Sunday, January 27, 2008

Inexperienced? Maybe...but a damned fool? Absolutely not.

A while back I wrote an entry where I described getting a clearance for an IFR departure from a non-towered airport and explained that I was given a very short window to take off. I had called Tampa Departure Control - the controlling agency for the clearance. The airport that I was departing is beneath the Class-B airspace for Tampa International and is fairly close to the approach patterns for this busy airport. An anonymous writer was harshly critical of my comments and said that my acceptance of a 6 minute clearance was indicative of my inexperience. The anonymous pilot explained that he has been a corporate pilot for 20 years and frequently gets clearances for 20 minutes for zero-zero departures from non-towered airports. Bully for him.

First, I'm flying a Skyhawk and will not depart an airport that I cannot immediately return to should I have a problem on departure, therefore a zero-zero for me translates to zero airspeed, zero RPM. Second, his experience may tell him to demand longer clearances, but I won't be flying with him if he opts to depart in such conditions. He won't get a 20 minute clearance window departing from the Tampa North Aeropark in his corporate jet...oh, yeah, that big lump of aluminum can't land or take off from there anyway.

Third, I never claimed to be a 20 year corporate pilot. However, I have more experience than many of the instructors who are teaching new pilots...and most of my instrument experience is in IMC, not under the hood. Still, I recognize that I do not have the experience of many pilots and I am constantly learning.

It is extremely unlikely that Tampa Departure would give anyone a 20 minute window that would cause them to block a section of busy class B airspace. Perhaps they do things differently in the Great Lakes.

So, if anyone cares to comment on my entries - please feel free. Just keep the chest pounding to yourself. It serves no useful purpose. And if you've never flown from the place I described, try not to use irrelavent experience as the basis for criticism. Lastly, if you expect me to post critical notes that lack signatures, forget it. Anonymous notes will garner nothing more than my own response...if that.

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