When I think of a busy airport, I think of parallel runways packed with constant departures, expensive aircraft filling loitering the airspace and ground, and a radio frequency with no more than a second of silence. I experienced much of this yesterday when I took a flight to Peachtree Dekalb airport in Atlanta, GA.
This is a popular airport among private aircraft, and it is very impressive. The two FBOs I saw in my short time there were packed with high end jets and turboprops. The interior of the FBO we used was very high end, had multiple stories, and the front desk had two busy attendants taking constant payments from incoming aircraft for fuel. The ground staff had the professionalism of butlers, and every second spent there we felt like millionaires. The diversity of aircraft on the field was fantastic as well. I saw a beaver (seaplane), Pilatus turboprops, Falcons, Gulfstreams, Hawkers, Senecas, Mooneys, and King Airs. They were all there, and mixed around in the whirlwind operations happening in the small area.
We had to wait twelve minutes to take off again, and while we sat we heard the high-pitched whistle of a Falcon jet behind us, and planes roaring over top landing on the two runways in front of us. When we were cleared to take off, we wasted no time. Once five hundred feet in the air, we were told to keep separation from a Cirrus (which was literally fifty-hundred feet off our wing), and a Cherokee (which had just took off on the parallel runway). I kept our climb fairly rapid in order to clear this traffic, and once five miles clear of the airport we took a deep breath and enjoyed the tailwind home.
Flying to Peachtree was a great experience. I could spend a week’s vacation just sitting in a lawn chair in the center of it taking in the chaos. I would love to return, and Horace would too even though this marked his second trip there. It gave me a greater sense of Atlanta’s busy nature, and gives me greater appreciation for it and the other Bravo airspace in the U.S. I will definitely try and find an excuse to visit KPDK again in the future.