KRYV 011317Z AUTO 20013G20KT 10SM SCT100 22/19 A2991
KSBM 011253Z AUTO 18012KT 4SM HZ CLR 22/18 A2990
First cross country flight. I have been looking forward to this flight all week. A warm and humid day today, with the winds picking up fairly quickly. I got back from my trip late last night, and I tried to prep as much as I could. I got to the airport just before 7 and checked the weather, namely the METARs for both airports and the winds aloft observations for Green Bay (the closest reporting station). Finally got all the calculations done around 7:35 and called Green Bay FSS for the standard weather briefing and to file the flight plan. It's a good idea, even when flying VFR, to file a flight plan. It's a kind of insurance policy that, just in case something goes wrong, somebody knows about where you might be so they can find you.
Plan filed, plane inspected, we were strapped in and taxiing to Runway 23 for takeoff. Once in the air, we contact the FSS over the Madison VOR to open the flight plan. This lets the FSS know that you're actually en route. With the strong tailwinds, we were moving quickly, and before we knew it, we were 3 miles east of our flight path. The winds weren't blowing as predicted. Not to worry because by now we were picking up the Sheboygan VOR and I pointed the airplane toward the needle. In what seemed another eye blink, we were over West Bend, but now we were on course, tracking the 050 degree radial into Sheboygan. The airport was soon in sight, and I announced my intention over the Sheboygan CTAF and started my descent to the pattern altitude. The strong tailwind pushed me a bit far on the downwind and base, but otherwise the approach tasks were all familiar. I had to carry extra speed on the final before landing, but I put the plane down on the centerline and heading straight, so it was a good landing. We parked with the engine running so that we could close the flight plan. That involved using a ground communications frequency. It's kind of weird, actually. You tune to a special frequency, then key the mike 6 times. Then you hear a tone, followed by a dial tone and the number being dialed. It was, in reality, a phone line. The person at the other end was speaking over telephone while I was talking over the radio.
With the plan closed, we taxied back out to the runway and departed Sheboygan for Juneau/Dodge County. Instead of using dead reckoning (navigation aids and checkpoints), this time we navigated by the pilotage method, which is the good old, read the map and figure out which town you're flying over method. Flying into a strong headwind, we were moving pretty slow. Where it took us about 25 minutes to get to Sheboygan, it took us nearly an hour to get to Dodge County. A touch and go on Runway 20, and we were up quickly, heading back to Watertown.
Bumpiness aside, it was a nice day to fly. Summer mornings are best because you're getting up before it gets too hot. Two hours flying time today, so the hours are starting to really add up. I have a solo practice session scheduled for Friday, then another cross country flight on Saturday. This time we will fly to Sheboygan, then to Appleton, then back to Watertown.
Enjoy your holiday all, and come back again soon to Rich's Quest For Flight.