First Solo Cross Country Finished!

Today, I left North Triangle Airport at 2:00 pm and flew to Kinston Airport on the same cross country route that I flew with David last week.  The winds were pretty calm so the flight was essentially smooth with some afternoon bumpiness under the fair weather clouds.  I took a few pictures to document the trip.

First, taxiing to Runway 23 at North Triangle.

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Next, performing my pre-takeoff checklist at Runway 23.

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Flying over a huge junkyard that we use as a landmark en route to Kinston.

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I made 3 full stop landings at Kinston and then returned to North Triangle.  We pass Wilson Airport on the way down and back.  Wilson was used as a training base during WWII and has 3 huge runways forming a triangle.  Now, it is basically deserted.

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Finally, the ramp at North Triangle taxiing back to the hangar.

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I did much better on my radio communications with Raleigh Approach, Washington Center and Seymour-Johnson Approach.  However, I will definitely put the doors back on before my long cross country.  It wore me out more worrying about my papers flying out into space than actually flying the airplane.

What’s next?  David said to plan a cross country to Cape Fear, Fayetteville, and back to North Triangle.  That’s more than 3 hours in the air.

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First Light Sport Solo!

In preparation for my solo cross country tomorrow, I flew the Remos GX solo around the traffic pattern and to the practice area today for about an hour. The Remos has tons of performance with two people, but with just me, WOW!!! I was at pattern altitude basically by the end of the runway (that is a slight exaggeration, but it was fast). My landings were actually pretty smooth, but I did land a little long due to the lighter weight in the airplane.

I also got to coordinate with other planes in the pattern, including taking off from a taxiway intersection due to a Cessna 172 with an instructor and student sitting at the entrance to the end of the runway and “discussing things”. I asked if they were ready to takeoff or if I should perform a short field takeoff. They were not ready, so I just took off with a shorter runway. Of course, not a problem solo in the Remos.

Tonight, I get to plan my cross country and figure my headings factoring in the winds aloft and such. I meet David tomorrow afternoon to go over my planning and then I launch into the great blue yonder.

First Cross Country Completed

Yesterday, I flew my first cross-country in the Remos GX.  David and I flew from Triangle North (KLHZ) to Kinston (KISO) and back.  That is a distance of 54 nautical miles each way (about 62 statute miles).  During the flight, I practiced navigation with pilotage, which is looking out the window, actually big, gaping hole since we had the doors off, for landmarks, such as towers, highways, airports, and in this flight, a huge junkyard.  I also used VOR radio navigation and the GPS.

In addition, I was in radio communication with Raleigh Approach, Washington Center, Seymour Johnson AFB, and Kinston Tower.  It gets pretty hectic to control a light-sport airplane on a summer day, talk to different air traffic controllers and navigate, which is why it is required practice.

I am schedule to fly this same cross country solo next week.  When I do so, I am going to put the doors back on the Remos.  The sensation that your maps and radio frequencies were going to fly out the door made things too difficult for just one person.

After this next flight, I am planning a solo cross country to Cape Fear, then to Fayetteville, and back to North Triangle.  This is a distance of 268.5 nautical miles (309 statute miles), the requirements state that one leg must be at least 100 nautical miles.  At a little over 100 mph cruising speed, I will be in the air at least 3 hours by myself.  It doesn’t get boring, though, as you are constantly monitoring air traffic control, your position, looking for traffic, and watching the gauges/instruments.

Remos

Update

Since the Raleigh Executive Jetport (KTTA) has been closed for runway resurfacing and Wings of Carolina has relocated to Burlington, NC, I have trained twice more with Total Flight Solutions in Louisburg (Triangle North Executive Airport, KLHZ) in the Remos GX light sport.  It is beyond fun flying with the doors off on this light sport airplane!

I also got to see the benefits of these planes first hand.  I am making ALL of my short-field landings in less than 1,200 feet of runway and that’s as a student!  The Remos is also not designed to be a STOL (short take-off and landing) airplane like the Zenith CH750 or JustAircraft SuperStol (www.justaircraft.com).  This really opens up mission access in the rest of the world.

Last lesson I practiced actual soft-field landings on the grass next to the runway.  We are allowed to do that at Louisburg.  My instructor said that I did fine and the airplane was fun to land on grass.

Today, I learned valuable lessons of “defensive driving” in the air.  I had two different airplanes fly close by me without ever acknowledging my existence and a flock of turkey vultures dive into my flightpath.

As I was practicing power-on stalls, my instructor says to watch traffic at my 9 o’clock and proceeds to pull back on the yoke and climb the airplane.  A Cessna RG flys right under us close enough for us to read his tail number!  David (my instructor) tried to contact them by radio to see if they had seen us but they refused to communicate.

I was then practicing turns around a point when about 6 or 7 turkey vultures dove right in front of me.   Needless to say, we went to another area to practice.

Finally, as I was in the traffic pattern to land back at Louisburg, an older Cessna took off and then turned left about halfway down the runway, right in front of me!  That is completely against procedure but just like driving, you always have to be on the lookout for the other guy who is not paying attention or obeying traffic laws.

I am scheduled to make a cross-country flight with David on Thursday to Kinston and back.  This is a 110 nautical mile trip that should take about 1 1/2 hours of flight to complete.  Getting closer to that check-ride.