CPPP Las Vegas ... two steps forward and one step back!

CPPP Las Vegas ... two steps forward and one step back!

The second CPPP weekend of 2009 took place with a large group of COPA members at North Las Vegas airport.  As we did with the Lakeland CPPP, we invited participants to provide feedback through an on-line survey.  80% responded and gave us good marks for the upgraded ground courses and the extraordinary Partner in Command session, but also clearly communicated a significant dissatisfaction with the hotel arrangements.


How did you learn about the CPPP?

To improve our outreach to COPA members, we wanted to know how participants learned about the CPPP course:

Clearly, a variety of sources are required to reach participants.  Most of the Las Vegas participants heard from the COPA forums and email.  Improving and expanding those sources of information will be important to reach more CPPP participants.


How far did you travel to the CPPP?

Las Vegas has always been a popular destination, so we were interested to learn how far people travelled to the CPPP:

Only a few participants were close by Las Vegas but lots of COPA members flew from surrounding states, some for several hours of flying time.  The attractions of CPPP and a hospitable location brought people from far away.


Overall satisfaction with the Lakeland CPPP

Next we asked about overall satisfaction with the CPPP weekend, as well as ground sessions and flight training sessions.  In each of these questions, we asked for opinions on a scale of worst to best: A disaster!, Could be better, OK, Good and Excellent.

The overall satisfaction with CPPP is extraordinarily high with most answers given as Good and Excellent and only a smattering of Could be better.  We are still doing good things with CPPP.  In the graphs below, more dark blue is better:

A smattering of concerns surfaced with the pre-course process, the conference facilities and audio-visual presentations.

But we knew we had trouble with the hotel choice. This time at Las Vegas, the hotel accommodations obviously took a hit with a noticeable number of Could be better and even several A disaster! responses. So we asked another question about where people stayed:

Clearly, Las Vegas draws people but only half of the respondents stayed at the CPPP hotel.


Ground instruction

Shifting to ground instruction, the responses reflect the different attendance at each session but show a high level of satisfaction:

The avionics sessions were much better received at Las Vegas than Lakeland, reflecting improvements by the instructors.  However, we still have a ways to go, partly challenged by the diversity of Cirrus avionics configurations and the experience level of CPPPP particpants.

In the comments on the ground sessions, we received a few additional suggestions:

  • the aviation safety segment really helped me see the importance of adhering to my personal minimums in flying the Cirrus
  • would prefer more in-depth discussion of Cirrus accidents
  • characterizing the SR20 as "more dangerous" than the SR22 is not warranted
  • Engine Management really helped me understand how to safely operate my engine
  • wish the avionics course could be more hands-on
  • Advance Avionics was mostly a Garmin 430 course and not much about the Avidyne
  • Advanced Avionics was too much for a VFR pilot
  • the content was good but folks in the audience kept pulling the instructor in the weeds
  • the handouts did not match the presentation making it difficult to focus and take notes


Flight Instruction

The next question asked about flight instruction.  Once again, flight participants rated this segment highly:

The most concern came from the suitability of the airspace around Las Vegas.  The lack of instrument approaches nearby is a known limitation that CPPP instructors struggle with each year.


Partner In Command Session

Las Vegas CPPP featured a Partner in Command course accompanied by a simulator experience.  We encouraged partners in the registration materials and announced it again at the Friday night reception and had 15 participants.

But the pre-event description and outreach left the most to be desired followed by a desire for more time.

In the open-ended comments to the Partner in Command session, we received many compliments and a few suggestions:

  • The simulator experience was invaluable and very informative, especially the chute pull
  • Since there were so many attendees, it would have been nice to have a little more time in the simulator
  • My partner loved this event! She came away with a great deal of confidence in having more responsibility as a partner.
  • Missing book. I have been promised it will be mailed since they ran out of material at the meeting (noted, problems with delivery)
  • Material should have been available at the session, not after.
  • Overall PIC session left me feeling more comfortable and capable of responding in an emergency situation.


Negative factors at the Las Vegas CPPP

In an open-ended question, we asked for any negative factors and this time the hotel situation received the most criticism:

  • The hotel left much to be desired; hotel accommodations and dinner room poor; the hotel facility was terrible. SMOKE; I wish the hotel was a little nicer (noted)
  • The airspace & availability of other nearby airports (known issue)
  • Like drinking from a firehose, at times (come back for more!)
  • Terrible lunches, lack of water, pop etc for break (noted)
  • Poor printing of take away materials. (update in progress)
  • More perspective avionics courses (work in progress)


Suggestions to improve future CPPP events

Similarly, we asked for suggestions to improve the CPPP course, some of which we could act on for future CPPP weekends:

  • Would be nice if recordings or videos of the seminars I could not see were somehow available (noted, work in progress)
  • How about teaching all the things a Garmin 430 can do; I mean basic things. Even though I have used one for 4 years there are still how-to-do things that I would like to learn (noted, but challenging to fit in)
  • The lunch should be a notch or two better and bottled water and soft drinks ought to be readily available for attendees. (noted)
  • The basic description of the whole weekend was limited. I would have liked to see a full run-down on the logistics of the weekend prior to the week before. (update in progress)
  • May want to consider adding 1 day to the schedule (under consideration; challenging)
  • I would like to hear of more of the experiences the instructors have had while in flight. And, a few experiences from the students. (under consideration)
  • Did not understand prior to course that sim time was available. (noted, update in progress)
  • More use of simulators -- both flight and avionics -- would be welcome, especially for those of us who were unable to fly our planes out. (limited to venues with simulators)
  • Make sure handouts match presentation (update in progress)
  • Make sure flight instructors are proactive in helping identify issues at the time, as well as a better post flight briefing. We did not accomplish my objective of an IPC in part because of inefficient use of time on second day. (noted)
  • Need to have more advanced course content for repeats. This will become more of an issue since insurance companys are now requiring CPPP. (noted, under consideration)
  • Please - not VGT again; the hotel was bad because of environment and even more importantly the airspace around VGT lacks sufficient airports and approaches to spread everyone out so not competing for same airspace. (noted, yet it brings out CPPP participants)


What would you say to someone considering a CPPP?

Finally, we asked the participants what they would say if someone was considering attending another CPPP weekend:

  • GO! (4 variations)
  • Do it! (5 variations) 
  • Do it! without hesitation. All of the instructors are excellent and very approachable.
  • Do it...definately a safer pilot after this weekend
  • Worth it! (6 variations)
  • I really got a lot out the weekend. Thank you all so much for your work on this.
  • CPPP is fantastic and a wonderful learing experience. I highly recommend the simulator.
  • If you own a Cirrus then you should attend a CPPP. I was impressed by the quality of the instruction.
  • You should go and I will go again this fall in CA. Thanks to all who worked on this
  • Definitely go to CPPP. It is very benficial for recurrent and safety training.
  • Overall, I think the weekend was helpful and enjoyable for me.
  • Well worth the time, effort, and expense.


Thanks to the participants for this feedback.  Some ideas we have already implemented for Las Vegas, while others will take some consideration.

One idea is to incorporate these CPPP exhortations on the COPA home page.  Look for them there.

  • Rick, I have difficulty distinguishing between the various shades of blue in your graphs.  Would you consider consider using a red-yellow-green-light blue-dark blue progression instead?



  • Craig, thanks for the feedback.  Unfortunately, I was limited in my choices of color schemes.  Next time, I'll go more carefully and see what might work better.



  • I share the comment re basic course in Garmin 430. I only did ground this time but each time I flew with an instructor in the past I learned some short cuts that were very helpful. When I showed them to very experienced instructors they were unformiliar with the short cuts available.

  • Nearly 10 days ago, I saw a video of a lecture, Single-IFR concern, on our website .  I can't find it again. I think ,it was one of the first lectures while the Las Vegas fly in. I don't mean the lecture-video of AOPA. Can you help me to find it?