October 8, 2006

Wisconsin Cross-Country Flight

LambeauField.jpgWith fall setting in across northern Wisconsin, the trees were starting to turn which made for a beautiful view from the ground but even more spectacular from the air. Having not flown an official cross-country flight in over a year, I decided to fly one. A cross-country flight is any flight to an airport that is at least a straight-line distance of 50 nautical miles from the origin airport. Flying out of Cherryland Airport, I selected Wittman Regional in Oshkosh, WI as my destination.

I awoke early and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise over Lake Michigan while getting a weather briefing so I could complete my flight plan. I arrived at the airport around 8am and was airborne by 8:30am. Shortly after takeoff, I contacted the Green Bay Flight Service Station to open my flight plan for the trip down to Oshkosh which was scheduled to be a short 43 minute flight. After opening up a flight plan, I contacted Green Bay approach and advised them that I wished to transition through their airspace en route to Oshkosh, which they approved. At the same time, I asked if they could provide flight following.

LakeWinnebago.jpgWhen flying VFR a flight plan provides some protection in case of an emergency by allowing the FAA to know where you were going, when you expected to be there, where you might have diverted to and a few other vital pieces of information that could help them in case of an emergency. Another great service for a VFR pilot is flight following. If air traffic controllers have capacity, they can assist a VFR pilot by providing radar monitoring services. They will advise of any traffic along the route and keep an eye on your position during the flight.

As I approached the midway point of the flight, Green Bay, I took in a great view of Lambeau Field – Home of the Green Bay Packers. While overflying the town of Green Bay I could see Lake Winnebago and the cities of Appleton and Oshkosh off the front of the plane’s nose. A few minutes later, Wittman Regional Airport came into view. I informed Green Bay approach that I had Wittman in view and requested permission to change radio frequencies to contact the Wittman Tower.

During the Oshkosh Airshow, it becomes one of the busiest airports in the world. Today, it was quiet with only a few other planes in the area. I touched down close to my estimated time of arrival. During the flight down I had a headwind but the trip back proved to be quicker with a nice tailwind. I climbed up to 5,500 feet for the flight back to Sturgeon Bay and enjoyed taking in the beautiful fall colors and the great scenery of northern Wisconsin. It was just one of those perfect days to fly where the air was smooth and the view was wonderful.

Posted by at October 8, 2006 10:26 PM

I bet it's gorgeous up there! We're awaiting the onset of fall colors down here in VA; it's usually spectacular!

Check out this page -- http://www.faqs.org/faqs/aviation/faq/section-8.html. My instructor told me that the conventional wisdom about logging cross-country time has changed, and he first learned about it at a CFI refresher course last February. When training for a rating or license, the 50-nm rule (and/or other restrictions) applies. But when not training, it simply has to include a landing at a different airport.

Posted by: k at October 9, 2006 9:04 AM

Nice trip. Two years ago, my wife and I did a leaf peeping trip up from my home base of 5K6 - Westosha Airport. It was my intention to get up to Cherryland, but a heafty headwind and my wife's bladder/hunger had us stop short in Manitowoc. I'd still like to make it up to Cherryland in the fall, but it won't be thir year :( If you'd like to see the pictures from our trip they're here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oblivion/sets/72157594308385002/

Blue skies!

Posted by: Oblivion at October 10, 2006 3:48 PM