Wednesday, January 10, 2007

CPL Cross Country

Overflying the "plane graveyard" at Pinal airport.

The ultimate objective of our flight training in Phoenix is to attain the commercial pilots license (CPL) and I checked off one of the boxes yesterday with the completion of my solo cross country flight (300 mile trip with landings at 3 airports). With flight plan and maps in hand I flew 100 miles south to Tuscon for breakfast (how cool is that) which was fairly easy with plenty of landmarks to follow. Next, I headed west towards a large airport called Yuma close to the Mexican border. I had to be careful here as the route took me through a 10 mile corridor, either side of which was restricted military airspace. I thought it best not to rely on "visual flight rules" and used some of the navigation aids (VOR's - If you want to know what these are email me). It can get lonely on a long trip but F-16's for company are not a good idea. As I approached Yuma I saw lots of runways; All of them except the one I needed to land on. I finally saw it about a split second before ATC asked me to confirm visual on it; A bit embarrasing if you have to ask and they then say "It's underneath you" or something else suitably embarrasing. Anyway, a quick stop for fuel and back to Phoenix. The whole trip took about 7 hours but it certainly didn't feel like it as there is always something you have to be checking or monitoring. Nothing particularly eventful happened which in aviation is always a good thing !!