Hours – 22
This Sunday, I decided that it would be nice to take a cruise to Waterbury/Oxford Airport (OXC) in Connecticut. We would depart from MGJ, fly to the Kingston VOR station in Poughkeepsie and from there, head straight to OXC. The round trip would take about 1 1/2 hours.
We took off and everything was great. I set up everything for VOR navigation and pilotage and headed towards the VOR station. I finished my navigation log earlier that morning. I made a few radio calls to the tower at Stewart (SWF) (my first checkpoint) and transitioned through their class D airspace. I found the VOR station just fine, changed my heading and continued to my next checkpoint, which was Rt.22/Pawling. This flight was really fun. I love VOR navigation and am actually getting pretty good at it. We crossed over Candlelight Airport in Sherman, CT at 5500FT. I looked to the right and saw the Long Island Sound as well as the island itself. You can really see a lot from that altitude. I also saw my destination airport 17 nautical miles ahead.
Things started getting a little tricky as I approached the airport. There was a bit of turbulence and I started my descent late. We had to descend faster than my ears would’ve liked. Also, I kind of screwed up my radio calls to the tower. My landing was even worse. For such a nice day, it was quite gusty at this airport. It must be in some valley or something. I came in sideways and had to correct by giving the airplane some throttle to re-land. We got down on the runway and taxied to stay ahead of a pretty good sized commercial jet. We took off before them and I screwed up my last call to the tower on my way out. Oh well…practice will make perfect.
The trip home was pretty uneventful. Made some pretty good calls to New York ATC and flew over Stewart’s airspace. I screwed up a radio call to MGJ, but came in and entered the pattern nicely for a good landing.
There really was a lot to handle on this trip and I was exposed to a lot. I am confident that my radio calls will get better in the future as I practice more. Yigal says that it is common to kind of shut down when things get hairy for students on their first cross countries. I guess so, but I am going to do better next time. This Friday, if we fly, we are going to PA. Till then!