Today and for the next couple of flights, it will be about building time for my IFR.  I am around 20 hrs short for cross country and simulated/actual time.  My instructor has cut me loose to fly with a safety pilot in order to get some of these hours, so I am taking advantage.

I have found a few Safety pilots that are willing to look out for me while I fly VFR with the foggles in order to get credit for simulated.  My original plan was KTTA -> KCRE -> KEDE -> KTTA which is about a 4 hour trip.  However, weather had other ideas.  I noticed that there was a low pressure being pushed across the border of NC and SC that would bring yuck weather south and up the Coast of NC.  Once I accepted this would be more probable than not, I planned an alternate path.

We ended up with plan B, KTTA -> KCPK -> KDAN -> KTTA.  This would take us northerly still within the dominate high pressure area and away from the yuck.

We preflighted and jumped in the skyhawk, me the pilot and a pilot friend of mine as the safety pilot.  We briefed responsibilities, I was PIC, he was PIC as well when I was under the hood.  He was responsible for safety of flight. In an emergency, I would have the controls, he would have the checklist and troubleshoot. Crew resource management was the name of the game.

We departed at 10:00 am and headed for KCPK (Chesapeake Regional Airport) at 5500′.  I picked up flight following from Raleigh Approach and we were on our way.  Pretty uneventful trip, that terminated with an RNAV 5 approach at KCPK.

Once on the ground, we taxied to refuel.  After refueling, we used the facilities and checked the weather… all was good.  After a few minutes troubleshooting why our secondary comms were not turning on, (Turns out was a bad switch that had to be coaxed a little) we prepped for our trip to KDAN (Danville).

Once we were airborne, I picked up following from Norfolk approach.  We stayed at 3000 feet due to clouds.  The ride was more bumpy and I had to work more under the hood, but pleasant and uneventful.  We finished this leg with an RNAV 20 approach at KDAN.

After refueling, we departed on our final short leg back to KTTA.  When we were 5 miles from KTTA, I pulled the hood off and made a normal crosswind landing on runway 3.

Total Trip time: 4.4

Simulated time: 3.8

As you can see, I spent quite a bit of time simulated today. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad.  I remember back during my private, simulated would exhaust me. Today I felt pretty good.  I guess it means that I am starting to get the hang of the scan and workload.

I think the main takeaway from this trip is that I was able to practice all of the things my instructor has trained me to do.  Like setting up navigation and radios, thinking ahead to the next event, briefing the approach, talking with ATC.  Even though I was only on flight following, I made requests for altitude changes, requests for the approaches, etc.  I was vectored or given direct to the approaches just like when we are on an IFR clearance.  It helped me build some confidence and I felt like a real pilot using the tools of the trade.

All in all it was a good day.  I got to fly and airplane… a lot…. under the hood.  And I made some much needed progress towards my instrument rating!

Enjoy some pics from todays flight: