I completed my second solo cross-country flight this past Monday, March 23, 2015. The weather is starting to come around and spring flying is finally here! I chose to fly to a new airport this time down to Taylor Co (KAAS). The weather couldn’t have been any better. Leading up to my first solo flight I was really nervous about communications. After my first flight I learned how my sense of awareness and hearing increases by like two hundred when your flight instructor sends you off on your own. Thankfully, everything went fine talking on the radios for both flights and surprisingly it was not bad at all! I actually really enjoy listening to it now. I have been trying to practice more by listening to Liveatc.net in order to sound more professional and not like the normal student pilot. In order to meet requirements, I have one more long solo cross-country to complete. After talking to Dalton I have decided to fly from Richmond (I39) over to Bardstown (KBRY) up to Lexington (KLEX) and then back to Richmond for my long XC flight. After completing my flight I will only have two or three more flights polishing up my maneuvers preparing me for my final check ride! I am so excited, yet a little stressed due to the amount of homework and studying that I have had lately. After EKU had all of their snow days it feels like I haven’t had a break from professor trying to get us “caught up.” Spring break is also approaching and I am trying to have everything done before my vacation with my aunt on a Royal Caribbean cruise! Looks like I’ll definitely be taking my Private Oral Examine Guide book with me! I can not wait thinking that I’ll be able to sit along a white sandy beach with a book in my hands! After spring break I’ll be hitting the books pretty hard, but for now in all honesty I am in need of a vacation to a place where I have to apply high SPF in order to save my German/ Irish skin. I am ok with that!
I have had an extremely exciting last few days! I don’t even know where to begin! Last Monday, March 16, 2015 I was able to complete my first solo cross-country for EKU. I had only completed one solo XC before that to Braxton County (k48I) when I used to fly in West Virginia. So, it had been a while since my last solo cross-country and my nerves were a little tense before the flight. I found myself writing out every single detail from memory that I could think of for what I needed to do during the flight. Dalton, my flight instructor, kind of laughed at me because of course I had to put for my very last detail, “Cross-country complete” with a HUGE smiley face. It may have looked dumb, but I knew that was going to be the feeling I would have after completing my flight. Of course, I was smiling from ear to ear after my flight and I knew that was going to be the very last detail so I just had to write it down! J I didn’t quit smiling until after I started to eat some lunch after I arrived back on campus… I chose to fly to the airport I felt most comfortable with which was of course, Wayne Co (KEKQ) since I have been there multiple times this year. I love flying south from the airport (I39) because you are able to see Lake Cumberland from above after you get so far. My overall first solo cross-country was absolutely wonderful and I couldn’t have asked for a better day. In between check points I couldn’t help but to think about my old friend Larry. I made sure I sent him a prayer thanking him and to let him know that I was thinking about him. I know he is watching over me and my nerves the rest of the flight were absolutely fine… Happy spring flying my friends!
This past Monday I passed my stage two check ride! Due to weather, we just had the two hour ground portion of it on Friday and then rescheduled the flight for the following Monday. I had Sarah Boots who conducted my stage check. On Friday we talked about my flight plan and performance calculations, weight and balance, takeoff and landing distances, weather, airspace, and the VFR sectional. Then on the actual flight we flew to my first two checkpoints without the GPS which went pretty smooth. It’s pretty easy when you have I-75 in sight. She made me perform a couple lost procedures where I did some dead reckoning and then found myself by tuning in the VOR. We also performed power on and off stalls, and then talked about short field and soft field take-offs and landings. I found my way back to the airport without the GPS and performed a short field landing. The landing was not one of my best… I didn’t add enough power right before touching down since it was a short field landing and it was a little harder then planned. I was really aggravated with myself because I love landing airplanes! It’s the greatest feeling when you barely touch down and perform a perfect landing. A lot of people stress performing landings, but I absolutely love setting an airplane up for them and perfecting it. I kind of growled in a way because I knew it wasn’t great, but Sarah told me that it was fine and we were done for the day. Once I cleared the runway she said, “You passed!” I was so relieved… I was relieved because a weight was lifted off of my shoulders that has been there forever due to weather cancellations. It finally feels like I am able to move forward now. I’ll have to do three more solo cross-country requirements for EKU and then I am in stage 3 polishing things up for my final check ride. I’m not going to lie, I’m a little nervous for my solo cross country flights but I also feel ready to do this because I know I can and achieving my private pilot’s license has been my goal for a long time now. I am READY!
This past Wednesday I was able to work in a night cross-country with my instructor Dalton. We flew direct to Lexington (LEX) then on over to Bardstown (BRY) and then back to Richmond Madison. (I39) The flight was awesome! I love flying around sunset and nighttime. We had quite the time before our flight though. Somebody else checked out the airplane we originally had reserved and they were way off schedule. My flight time reservation was for seven o’clock and we waited at least twenty minutes for them to arrive back and they still were a no show. So, we ended up checking out another airplane (N53720) and corrected our flight plan. After we got that situation under control we taxied on over to the gas pumps for some fuel and encountered another problem with the pumps and could not get them to pump gas for us. Next thing I knew we had four different guys helping us trying to figure out what was wrong. Long story short the actual “preflight” took way longer than expected, but we finally got off the ground with full tanks. My actual flight went really well. First leg down to Lexington was a little rough considering I hadn’t had practice or talked with flight following in a while. Right after we departed Lexington I felt much better and more confident when it came to the radios. I felt I finally had the “script” pretty much memorized and I was more prepared when it came to expecting what they were going to ask. The overall experience was a great one and my next flight and step towards my license is to pass my stage two check with EKU flight instructor Sarah. I’ll be reviewing flight planning and calculations, weather, airspace, emergency procedures, stalls, and reading sectional charts. Wish me luck!