COPA – Mudgee
In November 2018 Mike Cahill, Tom Hassall and I flew down to Orange, NSW, for a weekend to attend a Cirrus Pilot Proficiency Program (CPPP). These are held every 2 years in Australia by the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association. Cirrus put a lot of emphasis on pilot training and COPA has been formed as an additional channel for training and created a virtual university to organise the programs.
Very professionally run and an ideal forum to learn how to fly better from highly qualified pilots in presentations/discussions and actual flying practice. We flew down on Friday via Glen Innes, Quirindi and Mudgee, a 3 hour flight, with each of us flying about one third of the way. It was fairly cloudy along the way so we flew over the top, IFR.
A one hour lunch stop at Mudgee allowed us to check out the local aero club facilities there and the Hangar House BNB. These would both be great places for a future flyaway given the proximity of many great wineries. It was a short 20 minute hop over to Orange from there.
The local aero club hosted the CPPP. They have great facilities and did a superb job. There were about 40 Cirrus aircraft and about 70 course attendees. We arrived about 4pm and after refuelling and parking the plane, were taken into town to check into our accommodation, then picked up again and transported back to the aero club for a get to know you barbecue. Saturday was an early start with presentations and discussion from 8am until 5pm.
I had a 2 hour flight with Jason, one of the Cirrus instructors from California, who had some great ideas on how to improve my flying. On the Saturday evening there was a formal dinner at a lovely old restaurant in the centre of Orange and Sunday was another full day of presentations from 8am until 3pm.
Then it was back into MSF for the flight home, this time skipping Mudgee, and encountering some IMC on the part across south east Queensland. The weather was very kind to us all weekend, with the cloud on the way into Queensland providing some amazing scenery. That’s just one of the reasons we fly IFR!