Stranded In The Southland

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Yet Another Cross Country

My instructor H. wanted me to do one more cross-country solo -- "So it looks good for the FAA examiner when you do the practical test -- you don't want just the minimum number of hours, do you!?" I was convinced that I should go somewhere new -- making the same flight that I'd done four other times (dual, dual night, plus two solos) just wasn't gonna teach me much. Fortunately, J. took me down to a different spot earlier in the year, and that was enough to convince H. that I could go there again.

I put it off for two weeks, once for an all-day home improvement workshop, and once 'cause of illness, and I was anxious to get up there. The weather didn't look great, with a nasty cross-wind and a report of clouds. In addition, one of the the navigation beacons I was planning to use (a VOR) was down. I was feeling pretty iffy about it. H. thought I should just go, that the clouds would burn off, and that I could follow the interstate most of the way, anyway.

Well, whaddya know -- H. was right. Once I took off, ATC had me stay east of the interstate, rather than following the navigation aid as I was planning, and it worked out to be a matter of following the road after all. And, of course, the clouds burned off.

I'd been really concerned, and fired up my little hiking GPS (which was more than sufficient to point me towards the airport), but it turned out that I could see the place from miles away, plus the ATC folks took extra time to point it out me after I mentioned I was a student pilot. All in all, it was another fine flight, although a little anti-climactic. I suppose I oughta trust H a bit more often...


  • 'Ole Dad Sez,
    And a good time was had by all! Sounds like it is starting to come together. In the old days, the railroads were called "iron compases" because they were great visual guides. Times have changed and now it is super highways that serve the same purpose. It is amazing how clearly and from what altitude interstate is clearly visable. ATC knows this too. Probably a couple of days of practice just before the practical would be helpful. My sources tell me that examiners will give inflight changes in course and destination to see how well you can adjust to changing conditions. That is where the ready index of alternative VOR and airfields comes in handy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:23 AM  

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