Pilot’s Post

For the one of you that cares (that would be my mom), I figured I would post that I flew my required solo cross country this past Sunday.  The solo cross country is, in my opinion,  one of the larger milestones of earning the private pilot’s certificate (license).

The specific requirements of the solo cross country are:

(ii) One solo cross-country flight of at least 150 nautical miles total distance, with full-stop landings at a minimum of three points, and one segment of the flight consisting of a straight-line distance of at least 50 nautical miles between the takeoff and landing locations;

My instructor decided to make it a little more involved than that.  I had full stop landings at 5 points and my longest segment of flight was a straight-line distance of 107 nautical miles.  Total miles flown: 228, total time in the air: 2.25 hours.

Straight-line flying isn’t as easy as it sounds in a plane with no GPS, and only analog instruments.  A cross-wind can blow you significantly off course.  You plan for that before you go, but winds change…Now I know why pilots always have good watches, many with chronometers.  Plotting a course and calculating time/distance between checkpoints on the ground really helps you stay on course.  I basically flew what amounted to two triangles, one large and one small:


I lucked out and picked one of the best fall days we have had so far for flying.  No clouds, no real winds to speak of either on the ground or at altitude, cool temperatures and visibility was virtually unlimited.

I have enough solo time now to qualify for the practical test.  Still need to do my night cross country with my instructor and take the written test.  Hoping to knock it all out in the next 30 days or so – depends mostly on the weather.




3 Responses to “Pilot’s Post”

  1. steve Says:

    Congrats. I’m already thinking of a chartered plane to take us on a hunting trip…

  2. T.S. Nunya Says:

    Good luck Curtis.

  3. James R. Rummel Says:


    I was expecting you to start reciting that poem about “Slipping the surly bonds of Earth…”

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