Saturday, July 20, 2019

A Solo X-Country Flight

Requirement: 1 solo cross country flight of at least 150nm total distance with full-stop landings at 3 points and one segment of at least 50nm between T/O and landings

We got up an hour early to avoid the tempermental Florida weather. The weather "Guessers" had said we could expect a "reverse flow" today, which means the thunderstorms start in the morning instead of the afternoons. At 5:00 AM everything looked good, but there was some convection offshore in the gulf. TAFs said not to expect them until afternoon. I gave the "Go" and planned for an 8:00 AM departure.

Preflight Completed.
Sally was in good shape. I added just a bit of oil to bring it up to 3/4s, cleaned the canopy and added 5 gallons to bring it up to about 25 gallons total. Leo arrived at about 7:00 AM. We briefed the flight and let him loose. He was airborne at 8:00 AM.

I listened to my handheld radio while sitting in my truck. I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee and snacked on Belvetta crackers. I checked the weather on my phone. Checked the time. Checked the weather. Mostly flight school planes in the pattern today. Hmmm, little puffy low cumulus clouds were starting to form over Tampa. His enroute weather still looked good. Metars and TAFs were still good. What time is it? More coffee.

Then he reported in just 5 miles south. (Ahead of schedule.) I got to watch my student complete a MAJOR accomplishment in my airplane.

The debrief was great. The excitement just popping as he told the stories of his adventure. General Aviation at its best. Not a perfect flight, but a good one. Experience gained, lessons learned.

Good job Leo. Good job Sally.

Today was the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing, the longest cross country that was ever done by mankind. "Pilots take no special joy in walking. Pilots like flying." Neil Armstrong