Long cross-country, therefore long post!
After 12 days of not flying, I did my long solo cross-country today! I was a bit iffy about jumping right into it after not flying for that long, but the weather was looking super nice. Jake didn’t want me to go to an uncontrolled airport just yet with my instructor because we needed to do some more ground about them so I don’t waste time. Long cross-country it was!
I screwed up my train schedule, I felt super bad about that and just a bit dumb. I’m been slacking on my train travel, so need to get my stuff together better when it comes to trains.
We went over my plan together and talked about if I had to do a go around and I should always be looking for a place to land if something went wrong. He also told me that the normal New York Approach frequency wasn’t working yesterday and gave me another one to try if that was the case. I was off shortly after that.
KFRG to KGON
I took off runway 1 so easy taxi and easy to get to the stacks. I tried the normal 118.0, no one else was talking and no one responded to me. I tried the other one I wrote down, I got someone, but was pawned off on a different frequency. I got on and made my spiel, he never confirmed radar contact but I started getting traffic advisories from him.
I like this cross-country because I just fly along the coast of Long Island for most of it. It’s a pretty ride and lots of lankmarks to find where exactly I am. I pass Calverton which is mainly just used for sky diving, but no one was doing that today.
When I got near the end of Long Island my radar service was terminated. After tuning my main radio to 121.5, just in case, I picked up the ATIS. I did have my GPS on as a back up, and I mainly use it to tell me when I’m 10 miles from the airport because I’m a bad judge of distance still. I accidentally touched it and had my distance to a random point on the route selected. I thought I was 10 miles from the airport so I called tower. They asked me to ident, turns out I was 17 miles out, oops. He was very nice to me and didn’t get angry. I heard after a bit of a Piper at a point I passed was also inbound. I kept in mind to watch out for him.
I’ve noticed I’m quite terrible at figure out which runway I’m heading for at the start. I’m always one over. Luckily, this is where my GPS comes in handy again after I think I’ve figured it out, I check it. I’m still wrong. I join the downwind and land. I was a bit worried about the landing because it was starting to gust a bit, I hadn’t flown in over a week, but it was pretty good. I taxiied to the FBO my CFI told me to.
I got confused because there was a ground crew waving me in, I went around a different helicopter because I just assumed they were saving that space for a jet or something. Nope, they were waving me in! That was cool. I didn’t need to get gas, but I went into the FBO and got my log book signed. When I went in I got compliments on my logbook (which I always enjoy because it took me a bit to find a pink logbook) and they were very nice unlike the other FBO I went into at my last cross-country.
I was just relaxing a bit before I took off, the Piper behind me on the downwind was parked right next to me. It was a plane from the state college at Farmingdale, he also said he was a student pilot on the radio. I figured it was his long XC too so I went over and said hi. We talked for a bit, he was going to a different airport just a little bit closer to GON than I was, I chose an airport close to FRG. I said good bye and was on my way.
Well, wasn’t exactly on my way. My instructor has warned me that there can be problems starting the plane when it’s still hot. I think I ended up flooding the engine. First try it didn’t start, I pumped the throttle more and it started but died. I called my instructor and he told me to push the throttle in all the way, lean the mixture all the way out, start the engine and quickly go full rich mixture and throttle almost to idle. I got it to work, now I was ready to leave.
KGON to KBDR
I got a straight out departure, I had to confirm that meant more of a southwest departure, the controller came back with a nice “yes, ma’m” We’ll ignore I’m not a ma’m part, but it’s nice to be at a quieter airport where the controllers can take the time to be nice.
I tried to get on Providence Approach because the A/FD only listed my choices as Providence or Boston. They told me to contact New York Approach, I switched frequencies. I tried them, they gave me a different frequency, but I got on with them. It’s a shorter flight, but I wanted to be talking to someone, especially since I’d be close to another airport on the way there. I followed the coast of Connecticut this time. I got the ATIS nice and early and the controller asked if I had information Romeo pretty early. That’s something I’ve never experienced yet. She terminated the service when I was about 10 miles out. It was pretty sunny and the sun was going down. Bridgeport is on the water, so I knew where the airport was but having difficulty seeing it because of the glare. I contacted the tower and got a straight in for runway 24 and report a 4 mile final.
I picked a bad angle to join final. I thought it’d be better to have a more gradual angle but I was 4 miles out and still not lined up. I guess it was too small of an angle. I was struggling going fast and high and not exactly lined up with the runway near the end. ATC cleared a Grumman Tiger to land on another runway before me just to fit him in quicker. All those things, I was looking for the Tiger and he wasn’t on the runway yet. I was about to execute a Go Around but ATC beat me to the punch and told me to. I was already ready to do it so wasn’t thrown. I made left traffic and on the downwind the controller thanked me for the cooperation and told me I was cleared to land. What is with all the nice controllers?! I’m not used to it!
This approach was much better. The landing was a bit off. The runway isn’t too nice so I’m not sure if I did something weird after landing or it was just bumpy. I taxiied to the FBO my instructor told me to go to. There were old antique planes there! I was super excited. I went into the FBO and couldn’t find anyone to sign my logbook, people seemed to be ignoring me so I went back outside. I went over to the people at a table by the planes and asked one of them to sign my logbook (the guys complimented it too). I could pay $12 and get really close to the planes and inside some of them, but I didn’t have time and am cheap so I took pictures outside the rope. I thought it was amazing to see a P51 up close! I love that plane, I think it looks sexy.
KBDR to KFRG
My instructor said he had to go home, but someone else would give me a ride home. I made my way back to KFRG. It’s a short flight, about 20 minutes. I cross the Long Island Sound to the stacks. I didn’t get flight following because it’s so short and I know where I am. I pick up the ATIS and get to the stacks, we’re landing on runway 32 so I joined a right downwind. Cleared to land pretty easily, and the landing was pretty good. Taxiied back fine. Parked the plane terribly. I’m normally pretty good about when I turn it around lining it up alright with the spot. Nope. No where near that, I left it at an angle because there was no way to fix it. Luckily, the guy who was driving me to the train was there and helped me push it back.
I texted my instructor about how it went. Ever since I’ve been moving onto this portion of training, I’ve been missing my instructor! I don’t get to see him that much. I told him how it went, and asked if we could do a night flight this week. Now scheduled for Thursday! I’m so excited. It’ll be my night cross-country.
I have that, probably another night flight to get in all the required time, a dual XC to an uncontrolled airport to get that out of the way and the remaining instrument time, a solo XC to an uncontrolled airport to finish my solo XC time and then just check ride prep with some solo time. It’s getting close!
Lesson Time: 2.5 hours
Total Time: 48.1 hours