Today I had my first experience of entering class C airspace along with landing at a controlled airport. We flew to Austin Bergstrom AUS. It was a real eye opener to see what is involved with comms when trying to land there..so many frequency changes I was getting dizzy...
Our landing at AUS was straight in on a 7 mile final - my first 'long' final with Bruce (he prefers to cut power just before base leg with a very short final). The taxiway markings seem very confusing, but we finally arrived at the ramp. Then radio comms had to start all over again in order to get out of there. During climb out, we were diverted by control, trouble is, we had been diverted for a good 10 mins of our intended heading! This gave Bruce the chance to let me experience the usage of VOR. We dialed into the centex VOR, made for it, then from there took a heading to Taylor.
My landing was centerline, but floated a little. I can see that if I was based at AUS, I would already be more proficient in comms. However, the advantages of being based at an uncontrolled airport are:
1. You get more flying time for your money - at AUS the hobbs meter is of course running, even during the lengthly procedures before finally getting onto the runway. It looks like you can spend a total of 10-14 minutes taxiing to and from the runway, and at a dollar a minute, it soon adds up over the course of 40+ hours!
2. Traffic is much lighter, and the practice area is more or less close bye.
3. Especially during the earlier hours of training, the student can focus upon 'flying' - not comms/traffic protocol.