Topic Author
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Solo Cross Country

Thu Mar 11, 2004 4:43 am

Hey, I thought that since there is no other board thats made for this, I would post it here. This Friday, I go on my first Solo X-C. The route is KJXN-KMBS-Y70. I was just wondering is any or all of you were a bit nervous before your first? I knida am. I know that everythign will be just fine, I am just a bit nervous is all. Just wanted advice from you pilots that have done it before. Thanks.
23 victor, turn right heading 210, maintain 3000 till established, cleared ILS runwy 24.
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RE: Solo Cross Country

Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:14 am

Hey, good luck man! Let us know how it goes...
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RE: Solo Cross Country

Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:26 am

Do you have experience working with radar control? It appears you already fly out of a controlled airfield so if you haven't yet radar control is no biggie. Upon initial contact, give approach control your altitude and reference to a ground checkpoint (thing on the sectional with the flag) along with the information you normally give to the controlling agency upon initial contact, and they'll probably first give you a squawk code then ask you to ident. When they ident you they'll ask you to verify altitude hoping you read it within 300' of theirs. If not they'll simply ask you to stop altitude squawk and ask you for altitudes when there might be impending traffic or whenever they feel necessary. Other than that, just expect to fly headings and stay above altitudes they give you, then when they hand you off to CT, I found it's just like operating in D airspace. They'll pretty much sequence you and tell you how to enter the traffic pattern and land. If on the ATIS they tell you to use clearance delivery as a VFR aircraft (provided you're stopping to get fuel), call them up on the transceiver and inform them of destination airport and altitude, then they'll probably give you a squawk code, initial altitude, and dep. frequency. After that, contact ground and you'll pretty much be told what to do from there. Also, Y70 seems like a small airport so you should be up on your pilotage to find that airport. You could always cross-reference VOR's if you can't find the airport. I don't know if there's self-serve fuel there, but I found it a hassle to use it as opposed to having someone pump fuel from a truck. If possible, I'd suggest planning for fuel at KMBS unless you'd really like to save money. In that case, Y70 will do, just expect to bring a credit card. Other than that, there's really not much more on my head. Tell us how it goes after you make the trip Big grin.

BTW, if any of my thoughts are screwed up, feel free to toss a brick at my head anyone Embarrassment.
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RE: Solo Cross Country

Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:06 am

Dont forget to close your flight plan!!!! Aside from that, have a safe trip and let us know how it goes!

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RE: Solo Cross Country

Thu Mar 11, 2004 7:51 am

Get flight following from Lansing Approach. They will hand you off to Saginaw, too. It really helps point out traffic for you. I was a little nervous on my first solo XC, but it wasn't bad at all. You will do fine. Good Luck!
"It starts when you're always afraid; You step out of line, the man come and take you away" -Buffalo Springfield
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RE: Solo Cross Country

Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:07 am

All of the X-C's I have done with my instructor, 4 now, have been to charlie and one in the KMKG tersa. The flight center tops the fule off, no matter how far the X-C is, so fuel is no problem. At my flight school, Jackson COmmunity College, its always three legs. one class C and then an uncontrolled, then back to Jackson, which is delta. Thanks everyone.
23 victor, turn right heading 210, maintain 3000 till established, cleared ILS runwy 24.
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RE: Solo Cross Country

Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:10 am

Also, know where you are along your flightpath by honing in on your position with VORs whenever you have nothing better to do. And it's ok to be nervous!!

Have Fun!
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RE: Solo Cross Country

Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:42 am

My first cross country was one of the best flights I have ever had.

I don't know if I can really give any new advice (I just got my PPL a few weeks ago, so I'm a bit shy in the experience area), but be sure to have fun. Obviously, safety is paramount, but never miss an opportunity to enjoy you are flying. My first cross country re-affirmed my desire to fly... I'm sure you'll have a great one too!
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RE: Solo Cross Country

Thu Mar 11, 2004 9:49 am

* As mentioned before; get plenty of fuel, remember that the only time when one have too much fuel is in a fire!

* Bring a cell phone with you if you can. Not everywhere theres a boot to call FSS.

* Cross check your position with VOR's (if the a/c has the equipment) just to make sure your numbers aren't liying to you.

* Calculate your groundspeed every few minutes.

And the most important;

Feel free -without any shame- to do the "Welcome on board" and "cruise" speeches "from the flight deck". We ALL have done it on our solo XC !!!

RM  Big thumbs up
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RE: Solo Cross Country

Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:29 am

Relax before you go, I was very nervous too. If you need to take your time and dont rush, because it only gets worse when you hurry yourself. The procedures are the same as before, the only thing changing is the terrain!
Be sure to check fuel at each stop (I did this and noticed my gauges weren't too accurate). Use VOR's and DME, if you have that, to verify your position every few minuets and...enjoy it! It is a great experience.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

And close your flight plan!

btw, Dw747400, congrats on your PPL, that is awsome.

[Edited 2004-03-11 02:31:41]
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RE: Solo Cross Country

Thu Mar 11, 2004 4:57 pm

You must remember that your instructor would not sign you off if he did not think you are ready so take comfort from that.

The biggest advice for you is PREPARATION. Work out where you're going, draw the layouts of the airfield you are going to, make sure you have the correct frequencies, what are your alternatives etc etc. If your preparation is good your flight will be so much easier.

On my first XC I got lost, found myself again, embarassed myself with ATC and had one of the best experiences of my life. It's a great learning experience so don't worry about it and enjoy the moment.
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RE: Solo Cross Country

Thu Mar 11, 2004 9:16 pm

I thought I'd share something that probably more than me can relate to. I was a little tensed when flying to a Class D airport solo for the first time. I was really busy with checking for landmarks, get the ATIS, talk to CT, check lights, mixture and all that added up to me being complacement regarding the most crucial thing of all - to fly the airplane. I ended up flying waaay too fast on final. This airport has a 9000 ft runway, so I was fine, but if I would have done the same thing at my home airport (3600 ft rwy) I would have had to go-around for sure.

Remember, everything you do on downwind/base will come back and bite you on final.

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