Several years ago while training for my instrument rating, I was flying with my instructor in dark-night rainy weather. My instructor was a big fan of realistic training and I was receiving a double dose of it on this evening. Our destination was KPIM (Pine Mountain, GA). We were planning to have dinner with my mom and aunt.

As I entered Atlanta’s airspace, my first contact with the busy controller went reasonably well. It was just a simple check in. As we continued to our destination and after I had picked up the weather, I called the controller back and requested the approach into Pine Mountain. The controller came back with a full approach clearance and asked that I report crossing the IAF.

To my overwhelmed brain, this was simply too much. I was saturated. After what felt like two minutes and in reality only being seconds, I called the controller back with these words “I’ll call you back when I get where I am supposed to be.” To his credit, the controller who knew I was on a training flight, quickly replied with “Well, you do that.”

Shortly thereafter and with a good bit of discussion with my instructor, I called the controller back with a proper clearance and the flight ended successfully … except for the incessant ribbing by my instructor.

Adam Creel

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