Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Solo Cross Country

I got up this morning not expecting the weather to take a turn for the better but...I was wrong. After a early check the snow showers appear to be holding off until this afternoon. I also was happy with the tailwind for my N99 to KESN first leg. I talked with my CFI and we pretty much agreed as of 8pm last night it was not looking good so we decided to work on my 3 hours of IFR. I only have night flight, 3 hours, IFR 3 hours and a second cross country to finish up.

I get out of my truck at the airport and Bill leans out the door and tells me to bring my flight plan your on! I am ? um...well.....I didn't finish running the numbers with the updated winds aloft since we pretty much decided on a no go last night. Bill said the weather will hold and you should get the flight in, lets see what you got. I break out the flight plan and we discuss as I work out the winds corrected heading, airspeed, leg times and fuel burn. 10 minutes later he is signing off in my log book for me to go. I pack up, walk out to 46C and start my pre-flight. Pre flight complete I taxi out for my run up and departure on runway 27. Funny, as I announce my intentions they take on a new sound, now void of the "to remain in the pattern" phrase. I feel like a 16 yr old in Pop's car all alone for the first time, again.

I have a 20 kt quartering tailwind so I am making great time as I confirm my TOC checkpoint and my second checkpoint KEVY. Wow, crossing the C&D Canal and looking at the SR1 bridge, thinking how small it looks from only 4500 at my 9 o' clock. On to the next checkpoint a marina on the Sassafras river on the 305* Smyrna (ENO) vor radial. Looking good with leg times spot on and now picking up Rt. 301 that will lead me like a trail of bread crumbs to within 10 minutes of KESN. Crossing Rt. 301 as planned where 301 splits in two locations within a few miles of each other to look like humps on a camels back (thanks to google for the visual prior to flight). The "humps" at my Price, MD checkpoint leave only Rt. 50 to follow to stop #1. Calling Easton Unicom for advisory and listening to the AWOS I find that the active is r/w 4. Hey, this works I am almost in the downwind position. I call out my location and since there is no traffic I slip in on the downwind leg. Holding my pattern altitude I flow through the landing checklists and end up with a slow nose up, stall horn moanin' touchdown, very sweet! I taxi to Easton Jet for a potty break and to find something to buy so I have a receipt to take home (just for myself).

My quick stop complete, I do a walk around followed by the start up, taxi out and run up. I taxi out to r/w 4 via t/w 'A' announce holding short r/w 4 for aircraft on short final. I follow with a check for traffic and roll out into position and announce departing r/4 as the aircraft that landed clears and off I go. Minding the noise abatement I climb out and turn left to hug Rt. 50 to miss the trailer park no fly/be a good neighbor area. All checkpoints are hitting my times, things are feeling good. I turn on the GPS and confirm my ground speed, I planned with a headwind going home for 105 kts, I was tooling along at 104, I'm happy. Following Rt 301 north and pretty much the same checkpoints I am well on my way for KILG. Crossing the Canal and passing KEVY I call Wilmington tower and after acknowledged I reply with 2746C Cessna 172, with you 3000, 10 to the south over Summit (EVY) Inbound for full stop with "Echo", Wilmington advises report 3 mile left base r/w 1. I break to the left from my plan to position myself for the left base entry. I watch traffic land and depart, finally turning to enter the left base and in position advising ILG. ILG responds with a clear to land, I acknowledge CTL r/w 1 and add a second notch of flaps as I start my final turn. A bit high, cutting power over Rt13 adding last notch of flaps, speed good decent good, nose up.....keep it there, stall horn moan......slight chirp and riding almost a wheelie as the nose wheel follows 5 seconds later. Man that was fun !!!! I hope my co-workers were watching. A quick turn around and I am departing ILG for home.

Tracking the MXE Modena vor I am headed North. Once I cross MXE I will turn to 54* and call out my location and intentions for N99. Turning for the 45* entry to r/w 27 I advise and I'm feeling good. A departing aircraft calls out departing r/w 9 and asks me to keep an eye out for him. CRAP, I didn't ask for an advisory and instead assumed 27 was still the active. I immediately announced breaking it off and departing the pattern to the west to reposition for a 45* entry to right downwind r/w 9. Ok feeling like a dope, I dropped the ball in front of the home team.....regroup.....I turn out wide and pick up the traffic that departed, he is off to the north. I now have a helicopter entering a "right base" for 27, Helo's they got it made can just go and set it down. I enter at a 45* for the right downwind r/w 9 hitting my marks but not maintaining ALT. As I look for the helo traffic I lost 150'. Climb, get on track I tell myself, ok landing checklist complete I turn base, add a second notch of flaps followed by turn to final. Looking for traffic, that helo, he is on his way into r/w 27 I acknowledge contact he states he will be north of the runway and I am good to go for landing. Hmmmmmm....a little bit high playing the watch me game so I cut power and add last notch of flaps, I have the runway made no question. My speed is fast 70 kts, I float a bit and then touch down with only a short moan of the stall horn.........then chirps, DANG that was pretty much flat, then a short skip and chirps again. GRRrrrrr not pretty in front of the home crowd but I'm home safe and anxious to taxi in.

I get 46C tied down and unload the plane. I can't find my log book, , oh great I had it in my back pocket at Easton. I recheck the plane, nothing, the flight bag and headset bag, nothing. Blood pressure has to be on the rise now. I call Easton Jet center and ask them to look for me, nothing. I have to now drive there to find it. I call my lovely Bride to let her know I'm home and tell her the news. I ask if she wants to bag the rest of the day and go get crabcakes for dinner, she can't. I head out to make a stop at the house then figure on driving to Easton. Mary calls and as always gets me settled. Gary, she says, I know your pretty ticked but I have to ask, did you check the flight bag.....I'm thinking well, duh yes. I told her yes and she asked me to not head south until I relax and please check the bag for her again. God I love this woman, I stop for some lunch and empty the truck. Headset bag empty, not there, jacket good, flight bag, all the books out, 2 flashlights, extra batteries, new AOPA directory, AFD, charts (Wash.,NY) highlighters, post it's, nav log, knee board, pens, pencils all empty and no log book. Finally I set the bag on the passenger seat as it was during my flight, not wanting to block access to my whiz wheel or AFD or other essential things I think, did I slide it underneath the bag and into the pocket that just uses velcro to close???? say it's so........YES !!!!!!! there it is, a place I would never had put the darn thing. I always keep it with my headset. I call the Bride and let her know she IS the woman and thanks for keeping me grounded. Geezzz was I that pumped after my flight? The flight school is going to think I am nuts!

What a day, I am finally calm now, actually tired, but I took the dog out to the park for some fun and I am going to cook dinner for my Bride. I am looking forward to my next flight and I WILL make copies of the log book tomorrow!!!!!

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