Sent Ron and a couple other NATCA folks that I was referred to the following email below my name. Victor emailed me.
I really hope it gets in the hands of the folks that oversee the Memphis Center and KJAN approach controllers.
Thank you very much for getting me the contacts.
I have replied to all with the hopes this message gets to the folks that need to know about the quality service I received on Sunday, September 2nd, 2007 including supervisors and powers to be of the folks that handled me on this day.
Good service needs to be recognized.
I flew on Sunday from 2G2 to KMBO via KBWG. I filed an IFR flight plan for both legs GPS direct as I am rated for instrument conditions…
flightaware.com/live/flight/N194 … /KBWG/KMBO was my second leg.
As you can see from the flight path, my first leg was as uneventful as it gets. I knew that thunderstorms were in the forecast for the KMBO area and got an updated flight briefing using a meterologix terminal at KBWG. The forecast was for scattered thunderstorms beginning 2:00 central time (19Z). Radar was nil of any echos on departure in the state of MS and my review of satellite images showed a high level of clouds over northern TN and clear through the remainder of the flight, clearly should have been a no brainer flight just like the first leg.
My first clue the forecast was not going to be as forecasted was in the northern part of MS, I encountered stratocumulus deck well below me. I do not have XM radio or any type of inflight weather services, nor do I think these services would have been of any help for as quickly the weather built up.
The deck was solid and wasn’t forecasted. I monitored ATIS and ASOS en route using nearby airports and clearly benign IFR conditions were below me, Still no biggie, as I am current with my IFR approaches and did the ILS approach down to 700 feet AGL going to KBWG and the GPS approach at KBWG on my return home in actual conditions.
It was as I got closer to KJAN I could clearly see some buildups in my flight path. I was on 132.75 with Memphis center during this flight and asked for weather radar advisories.
The center controller said he could only see intense echos on his radar and it wasn’t to be considered accurate, which I already knew. The center controller said he would check with Jackson approach (KJAN) for better information. Seeing the buildups were getting substantial, I requested and was promptly approved a 270 heading for build up clearly indicated on the flight track. The center controller comforted me in saying he will coordinate the hand off sooner to KJAN so I could get better weather radar services. I am sure he could hear the concern in my voice.
As I turned 270, I could see the thunderstorms to my left, building cells on my right and saw ground on my current 270 heading. Because I was monitoring ASOS and ATIS, I knew what the ceilings were within a reasonable distance of my flight position. I requested and was promptly approved 3000 for my descent so I could remain VMC on my initial approach to KMBO. flightaware.com/live/flight/N194 … O/tracklog shows my altitude and where I requested 3000. I do not have autopilot.
Memphis handed me off to Jackson approach in a prompt and orderly fashion in which I thank him on my handoff as I have done this flight from this direction many times and I knew he did something a little extra to hand me off sooner.
Jackson approach 123.90 took me under their guidance, and was asked what kind of approach I wanted. Since the raincells were building rapidly and I wanted to maintain VMC, I requested and was approved a visual approach.
I asked Jackson approach what they saw on their radar and they indicated that they had heavy to intense echos between me, KMBO and the JAN VOR which is the initial approach fix for KMBO. GPS 17 approach was not an option due to the heavy rain between me and the airport and the VOR alpha approach was quickly not becoming an option.
The showers were very heavy and I could not see through the rain, it was coming down so hard, so I remained clear of the showers and was approved deviations as needed by both Memphis earlier and KJAN approach. I was instructed to descend and maintain 2000 which gave me further clearance from the bases of the cloud deck.
I asked Jackson Approach if getting to KMBO was possible and they said the rain was not over KMBO at that time, and I asked them if they could provide weather assistance in getting around the intense rain showers.
The calmness in controller was very reassuring to this pilot, and provided precise and accurate vectors for me to navigate between the thunderstorms / heavy rain showers. He was even able to tell me when to expect light rain over my position, the reports were that accurate. I kept the approach controller advised of my weather conditions to hopefully help him confirm what he was seeing.
My initial instructions were to head toward the JAN VOR, in which I complied. As I got closer to the JAN VOR, it quickly became apparent that the VOR alpha just wasn’t going to happen, so the controller suggested headings to remain clear of the intense echos on his radar. I made it quite clear to him, I will accept any headings he would give me that would keep me clear of the cells.
After all, he could see the whole picture, all I saw were a wall of rain and clouds…
Because of the attention Memphis and Jackson approach controllers gave to me, this particular flight was a non event that the folks on the ground will never hear about and this is truly unfortunate.
Yes, it was possible for me to plunder around aimlessly hoping that I would get to KMBO, but with the sharp and accurate services I received from both Memphis center and Jackson Approach, brought the anxiety level to this pilot on this particular flight exponentially lower AND got me home in a expeditious matter that simply could not have been accomplished without ATC assistance.
While I was in an urgent situation, this never escalated to an emergency situation because ATC services were there to assist me.
I have been flying for 6 years and NEVER had any bad experiences with any component of ATC and have always found ATC most accommodating to my needs.
To give you an idea of flight conditions, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YU7CC89fd4) is mostly my trip home even though the title was to Ohio. Going up was as mundane as it gets (which is a good thing!)
To see what Memphis Center and KJAN guided me home through, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsKjwTe3p1w) I really hope the controllers in question get to see this second video as a pictures
does speak volumes in the importance of the quality services I received. You can see that I emphasised coordination of ATC and me was critical in guiding me home.
Please forward this to any person that will benefit and you have my explicit permission to republish or forward this email as deemed fit, as I know the importance of ATC services, and the recognition that is needed for the quality services that was given to me.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
If you have any questions, or need any additional information, feel free to call me on my cell at 601-xxx-xxxx or email me.
Thank you again!
332 Wood Duck Circle
Brandon MS 39047