I was invited to be an instructor at Cirrus Pilots Proficiency Program in Las Vegas in March. These intensive training sessions are run by COPA , the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association, and quickly become a regular feature of Cirrus pilots lives. Being based at North Las Vegas Airport (Northtown) for a weekend was unforgettable.
I travelled out to Las Vegas Macarran Airport from Gatwick direct with Virgin on Thursday afternoon: a ten and a half hour flight. But thanks to the 8-hour time difference I still had the afternoon to relax and visit the sites.
I met up with Chris Baker from The Flight Academy at the Hilton Grand Vacations where I stayed for the first night. We jumped in his hire car to meet up with Luke, Kevin and John, Chris’s colleagues. We also met up with Jim Clutter the owner of SimTrain who owns three Cirrus full motion simulators and Curt Sanford one of the CPPP organisers and ground school instructors.
It was great to see some familiar faces again and meet some new guys. After the obligatory LARGE American burger and a few beers it was time to take to the tables and have a flutter. What a fantastic way to be introduced to the Las Vegas night life!
After a late start on the Friday, Chris and I travelled to Las Vegas North (KVGT) where The Flight Academy have an office to take a look at their new Cirrus full motion simulator. Having already flown the Sim in Pittsburgh for a weekend last year it was great to see other Cirrus owners enjoying the simulators ability to recreate emergencies all the way to a conclusion. Such as a chute pull.
That afternoon we took a flight in a brand new SR22GTS. It was fully loaded with a new traffic system which not only says “traffic” audibly but tells you where the traffic is without having to look down at the MFD or Garmins.
Cirrus has removed the analogue engine gauges and replaced them with a glove box in the 2006 model. Which I suppose has its uses. The gauges are now displayed on the PFD alongside with the flight instruments. All of these are now in a prominent position so scanning the flight instruments and checking the important temperatures and pressures requires just an eye movement instead of a head movement.
Other handy information on the new Release 6 version of the software is Vx, Vy and Vg speeds on the airspeed tape. This is a very handy quick reference. This new Cirrus also had the optional air-conditioning which is great in the Las Vegas heat. The two speed fan means that you don’t have to taxi with the doors open in the heat. It’s a wonderful aircraft.
During the day all the Cirruses started to arrive for CPPP. Eventually there were more than twenty of them on the ramp, from early 22’s to brand new GTS’s. We all met up in the evening for nibbles and drinks as an ice breaker ready for a weekend of teaching for the instructors and learning for the owners. My major task was teaching the local owners in unfamiliar airspace. I do like a challenge.
More on the new Cirrus features and my fantastic flights during the CPPP next time.