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David_FFC

1st Solo CCountry - Finally

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Between work, family duties (don't mind them at all) and marginal weather (which hasn't really been all that marginal - just on the days I'd planned to fly), I finally got the first solo cross country done on the 24th Aug (Sat). Lot's of Sct-Bkn Cu 500 ft above me the whole way, and a little hazy. Even had a towering Cu waiting for me about 3 miles SE of FFC (about 20,000) for my return, and about 30 raindrops, which officially became a TS about 20 min after touchdown. I can now really understand how pilots can be enticed (trapped ?) into trying to beat the weather. I had the head-knowledge before, but now the experience to go with it. After all, it's just a few more miles, eh ?Compared to all the other dual cross countries I've done, which all lacked any sizeable cities and airports enroute to the destination (lots of power lines and RR tracks, though), for this one I picked a safe bet - FFC towards CCO (Newnan, GA)), to Auburn, AL, with I-85 about 1 mile to the east of the entire route. Also, a few cities and airports enroute this time - LaGrange, LaGrange Airport (LGC) (which had glider activity on the field, but didn't see any aloft), 7A3, Opelika, then AUO Airport with the city of Auburn on the other side of the field.Guess what airport PP99 doesn't have ? AUO. It has little 'ol 7A3, but not AUO ??? I practised the flight once, only to find there was no airfield ! In PP99 I don't usually make a flight plan out of FFC since it's non-towered, and that I know of, the only way to get the flight plan really going is to start with the ATIS at the dept airport. Since there's no ATIS at FFC (and PP99 doesn't have any AWOS's programmed to be used in lieu of ATIS), I really can't start any flight plans out of FFC. Therefore, I don't have to look at the airport menu - otherwise I would have known ahead of time that AUO was AWOL. The city of Opelika wasn't modelled, but the city of Auburn was, as well as two major lakes around the airfield - just no airfield ! Could someone confirm in their versions that AUO is indeed missing ?What are the chances that the dest for my 1st solo CC would not be in PP99 ? About the same as my Dish Network receiver being already assigned to someone else in Georgia, for 2 years, which I was told by Dish Network during the installation process (this was July of last year). The DN guy said he'd never heard of a serial # already being assigned - it was fresh out of the box, too ! It shows to go ya, almost anything can happen - Murphy will never die.Dave H.Fayetteville, GA

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Well you made it out and back. Way to go Dave. Now if you had gotten to AUO in the real world and the airport was missing, that would have been the PITTS. :-lol ( Note: Robert G Pitts is the name of the airport):-)Happy Flying,Cap'n Tall

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Congratulations, Dave!JoeBetween work, family duties (don't mind them at all) and marginal weather (which hasn't really been all that marginal - just on the days I'd planned to fly)Then there's the plane being down for 100 hr. inspection, down because the Nav/Com is'nt working or the person that had it scheduled before you got back just late enough to keep you from making your flight...and the list goes on!

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Thanks, Joe. Strange you should mention the inop nav/com. You've flown N141PF before, eh ? There are about 5 different planes to choose from. N141PF was the only one available a week before the flight, and I checked it out 2 days prior to flying, and the ADF radio had been removed and the gauge marked INOP, and VOR #2 gauge marked INOP, and, the day I flew, COMM2 didn't work too terribly well, so I just used COMM1. Never needed to use VOR #1. It did have a non-map GPS, which I just used for DME, and then just for the last 10 miles back. Since I usually like to use some navaids to verify I'm over the correct power lines, this was truly a pilotage and dead-reckoning flight. A very rewarding step.Dave H.Fayetteville, GA

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Congrats Dave. A solo cross country successfully completed is quite an accomplishment. I remember mine (and we're talking YEARS ago - LOL) I flew from Omaha, NE to Scottsbluff, NE -- almost across the entire state of Nebraska, practically to Colorado. Eastern Nebraska is relatively flat, but western Nebraska is.......NOT. Thankfully the weather was excellent the entire trip, although I was a little concerned about getting back before nightfall. (I don't land at night very well. :-roll ) But I felt really good.... like I was a real pilot, when I finally touched down back at Eppley Airfield just before dark. Good job, Dave-Lindy :-beerchug

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Dave,The dead reckoning pilotage techniques have been used since the first flights of ALL pilots. It is a good way to begin. Sure, a GPS with a moving map is the easy way. The GOTO button makes a good DME to any waypoint in the GPS memory. You use all available information to insure a safe flight. In my flying years, I have only had to turn back 2 times because of weather and the lack of an instrument rating. In my flying in Florida, I have had to pick my way around local rain showers on many occasions.Welcome to the real world of flying!Jerry K. ThorneEast Ridge, TN.

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Dave,great news! But I cannot imagine you did not take any pictures on such a memorable occasion?!Meekal

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Dave, sorry for the late response to your accomplishment.CONGRATULATIONS!I remember being very anxious about my first X-country. The only event that overshadowed that was my first solo. Your first solo X-country is where you finally realize you are truly in control of your success or failure as a pilot. Your first time venturing out of the comfort of your home airport totally on your own.Wonderful to hear your mission was a success and I hope you continue to have many more. :-)

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Dave:My first solo the alternator crapped out. First solo cross country door popped open on take off. That lead me to ask, what more can happen during flight training?Good Luck and happy landings!Doc BryantOh, first triangular cross country we had fuel pump problems, contamination. I knew there was more that I had to think about.

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Thanks, everyone for the encouragement and good wishes. It's very appreciated.I was supposed to do another trip Sat (31 Aug), but I called my CFI on Fri and told him the clouds were not going to cooperate - they weren't on Thurs, and Fri was the same, and I saw nothing that was going to change by Sat aftn. And it didn't. Plenty of clouds below 2000 ft AGL.My next trip will most likely be to Rome, GA. Going west from FFC, then basically north, on the west side of ATL and back. That was my 1 and only night dual XCountry. Thought I'd see what it looks like during the day. There are actually some mini-hills in that area.Thanks again, everyone. Dave H.Fayetteville, GA

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>First solo cross country door popped open on take off.On about my 10th lesson, I noticed the little cotter pin for one of the 2 door hinges on the right side was about 1/2-way out. It's not on the standard checklist, but checking those pins is on mine ever since.I realize we're all supposed to keep the emergency procedures fresh in our minds, but it sounds like your experiences added the exclamation point !Dave H.Fayetteville, GA

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The significance of the trip really did not hit me until later on that night. I guess I was just a little too procedure/task oriented (read: I was severely interested only in getting there and back). Normally the Auburn-Opelika-Pitts main terminal wouldn't look too impressive (except it did have a lot of letters in the name). However, you're right, I should have taken at least one picture from the trip, and that terminal was a very welcome sight, indeed. Next trip, I'm taking the camera.Dave H.Fayetteville, GA

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>But I felt really good.... like I was a real pilot, when I >finally touched down back at Eppley Airfield just before >dark. I guess you didn't mistake it for Millard.Did you hear the one about the SR-71 pilot who was supposed to do a fly-by at Offutt AFB (One rwy, rwy 12-30, 11,700 ft, 1 parallel taxiway on south side), but, upon flying from west to east, before getting to Offutt, buzzed Millard Airport instead (One rwy, rwy 12-30, 3800 ft, 1 parallel taxiway on southside) ? Apparently he wasn't from around there.Dave H.Fayetteville, GA

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