Sat. 6th October 2001
country" is defined as a flight to a different airport (land and
stop) with a distance exceeding 50 nautical miles. Cross country training
is very important, navigation is all important in these flights.
Navigation with minimal instruments (or none whatsoever) is a skill to
shoot for. While GPS has made navigation a breeze, GPS units do run out of
batteries (yes, there are many stories of hopelessly lost pilots with dead
By the time I arrived at
the stage of doing my first solo cross country, I had done two long
flights with my instructor. One was to Tucson, and the other was to
Prescott. The solo flights would be similar, hence I was not too
[The rest of the
story is a little boring, the second cross country was better]
I was instructed to go to
Tucson International (TUS) and stop there. Then go to
Ryan Field (RYN) and perform a touch and go, and find my way back to
Chandler Municipal (CHD).
I spend hours honing my flight plan. I had everything memorized. I knew
what to do. Thanks to meticulous planning, everything went quite well.
I called Vikram, who lives in Tucson and set up a lunch date with his family.
On the Saturday morning I reached CHD and called Prescott FSS for a weather
brief and took off on time with no incidence. I opened the flight plan with Prescott
Radio as soon I was airborne and then headed direct to Tucson, on the Victor Airway. There were a few brief moments of concern – specially when some plane dropped a cartload of sky divers on top of me
while i was flying over Eloy
(or that’s what it sounded like on the radio).
Nearing Tucson I called the approach controller of TUS and was cleared to land on
runway 21. Runway 21 is the "shorter" runway and crosses the two
long runways used by the "big boys". As I sailed over to make a
base entry for 21 I had a great view of the Davis Monthan Air Force base
that shares the class C airspace with TUS.
The approach and landing
was uneventfully. Vikram was there at the airport with family. His daughters
ran out to check the plane out. They were actually in quite a bit of awe,
as they were told I was flying in, specifically to have lunch with Vikram
as it was his birthday.
All in all -- nothing to
write home about.