break.

Both Tom and I will be flying down and will be around the big yellow AOPA tent – we look forward to seeing you there.

Join Tom and ASF  for the webinar. We’d love to hear your SNF stories and lessons learned.

Bruce Landsberg
Senior Safety Advisor, Air Safety Institute

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