Posted by: Brian | October 10, 2010

Solo Cross Country

This has been an extremely busy weekend for me flying-wise.  The good news is, I am moving into night flight this coming week, so I won’t have to get up at 6am on Saturday & Sunday mornings to get weather briefings (and that also means that I am almost done)!  On Saturday, my first flight was at 8am.  My instructor wanted to head out to Easton Airport (ESN) to practice some crosswind landings.  Of everything I have done in these last 9.5 months, crosswind landings have given me the biggest headaches (as they do with most student pilots).  My issue lies in the rudder/aileron usage; not enough of one or the other.  So we went out to Easton and did about five or six landings with a crosswind.  My CFI wanted me to practice a bit more prior to my progress check with another instructor (a few hours later), who would certify that I can do my solo cross country.  I did just fine with the additional practice, so he signed me off for the progress check to do my solo cross country.  After getting back in to Freeway, I got my updated weather briefing for my upcoming progress check (was told to plan to Salisbury, but was also told that I wouldn’t make it there due to a diversion). 

About an hour after my first flight, I went back up with another instructor (Paul).  Knowing that I am somewhat ‘lazy’ on my feet when it comes to using the rudder, my CFI scheduled me with an instructor who’d get on to me for it – that would be Paul (he was great though).  We climbed out of Freeway and made our way towards Salisbury.  At one point, I realize that I can’t move the yoke, so I look over at Paul and he slid his knees up to prevent me from “driving” the airplane.  It was his technique to get me to use my feet more, which I think worked for me.

As we approached the Eastern Shore east of Poplar Island, I was told to divert to one of two airports (I will omit the options I was given for the integrity of the syllabus).  I picked an airport that I hadn’t yet been to so I started my planning for there.  It went fairly smoothly, with no issues.  I did one touch & go and headed back home.  Upon returning, I was signed off to do my solo cross country flight this morning. 

For today’s flight, I was told to plan a flight to Salisbury Regional Airport (SBY), about 70 nautical miles away.  I was also told to do three to do three takeoffs and landings before heading back, to get some experience with towered operations.  I left out of Freeway solo at about 830am, picking my way along to Salisbury.  As you can see in the video, my flight started with Potomac not able to see me on their radar.  Eventually, I reset my transponder and was cleared through the area.  A bit uncomfortable, though…

It took my about 40 minutes to get to Salisbury.  I was told to report a 2-mile base off of runway 5, which I did.  I got in, did my three takeoffs and landings and headed back to Freeway with no issues.  I must say, though, that it was a beautiful day to be out.  Between Cambridge and the Chesapeake Bay, though, was a TON of traffic.  My head was constantly on a swivel, looking at the radar and then out of the windshield.  Everyone was certainly out today.

My next scheduled flight is for next Saturday, but as I stated in the beginning, it’s my first night flight so I get to sleep in (past 6am that is).  I’ll be flying from Freeway to Lancaster, PA (will land there) and then will land at BWI, before heading back to Freeway Airport.  Baltimore Washington International at night should be pretty sweet!  I think I have a night flight or two, followed by a couple more cross country flights (a bit longer ones), then it’s all review ensuring that I am ready for the FAA checkride!

~ Brian 

Hours logged Sat & Sun: 5.1

Total hours: 51.1



  1. Great work son. You’ll be dogfighting with the best of them soon.

    Love Dad

  2. Not really. PC based fglhit simulators are designed, packaged, and marketed as VIDEO GAMES. Have fun PLAYING your GAME, but don’t even think it is a teaching aid. It is not.

    • Yeah, my instructor suggested using it during my instrument training. He said it’d be helpful.

    • It is actually a teaching aid for instrument training (according to the CFIs). The RedBird flight simulators are used frequently for instrument training (same thing, on a much larger scale).

      I would agree with your statement that it is not a teaching aid for visual flight rules.

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