Tag Archives: day


This one was familiar! Sikeston, MO was where I went on my first cross-country. And this time I got actual pictures! So I’ll let them do the talking.

The mighty Mississippi.

This one was taken on the trip there, somewhere past Reynoldsville.

This is me flying an airplane!

Even when I’m flying an airplane, I’m still vain enough to take a self-portrait.

Sikeston runway

Okay, this one didn’t turn out awesome, but it’s the runway at Sikeston, MO.

My aircraft, post-refueling

Here’s my little airplane right after re-fueling. When I got to Sikeston, a kid (okay, probably 16 – 17 year old) came out to help me park it. When I told him I was just here to re-fuel it, he helped me find and operate the the pump, too. There was a Beechcraft jet also parked there, and he said it’d been a busy day.

Scotty City bridge

This bridge is an easy to spot checkpoint, but this picture is less about the scenery than it is about the conditions. Moderate visibility but the clouds were rather low, way lower than forecast.

When I got back to Carbondale, I made a pretty drawn out landing and that was that!

15JUL10 / C152 / N95374 / KMDH-KSIK-KMDH /Landings: 2 / SEL: 1.9 / XC: 1.9 / Day: 1.9 / PIC: 1.9 / Total: 1.9


This was a big one! It was my NAV ride, which is the second road block on my way to being a private pilot!

So I went up with someone who wasn’t my instructor. The first leg was easy, just getting into the air and getting to Fairfield. Once we got there, and we got off the ground again, the instructor had me put on the goggles that simulate flying into a cloud. Then he had me close my eyes and he’d do a few maneuvers and then tell me to open my eyes and I’d have to put it back to straight and level.

After doing that a couple times, he told me to figure out where I am and get us home. I used the navigation radio, found a point on the map where it told me I was, and looked outside. None of it lined up with my map. So I did that two or three more times. Still nothing. Then I started to think about the instruments.

There’s a directional gyro and a magnetic compass. The directional gyro is made to be set by hand because it can get off direction sometimes, so you look at the mag compass, and set the DG to what it says. While I had my eyes closed, the instructor had twisted my DG around, which is why the road that was supposed to be East-West was running North-South. Once I’d set the DG straight, I pointed us in the correct direction and got us back to Carbondale.

14JUL10 / C152 / N95843 / KMDH-KFWC-KMDH /Landings: 2 / SEL: 1.9 / XC: 1.9 / Day: 1.9 / Sim Instr: 0.3 / Dual: 1.9 / Total: 1.9


My first solo cross-country! I had a choice between flying to Salem-Leckrone, Sikeston, or Fairfield. I picked Salem because I’ve been to Sikeston before, and Salem was a little further away than Fairfield.

This was pretty much an ideal day to fly; clear skies, decent visibility, only a slight wind. I got to Salem without any problems, saw the Mt. Vernon and Centralia airfields, and put it down at Salem. There was a cropduster there, but he was on the ground almost the whole time I was there and he had a radio.

Proof I was there.

Apparently solo cross-countries require students to re-fuel at each stop. I’ve only had to re-fuel once and that was at Evansville, where the FBO took care of everything. I stopped my plane on the wrong side of the gas pump, so I had to get back in, fire it up, and putter around to the other side. From there, it was almost as easy as re-fueling a car.

Cellphone picture of me and my aircraft

As I was taxiing to the runway, I noticed a couple walking their dog… on the runway. Thankfully, they got off of it once they saw me pull on to it.

The flight back to Carbondale was even less eventful than the flight to Salem. When I got off the runway, the controller cleared me to taxi to park. Once I got on a main taxiway though, someone else tried to get on it. The controller cleared me, and I didn’t hear him clear the other guy, so he yielded.

Overall, I probably couldn’t ask for an easier flight.

1JUL10 / C152 / N5198L / KMDH-KSLO-KMDH /Landings: 2 / SEL: 1.7 / XC: 1.7 / Day: 1.7 / PIC: 1.7 / Total: 1.7

Dual XC: KMDH – KPAH – KM25 – KMDH

This was a relatively interesting flight. The first leg was rather straightforward, except that clouds were way lower than reported and I had to fly it 1000 feet under what I planned. We get to Paducah, and set up to take off again when my instructor tells me we’re going to fly the Cunningham VOR to Mayfield. So I tune the VOR, intercept the radial, and fly it straight in.

Mayfield is uncontrolled. I put it down and we’re getting set up at the hold short when a Bonanza comes in for a landing. It’s way too high, keeps gliding past the midway point, and for whatever reason the pilot still tries to put it down. From my angle, there was no way in hell he was going to make it, and he realized it just before touching the ground. He goes around, then I get to take off.

On our way back to Carbondale, my instructor tells me to put the simulated instrument goggles on. Again, we fly the VOR to Cunningham, then to Carbondale. It’s really nice flying without exactly knowing where I am because my instructor can’t ask me how fast we’re going or when we’re going to get there. About halfway through he tells me to take the goggles off, then he pulls my power for a simulated engine out. I do the routine, recover from it, then he tells me I can’t go higher than 1,700 ft, my VOR is busted, and I can’t put it down on any nearby airfields.

Now, when he pulled my engine, I was pretty much on course for Carbondale to begin with. I picked a field directly below me, so I didn’t deviate far from my course. I still had my flight plan, so I point the plane towards Carbondale, and climb to 1,700. From that low to the ground, you can’t see that much to reference, but whatever. I find one of the towns on my flight path and trust my instincts, and voila, I’m in Carbondale. So close to the ground, I got a really good view of the new stadium.

Next time, I fly solo to some uncontrolled airfield near Carbondale!

29JUN10 / C152 / N5198L / KMDH-KPAH-KM25-KMDH /Landings: 3 / SEL: 2.4 / XC: 2.4 / Day: 2.4 / Sim Instr: 0.5 / Dual: 2.4 / Total: 2.4


This flight has been in the works for two weeks now, thanks to weather cancellations. It almost didn’t happen this time either, because I had planned to go to Paducah, KY but the clouds were low over Paducah so we went this route instead.

Flying cross-country during the day is relatively simple. There are lots of landmarks on the ground that are on my maps, so it’s easy to hop from one to next. My trouble came when I got into the St. Louis area. There’s so much stuff that it’s difficult to distinguish one landmark from another. At one point I was on my course and my instructor asked me if I could see the airport yet. I couldn’t pick it out of the noise around it so I started to doubt myself and felt lost. Thankfully, St. Louis has rather extensive radar service so they pointed me in the correct direction and I made it to the airport just fine. I did a substandard soft field landing, we turned around, and then flew right back out again.

On the way out of St. Louis I noticed landmarks that I had seen on the way in before I began to doubt myself. I was on the right track the entire time. I may have ended up overflying the airport, but I definitely would’ve gotten there. Oh well. The trip back was dead simple and I had radar following me the whole time. I managed to correctly pick out Carbondale from at least 20NM away, which is amazing because I almost never spot it until I’m 10NM from it. I put it back down with another horrible soft field landing, and that was that!

24JUN10 / C152 / N5198L / KMDH-KSUS-KMDH /Landings: 2 / SEL: 2.4 / XC: 2.4 / Day: 2.4 / Dual: 2.4 / Total: 2.4