My Flight Journal

Saturday, March 20, 2004 7:56pm

Whew! Put 3.9 on the hobbs today. Since this was going to be another dual flight, and since preznit terrified-of-small-aircraft was coming to town and shutting down the airspace, I decided to get the hell outta the area and do something more complicated than I've done to date. Also, I was flying my instructor's 172 for only the 2nd time.

Departed Sanford and headed west to Crystal River. That's a little 1-runway airport on the west coast. Did several T&Gs there, then landed and parked the plane. Walked over to the Dairy Queen and got lunch. Did some math while on the ground there, and decided to refuel so we could finish the trip w/o having to later. That is the fastest, most fuel- efficient 172 I've ever seen. We averaged 6.0 gph from Daytona (where he picked up the plane) - and that included landing at SFB and all the T&Gs at full-rich at Crystal River. That's amazing.

Took off from there and did a couple more T&Gs, then headed south for St. Pete. I've been wanting to go to Whitted Airport for a long time. I have friends that live not far from the airport, plus it's the one the city was trying to shut down. It's right on the water and also right in the middle of some complicated airspace. There's Tampa's class B, and MacDill AFB just across the water. Picked up flight following just north of the Bravo. The approach controller was the coolest I've ever heard on the radio. He was working an incredibly busy airspace, yet was calm and clear and not rattled in the least. He was even making jokes with other pilots on the freq. And at one point he got into a conversation with one of the MacDill drivers. They were part of the same unit up in NC or something like that. It was a pretty cool experience. Especially compared to the Orlando controller I got on the way home. More about him later.

The Tampa controller had me follow the coast south. He finally made a hole and told me I could cut across and go direct to Whitted. From the direction we were coming from, and the altitude we were at, the field was obscured behind all the skyscrapers in St. Pete. The controller was very cool and helpful in helping me find the airport. Even though I didn't spot it (between the buildings) until I was almost 3 miles out. And I didn't even tell him I was a student pilot.

Did a few T&G's at Whitted on runway 6. It's supposedly a 3600ft runway, but I'll be damned if it didn't look more like 2600ft. Maybe because the approach was over downtown, and the departure was over water and sailboat masts. Oh, and there was a jet blast shield on the arrival end of the runway. Was kinda freaky having to drop in over that thing. We departed there and got flight following as quickly as possible since Tampa's class B is at 1200ft over the water off the end of the runway. They gave us a vector to stay clear of MacDill's D, (had a C-17 cross in front of us).

From there I flew to Zephyrhills, cancelled flight following and headed direct SFB. There's a whole lot of nothing between Z-hills and Orlando. Through use of NDBs, VORs, and flying the plan, I didn't get more than a couple miles south of course for the 30nm leg. And that was mostly because every time I went head-down I would accidentally steer the airplane left. Gotta learn to let go of the yoke when I'm not looking out the window.

As we got near Orlando's class B I picked up flight following again. The Orlando controller was extremely busy and not a little crotchety. In his defense, there were a lot of morons in the air today. He had to yell at one guy a couple times to get him to de-conflict with MCO traffic. And he had to call another guy 3 or 4 times before the guy answered. Luckily I didn't screw anything up and didn't get yelled at. Landed uneventfully at SFB.

My CFI was very pleased with the whole flight. I did everything right. Well, my landings are still a little flat, but after a few today I was doing much, much better. Heh, he told me that landings are like relationships. Sometimes they're comfortable but that doesn't make them good.

Next up: lots and lots of solo.

Back      (33)      Next

  1. In the beginning   (pages 1 - 5)   6. Hurricane Season Begins   (pages 42 - 47)
  2. Pre-Solo   (pages 6 - 21)   7. Hurricane Season Ends   (pages 48 - 54)
  3. First Solo!   (pages 22 - 26)   8. Solo Cross-Countries   (pages 55 - 58)
  4. First Night XC   (pages 27 - 32)   9. Checkride!   (page 59)
  5. Longest Flight Yet   (pages 33 - 41)  
Email me! Visitors