Powered by Lycoming

About 80% of general aviation aircraft fly using Lycoming engines. Clearing the trees at the end of the runway. Leaving 4500ft for 6500ft. Maintaining airflow and generating lift across the wings. All are impossible without a reliable engine. Lycoming powers my training aircraft and so fuels my quest for a private pilot certificate. This blog is a record of my thoughts and experiences on life, flight, and learning.

26 September 2006

Solo Cross Country

Still catching up with my flying logs...On September 7th, the weather worked out just right for my first solo cross-country. Well, it wasn't my FIRST solo cross-country--I had been to 10G, VTA, PHD by myself already--but this would be my first cross-country of more than 50 miles from my home base (I40). For this trip, I thought about it and thought about it, and wanted to have something significant, but in the end, I just settled on KMRT (Marysville, OH). My flight path would be over some familiar terrain to help me avoid getting lost...not that you can really get lost with two VOR radios and a GPS onboard, but hey...that stuff can happen.

The flight out to KMRT was no problem. I considered calling CMH for flight following, but it was a fairly busy day on the approach frequency and I didn't want to be a burden on the controllers. Plus, I wanted to be able to do a little sight seeing if necessary. Landing in at KMRT was great, so I went around and did another one. With those two under my belt, I headed back to I40. In the photo below, you can see me crossing I-71 just about Polaris, near Delaware/Sudbury exits. There are a lot of golf courses on the North side of Columbus!

The flight back was uneventful, except for the fact that the fuel gauges worked the entire way back. Go figure.

Some clouds started to pop up at about 4000ft, so I dropped down to about 3000ft to duck below them and maintain my 500ft separation. You can see how purty some of them were - it was starting to get fairly convective by the time I landed at I40, so I was glad to put the airplane in the hangar for the remainder of the day. This day's flying got me up to 40hrs total time, with 19.4hrs PIC. I'm getting closer! Another 10 hours and I'm getting my checkride!

Night Flying Completed!

Well, this is a little delayed, but it follows chronologically. August was a terrible month for flying in Ohio. (Well, at least for a student trying to finish the night flying requirements). Finally on August 22nd, the weather and my instructor's schedule aligned, and we set off to finish the remaining requirements. The goal was 1.4 hours of logged time and 7 full-stop landings.

Our scheduled track took us from I40 to ZZV. No problem navigating, I have driven to Zanesville about 500 times, so I knew the geography pretty well, even at night. Landing was no big deal, winds were almost non-existent and the air was as smooth as Dove chocolate. The inital problem started when the fuel gauges zeroed out about half-way down and the backlights on the gauges went dead. This recurring problem has been a little disconcerting, but we had both checked the tightness of the fuel caps prior to departure, so we kept on flying.

It turned out that ZZV was having a little electrical problem of their own. NO TAXIWAY LIGHTS! The runways lit up great, but it was really tough trying to find that taxiway turnoff at night. I guess ZZV probably has about 30-50 landings per day, almost none at night, so no one had complained. We stuck 2 landings at ZZV and headed east to CDI. The landing at CDI was no problem, a little land, turn-around-and-take-off on the opposite runway. We flew back to Coshocton and tested the Terrain Avoidance upgrade that had been installed on our Garmin G430. It showed the radio towers and the hills where they were supposed to be, so that was reassuring.

Back at I40, we hit an additional 4 landings and logged 1.7hrs so that I was now completed with my Night Flying requirements. Yee-Haa!