First Cross Country Flight

2:34 PM Monday, October 11, 2010

This morning I got up bright and early to finish my preparations for my very first cross country flight. The plan was to fly from Davenport (KDVN) to Cedar Rapids (CID) to Dubuque (DBQ). I had done the flight plan with Tim on Friday, but needed to adjust for today's winds. I check duats when I got up and it had the forcast for the 12th, which is tomorrow so I was confused as to what to use. So I finished up printing airport maps and going over my other plans. Then I packed up and went to the airport to ask Tim what I should use. When I got there Tim was up with another student so I continued going over my stuff. When Tim got back he showed me what to use and I readjusted my numbers. Everything looked good to Tim so I went ahead and preflighted and then we were off.

First checkpoint was the walcott truckstop, also known as the worlds largest truckstop, not so large from 4500ft by the way. I almost missed this checkpoint because I was thinking it would take longer to get there. This was a good thing for me to note because all the check points come up pretty fast. I had to be diligent for the rest of the flight.

First stop, Cedar Rapids. When we were over Tipton, I radioed for airspace clearance and was given a squawk and cleared to enter for a straight in for 27. This was my first straight in approach and it honestly felt like we were moving very slow and taking forever to get to the runway, but I was on my airspeeds and lined up with the center line so I felt good. The landing went really well, and I held my own with Air Traffic Control. I felt quite good when we got to the ground and parked. Clearance, Taxi, Take-off and departure we well.

Next Stop, Dubuque. We hit our checkpoints and were flying at 5500 for Dubuque. It was pretty hazy up there, so I had a bit of trouble finding a couple of check points, but Tim made sure I knew how to identify them based on roads and surrounding landmarks. Headed into the airport, I knew where it should be but I couldn't see the runways. Then all of a sudden it was there. I was cleared for a right base for runway 18. Right traffic patterns have me a bit off my game lately since I have only flown them twice, but I was sure I could handle that fine. I almost made a huge mistake though, I turned base to line up with 13 instead of 18. Tim warned me and I got turned back to line up with 18. The runway seemed to come up a bit quicker than I was expecting and I got a bounce, but it wasn't a terrible landing. We taxied to the FBO and parked. Got a VFR clearance to head south to Davenport, and taxi and take-off went as expected.

On this leg, I picked a couple of check points that were not good choices, I am glad this happened though, because now I know what is a good check point and what isn't. It was a pretty easy flight back to Davenport and I enjoyed it a lot. I did have a bit of trouble holding my altitude on this leg, I think I let myself get to complacent behind the yoke knowing that I was headed somewhere familiar.

Back at Davenport, I had a pretty decent landing. I had a bit of a balloon but I held it firm and we decended for a nice soft landing. My crosswind correction was lacking slightly, but it was pretty decent.

All in all, I really enjoyed my first cross country. I actually felt like a pilot today. All my other times up, my workload was so heavy and my concentration was so focused on the manuevers or the touch and gos that I didn't really have time to enjoy the fact that I was flying a plane. I am a pilot! I enjoyed today very much!

Next up, night cross country, Davenport > Peoria > Whiteside Co > Davenport. Very excited!!

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