23 November solo cross countries
This entry is about my cross country flights. I did them first with my instructor and after those I got an endorsement to do them on my own It took about 3-4 days for each trip for the weather to be good enough.
For every trip I had to make a navigation log that I would follow to get to my destinations. I wasn't supposed to use GPS. I made copies of the nav logs after I put in the basic data. That way I didn't had to fill out the whole thing if I prepared the trip and the weather wasn't good enough. The first trip was on 19 November to Hemet-Ryan airport. This was an uncontrolled airport. My waypoints were Lake Jennings, Ramona airport, Lake Wohlford and French valley airport. The cruising altitude was 6500 feet with a true airpeed of 103 knots. (190 km/h) the trip took 48 minutes one way and was about 70 NM long. The airplane I had was N27GF.
The first flight solo (orange line) is a big thing. Not only do you have to land but you also have to take all the other aspects of flying into account. Lookout, radio, navigation and all the rest! The aircraft was only scheduled for 2 hours so I had to haul ass on this flight! It was so nice to fly all by yourself. You can do "whatever" you want. At the same time I was a little nervous because what if I get lost!?!??! Luckily that wasn't the case and I made it to Hemet-Ryan. I only had limited time so I only made a touch and go and took off again. As this is an uncontrolled airport it means that there is no tower that controls everything. This works on pilot's interaction among themselves. You state your position 10, 5 and 3 miles out of the pattern. Then you make radio calls when you enter on downwind, turning base, turning final, runway vacated and taking the active runway for takeoff. In the US the standard joining procedure for entering the circuit is on a 45 degree angle on downwind. In Europe and Holland the standard procedure is an overhead join. I'll have to practice this when I'm back in Holland. So I enter, turn base, turn final and make a nice touchdown. In the video you can see the approach to Hemet and the way back to KSEE. As you can see that I had a little problem after the first few seconds after touch down that I rocketed off to the left side of the runway. I asked my instructor and this is because of the left turning tendency of the aircraft. It has to do with the torque that the propeller creates. To counteract this right rudder is required. It sounds easy but it's not that simple! The way back was a little different because my cruising altitude was lower. So instead of going over a big mountain I decided to go around it. The total duration of the trip was 1.7 hours.
On the 23rd of November I had to make the long cross country (red line). For this trip I needed to land at Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport (KTRM) near Palm Springs and at Imperial country airport. On these airports I had to get a signature from someone as proof that I landed there. On the video you can see the first leg from KSEE to KTRM. I flew on VOR's on this trip. It's really easy to use and you don't even need GPS. At first the concept is a little awkward to grasp but once you fly on them a few times it becomes logical. The cruising altitude was 8500 feet, True airspeed was 103 knots. The time and distance to KTRM was one hour and was 102 NM. The first leg was again fun to fly. Following the VOR's, looking out for other traffic, listing out on the common frequency for San Diego East and just fly and enjoy the views. I flew over a big mountain first and after that it was time for some dessert. Once again there was a big mountain in the way so I had to fly to the south tip and then fly to the actual airfield. In the US you join the circuit on a 45 degree angle on the downwind leg. I tried to do this in the video to. It worked quite well! Eric, a Swedish student pilot at AAA was landing about 10 minutes after me and I saw him land.
To my surprise he taxied to a different company for the signature so I took off to the next stop, Imperial airport. I had to cross the Salton sea which was about a 15 minute flight. When I was about to call on the radio which runway I planned to use Eric beat me to it. He wanted to land on a different runway then me so I had to make a new plan. I circled 2 times a little north of the airport. Eric overtook me and set up for landing. He landed and I landed a minute later. We taxied to the fuel building had some drinks and a muffin and got the signature. We talked a little and then it was time to take off again. He went first and I went 5 minutes later. When I took off and continued my route I came across a C130 Hercules 4 propeller engine aircraft that was descending to land. It was a great sight. 80% of this last leg was also flown on VOR's. The last part I had to avoid class B airspace so I needed the map and nav. Log. All the landings went great. There were all smooth and the pattern was clean. After I got back my instructor was there to sign the cross country paper.
I liked the cross country flying. I enjoyed the view and getting somewhere new. Now that the cross countries are done I'm almost ready for the exam. The next entry will be about the training between the cross county and the exam. Basically it is a repeat of all the stuff I did before to repeat and perfect emergencies, maneuvers and special landing practice. See you next time.