Sunday, August 5, 2012

Initial Solo Cross Country Flight

"What I'm working towards"

My first solo cross country flight was on Monday July 30th, 2012.  Yes that's right....I flew across my self....WOW!  This is going to be along entry so be warned.

There I am sitting in the training room making sure I have all the information I could possibly need on this trip.  I don't feel nervous about this trip, as I have flown it before with Mike, but there is quite a bit to think about now that it's all on me.  There is now correction by my instructor if I screw up a radio call or fail to turn on a transponder.  But I'm not feeling the pressure, yet.

Mike and I review my flight planning and I he say's it's all good to go, and so am I.  I take my gear out to the plane and plug in my head set and set up the cockpit for my trip.  I walk around the plane and do my pre-flight.  I run through my check list and hope in the pilot seat...all by my self.  Mixture full rich, throttle slight, avionics off, CB's in, prime the carburetor a couple times, master and alternator on and turn the ignition key to start.   The prop starts to turn but the engine doesn't catch.  Prime the carburetor again and start the engine again, this time it catches and roars to life.

I turn the avionics master switch on and run through the rest of the start check list and get all my frequencies all set up on the radios.  As I'm sitting there tuning in the Ground Control freq. there's a sudden realization of what I'm about to do.  Now my heart starts beating a little faster my brow starts perspiring a little bit more than just being in the hot sun and my brain starts to over speed.  Ok this is it, I'm actually going to fly this today.  After two previous attempts canceled due to weather this was finally my time.  I'm finally ready to go.  My instructor waves bye as he's working with a friend of mine Lee Hox.  It's now or never I run through a mental list of things I need before I get going  and grab my pen and take a  couple deep breaths.

"Bolton Ground Cessna 738Hotel Delta ready to taxi in front of hanger bravo"...."38HD roger taxi via Alpha and Bravo to runway 22......".  I copy down the information I need and respond back with the taxi instructions.  I wave bye to Mike and Lee, add a little throttle and roll on out.  I get to Runway 22 and do my run up check list with no problems.

"Bolton Tower Cessna 38HD at runway 22 ready to go North Departure"...."38HD roger north departure approved turn right on course cleared for take off runway 22"....holy shit here I go, I'm actually going to do this.

I taxi out on the runway and line up making sure my gyro compass  is oriented correctly and pour on the gas.  Fifty five knots and I rotate my nose up a little and start to climb gently off the ground.  All the weather forcasts that were giving to my self, Mike and Lee said calm winds every where we were going.  Even the tower reported calm to 1 knot variable, so I wasn't expecting what happened immediately when I nosed up.  My right wing get shoved down and the whole plane gets thrown to the left of the runway, as I start to sink back towards the ground I can't help but think....WTH??? Where did these winds come from?  There wasn't even the slightest bit of information to indicate this might happen.  That thought seemed to last for ever but I'm sure it only lasted half of one second.  I turn the yoke to the left to correct for the sinking of the wing and give it right rudder to correct for the cross wind breeze that came out of no where and I pulled the nose up a bit steeper than usual and got some altitude as this airplane has a 180HP engine it climbs like a bat outta hell!


After that excitement I turned right on course and headed on my way out to Mansfield, OH (KMFD) via the FULLER NDB(non directional beacon).  This got me on my way and let me avoid Port Columbus and OSU airspace while I gained altitude and obtained flight following.  Once I was established with flight following I flew my route as planned and made it to my first stop which was KMFD Mansfield, OH.  Arriving there on time and on course gave me a huge boost of confidence that yes....I can do this on my own.

I took off from Mansfield and was passed back off to Mansfield approach for the short hop to Marion airport.  I made it there with no problems and landed safely at this non towered airport.  I landed and wanted to taxi back around to the same runway I just landed on however there was a J-3 Cub taxiing down my way and I couldn't taxi towards him so pulled up to the ramp and let him taxi by.  He was headed to a different runway than I wanted to go to but he wasn't talking to any one over the radio so I figured since I didn't know what his intentions were I'd be safer off by following him to the runway of his choice as the winds were calm runway choice didn't really matter.  *Sighhh....... this guy sat at the hold short line...for forever.  Long enough for me to do my runup checklist and a few min more.  I think he may have been giving a lesson, but I'm not really sure.  Finally he creeped out on the runway and took off headed North....thank God because I'm headed South.  Sigh.... :)


A little behind schedule due to the cub but none the worse for wear.  I'm headed home, I can't believe I'm about to complete my solo cross country.  Any nerves that were jittery earlier had settled a while ago, actually as soon as I was airborne I was all business and didn't stop flying the plane until I parked it back at Bolton.  Then I had time to think about what I had just done.  I was extremely excited about this and couldn't stop thinking about it, and how much I wanted to go back up and fly some where else!  Oh it was amazing, the feeling of successful navigation to and fro, and the enjoyment that I had was just amazing!  It was a pretty uneventful flight as flights go, but was a tremendous accomplishment for my self.  I was literally and figuratively "flying high".

If you've ever wanted to learn to fly do, take $100 bucks and go to a flight school and ask for an intro flight, you'll be hooked and have a great goal to work towards.

29.5 hours in and a lifetime to learn!

P.S.  That Friday after my flight I scheduled my written test for Thursday the 2nd of August.  I PASSED IT!!!!!!!!!!

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