Today, the weather worked out and allowed me to complete some of my final requirements, including the long solo cross country flight.
As of this morning I needed:
- Solo Cross Country total distance greater than 150nm with at least 3 stops and one leg greater than 50nm.
- 3 solo landings at a towered airport
- 2.2 hrs of hood time (Instrument training)
Today I was able to knock out two the remaining items.
My flight today took me from Raleigh Executive (TTA) -> Davidson County (EXX) -> Stanley County (VUJ) -> Richmond County (RCZ) -> then back to Raleigh Executive.
I performed my calculations, filed a flight plan and headed to the airfield to have one of the instructors review my numbers and sign me off for the flight. Today was my normal instructors day off, I was able to get one of our other club instructors to fill in. We have an amazing group of instructors and members in our club. It is a very supportive community.
We discussed the possibility of para jumpers around VUJ and what I should do if that happens. It turns out that this was a very relevant conversation.
I headed out to the airplane, like I was a real pilot and performed preflight and run up. Made the radio calls and away I go. I have been to all of these airports before so I was familiar with the routes. The flight to EXX was uneventful. Except Raleigh Approach terminated my flight following instead of handing me off to Greensboro approach… which was weird. No big deal, I just requested a new following from Greensboro.
I made a pretty nice landing, if I do say so myself, at EXX and taxi’d up to the fuel pumps. Again, acting like a total pro, filled the tanks, sent a text to my surrogate instructor then I gave VUJ tower a call to see about those para jumpers.
The tower indicated that there were some jumpers scheduled but she thought I could squeeze in before. As it turns out… not so much. As I approached, VUJ, I dialed up the tower and was told that I needed to hold outside of the airspace. The conversation that I had earlier about this helped me not freak out. So I circled over a lake, taking in the views.
Once the jumpers completed their jumps, I was routed into VUJ and told to report right base 22L. I complied and made a nice landing. I still needed two more solo landings at a towered airport, so I requested to takeoff and remain in the pattern. Upon the next landing I did the same.
After I had completed my requisite landings, I asked ground to route me to the fuel. I didn’t originally plan to refuel at VUJ but with the hold and the extra landings, I figured better to be safe than sorry.
The rest of the trip went pretty well. I flew from VUJ to RCZ, then it was just a hop through the Sandhills VOR (SDZ) back home to Raleigh Executive.
All in all it was a good day. I am a little tired afterwards but totally worth it.
Today I got to fly and airplane… by myself … long distance. I felt like a pilot.
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