Thursday, October 16, 2008

Remedial Cross Country.

Ok I worked through my anger issues that arose from my less-than-stellar performance on my stage check last Monday. Oh I was mad alright. I admit I drove angry all the way home.

But to understand what happened, we must examine the root cause of the failure. Two cross country flights with instructors (one at night) went off without a hitch. So, the first error was my overconfidence inspired by two fairly long, and successful, flights of the same type. So, while I spent a good amount of time preparing for the stage check flight, I did not study the details of the area I was flying through. The terrain north of Flying Cloud airport is riddled with dozens of lakes that are roughly the same size and shape (small, round).

Another error was the assumption that my performance on the first two cross country flights would prepare me for the diversion to another airport. This is simply not the case. Without an awareness of your exact location at all times, it is difficult to replot your course to a new airport. I believe that this should be taught before the stage check, because obviously I wasn't ready for it.

So, since Dan probably won't be my CFI anymore, Pete will now assume that role. He seemed like a really good instructor, and had me plan another flight to Alexandria. I kept an eagle eye on on the landmarks, stayed ahead of the airplane by entering VOR and CTAF frequencies into the radios before I needed them, and when I was told to divert, I cross checked my position with my chart and VOR fixes, and immediately flew to the diversion airport. The only thing I'd change is my landing, it was high and fast, and I should have gone around, but oh well. I'll practice landings next week.

I'm pretty confident that I can do the same thing again with Rob the stage check instructor, so I'll be calling him tomorrow to set it up.

And to silence the howling of a vocal few, I did remember to bring my GPS tracker with so there's a Google Earth track today.

I love the smell of aviation fuel in the afternoon...

Google Earth Track: Flying Cloud to Maple Lake
Logshare: Online Logbook


Steve said...

Great job getting back on track. That's one other thing I still have to work on - diversions. And yea, it's interesting how different XC routes are in terms of difficulty. I've tried to go every direction for practice myself...

1. Dual - East
2. Dual - Northwest
3. Solo - East
4. Solo - Southwest
5. Dual - East (for Tower work)
6. Dual - West (Night)
7. Solo - North/Northeast (Long XC)

So basically I've been over all kinds of terrain. Like out to the West it's more wooded and hilly and powerlines were a GREAT landmark. Out East they're utterly worthless.

I still want to head South towards the foothills and am thinking about making the dual night XC tomorrow that way - darker, less flat terrain would be good practice with an instructor on board.

Anyway enough of my rambling. You're figuring out what you need to work on and making progress, so great job!

Paul said...

Great analysis. Good things to keep in mind when I get to that point in my flying.