Night Cross Country

1:24 PM Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wednesday night I arrived at the airport with my flight plan in hand and I was ready to go flying. The plan was to fly direct from davenport to Peoria and Peoria to Whiteside Co. Tim said we were going to deviate from that plan (training exercise) and fly from Peoria to Whiteside Co. via the Bradford VOR. I redrew my path and marked a couple of landmarks, wrote down the VOR frequency and now I was ready to go.

I headed out to do my preflight and had a little bit of trouble orienting myself in the dark plane and juggling the flashlight along with my checklist and fuel tester, but I eventually worked it all out.

Alright, ready to go. Taxi and Take-off went fine. Once we were up we called Moline to set-up flight tracking and we were cleared through QC airspace. Due to wind direction we were literally booking it to Peoria. Our calculated ground speed was around 130kts (which is fast for our little Cherokee). We came up on Peoria airspace quite quickly.

Moline handed us off to Peoria approach. We listened to the weather (which was extremely staticy, in fact, Tim had to give me the phonetic code because I couldn't understand it). I called up Peoria and got a clearance for a touch and go with departure to the north via the Bradford VOR.

As we were coming in, I had a very hard time identifying the airport and then once I had it, I had a hard time orienting myself with the runway. Thus I had a shitty landing and was uncomfortable all around. Oh well, on to the next destination. We were given a departure heading of 360 so we turned to that and headed on our way.

We dialed in the Bradford VOR and we tracked to it. The wind was pretty much right at our head so we were crawling. My calculated ground speed was about 88. I think we might have been a little bit slower, maybe around 85ish. We flew along for what seemed like forever (which i was ok with) and we finally passed the VOR. I set it to track out on the 355 radial (which would take us right to whiteside) and intercepted the radial. When we finally made it to whiteside, there was another plane working on night landings so we picked up the 07 runway that they were using. I crossed midfield but I didn't account for the wind and ended up getting blown into the runway on my downwind which made my base leg non-existent. My landing wasn't terrible, but it certainly wasn't great.

We took off and departed to the west and started climbing to 6500ft. I had planned for 4500 but Tim said I could go higher if I wanted. Of course I did!

By the time the little Cherokee got to 6500 it was pretty much time to start descending so we could get below quad cities airspace before we got to davenport. I enriched the mixture and started the descent. We were descending at about 800ft a minute so we reached altitude in plenty of time to get below Quad Cities Airspace. We were flying in from the east so we were pretty much coming in on a right base for 33 (which is the runway we wanted). However, traffic is left at Davenport. It was pretty late and there had been absolutely no radio traffic the entire ride in, so Tim said I could do a right base if I wanted. I did, I needed some practice with my right traffic anyway. Made right base, turned final, lined up, and had a pretty decent landing, one I am pretty proud of anyway.

All in all, I think it went well. Time said he was confident in my night flying abilities that if they did solo cross country's at Carver he would have no problem sending me on one. That made me feel pretty good. We have one more together cross country, we are doing a short one to Cedar Rapids, Moline and back. Then it will be time to do some solo work. I am really excited to get up there by myself and actually get to visit other airports. I have to go into at least one class C airport but the other I get to pick. Hmmm, where should I go.

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