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Instrument Cross-Countries

Instrument Cross-Countries2.21.2012

1149, Until this Friday (02.17) last, it had been quite a long while since I had done a cross country flight, or even flown to an airport that wasn’t Fort Pierce/St. Lucie County International. You can best believe I was itching for one, during the quest for the private multi-engine add on (a.k.a multi-private), I’d suggest to my instructor that we should go to one of the local airports, like Okeechobee, or Stuart, as to no avail. Multi-private went quickly, and I knew I would get a couple cross-countries during instrument, but I knew that the instrument cross-country would be a big step away from the photographing, scenery admiring, and sunrise marveling ways of the VFR cross countries.

It seems, for me, that all roads lead to Space Coast Regional Airport in Titusville, FL. I would have preferred to go to West Palm, but the syllabus points to Titusville. A very familiar place, I’d flown there during my VFR dual and solo cross-countries. Complaining was something I didn’t do, as I was happy to be flying out of the area, this time corresponding with Miami and Orlando center, who had to talk to me. During my last solo cross-country, I received flight following from Miami and Orlando, but the controller’s feathers were so ruffled, he forgot about me in between Melbourne and my destination Daytona Beach. Not these flights though, ATC has to monitor and vector IFR traffic, and I couldn’t be forgotten about.

I had been filing flight plans and doing most if not all of the IFR radio calls since stage two (ahead of schedule, :D), so while plotting the flight was a slow to due to me overthinking everything, the filing was easy, and my instructor and I went off in Duchess N5090M. I’ve never flown the aircraft, which has an “Aspen” glass altitude indicator and HSI, and it also gives you speed and altitude. It’s about the closest I’ve been to a “glass cockpit”, and Lars and I had a lot of fun playing with and getting to know the unfamiliar instrument. The Titusville cross-country went very very well. Orlando approach thanked us for keeping our speed up like he asked us to, (the first time I’ve ever gotten a “thanks for the help” from ATC). The tower guy at Space Coast seemed a little perturbed with me confirming a circling approach, but other than that, the landing (look out for the smokestacks!), taxiback and takeoff went fine. Orlando approach vectored us around jets departing from Melbourne, and thanked us for our cooperation (once again). The cross-country came to a smooth end with a safe landing back at Ft. Pierce, and my instructor asked me to prepare for the “long cross-country”, which would be Daytona Beach then to Orlando (Executive).

Some very low clouds delayed the long cross-country, but we were off in N650TH the Monday night following the Titusville flight. For some reason, I always feel like a commercial pilot when flying cross-country at night. The peacefulness of the air coupled with bring lights of civilization below can make aviation enthusiasts out of the most severe pteromerhanophobiacs. I had flown into Daytona at night before, but when we left there, I saw Daytona International Speedway all lit up, it was something I had never seen before. Something I also had never seen before was Orlando from the air at night. The view of Downtown Orlando at night is spectacular, we passed right by it on the approach into Orlando Executive. Executive was rather empty, but it was nice sitting in a place surrounded by the glow of street lights, the clouds were a dark blood-red-pink, reflecting the color of the street lights of a crowded Orlando. Being a city person myself, I felt like I wanted to stay a little longer, but no dice, we taxied back to the active runway, got our clearance, took off, and came back to Fort Pierce.

You know, Ill eat my words. Turned out these instrument cross-countries were just as charming as the private cross-countries, and the flying I’ll do for maturation and time-building brings more charms than I can wait for! It should be a lot of fun, but first, I shall conclude Instrument flying with a successful end-of-course and checkride.

Distributed by Viestly

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