June 3, 2004

Cross Country Preperation

Hillsboro_closeup.jpgAfter my solo flight on Tuesday I have been itching to get back in the plane. The weather was beautiful today with light winds and great visibility. When I arrived at the airport, my instructor suggested we practice some of the skills necessary to plan and fly a cross-country flight.

So we looked at the map and picked an airport that was around 40-50 nautical miles away. For a flight to count as a cross-country flight during training it needs to be at least 50 nautical miles. We selected Highland Country Airport(KHOC) just outside of Hillsboro, OH. We drew our course and chose three visual checkpoints, including a lake with a radio tower near it, a tower at the intersection of some power lines and a mining area. The total distance of the trip would be 40nm each direction falling 10nm short of an official cross-country flight. After factoring our course and airspeed for the wind at 3,500 feet we determined our time in flight to be 27, minutes burning 2.7 gallons of fuel. I used a basic flight calculator for my calculations and planning.

After departing Blue Ash, we turned to the heading we determined would be necessary to meet our checkpoints. Sure enough within 9 minutes we had reached our first checkpoint. The next few proved just as easy to find and reach in the estimated time. As we approached Hillsboro I could see the airport just past the city. The airport edges up against a lake and made for a beautiful airport and scene. We did a single touch and go on this small single strip runway. The landing was great.

After reaching our return altitude of 2,500 feet on our way back, my instructor surprised me by handing me the instrument training hood used to train pilots to fly using only the instruments. She asked me to put on the hood that limited my view to the inside of the cockpit. I was surprised that flying the airplane without outside visual reference was was easier than I thought. I did have troubles keeping the exact heading and altitude, though I am sure with practice that will become easier. I flew for about 15 minutes or about half the return flight in the simulated instrument conditions.

This was a fun lesson flying to a neat airport. This weekend I need to choose the destination airport for my first real cross-country and do the flight planning. I will keep you posted as to where I choose to fly. Let me know if you have suggestions. The flight should be just over 50nm.

Posted by at June 3, 2004 9:09 PM

How about Lexington? Nothing like mixing business with pleasure ;) 73.8 nm.

Posted by: Similate at June 4, 2004 12:37 AM | Reply

Here's a good link to see airport distances:

Posted by: Similate at June 5, 2004 1:25 AM | Reply

Thanks for the link and suggestion. I think I am going to fly south into Ketnucky. I have selected Fleming-Mason Airport (KFGX). I will post details about the flight Sunday night.

Posted by: Todd at June 5, 2004 11:15 PM | Reply

That was quite too soon after your first solo flight to try out IFR, but congratulations still! :)

Posted by: Mark at March 5, 2010 10:08 AM | Reply

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