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Flight Lesson #46, 47 – Solo cross country ventures to PYP and AHN

Sorry my loyal four readers. I have abandoned you. I’ll keep 47 brief since it was rather uneventful. Everything seemed to line up perfectly. We called the weather briefer before and got a green light. The weather was perfect. No winds and perfect visibility. Keaton, being his normal over-cautious self is triple checking oil, fuel, log books, etc.

I depart out and pick up VFR flight following for KPYP. Haha. Atlanta calls back, “Cessna November-2-4-8-8-4, say again your destination.” … translation: “WHERE?!?!?!?!”

“Kilo-Papa-Yankee-Papa, Centre-Piedmont Regional, Alabama” I answered back.

A minute later, Atlanta gives me a squawk code, and I am on my way. The flight was very smooth. I never saw another plane. I set my GPS to go to C22, an airport just 2-3 nautical miles away from PYP. Following my flight plan, I notice I am clearly deviating north of my target. I just offset my flight path south of C22 and proceed on. Without a problem, I see the airport and land. A quick text message to Keaton that I am safe and I depart back east to RYY.

I just flip back my frequency from KPYP’s CTAF frequency to the last one I was using to talk to Atlanta Centre after leaving the runway environment. There is TONS of chatter. The radio starts acting up of course. “Atlanta Centre, November-2-4-8-8-4, Request”
“Cessna pilot calling say your call sign again”
“2-4-8-8-4, what is your location?”
“2-4-8-8-4 is 10 miles east of Kilo-Papa-Yankee-Papa”
“2-4-8-8-4, contact Atlanta Centre on xxx.xx frequency with your request.”

UGH! I just talked to you 5 seconds ago. Are you kidding? I change frequencies and talk to another controller who is much more polite … and can hear me loud and clear. I get flight following established and proceed to RYY. When I overfly VPC, I call Atlanta and tell them I want to terminate radar services.
“Are you just going to change to Tower frequency?”
“Yes sir”
“Frequency change approved, keep your beacon on.”

Keep your beacon on? That’s a new one.
“Atlanta, are you asking me to leave my squawk code as is?”
I did not know what he meant.
“Yes, that is how we track you when handing you off to Tower. Blah, blah, blah”
Alright jerk, I didn’t need a lesson; I didn’t know what you meant.
“I flip to tower and let them know I am inbound. I get my favorite chick controller and take a straight in for runway 9. DONE!

A very fun flight. I got to improvise on the way there given the flight plan was off.

SOOOO … next day I am set to go to Athens. Weather briefer and Keaton panics over, I depart runway 9 to the east. I request a frequency change and flip to Atlanta for flight following. I get radar contact and proceed. The GPS is not getting a lock. Oh well. I have Athens VOR tuned in and am following my flight plan and charts. OLD SCHOOL FLYING! As I am flying, I turn into Captain Herb Emory of AM 750 / News Talk WSB. “Yes, if you are driving down I-75 right now, IT SUCKS! You are bumper to bumper ALL THE WAY into the connector.” I proceed on to GA-400 and the river. “Ah yes taking a look just at the King and the Queen building … it still sucks in Atlanta traffic.” Still no GPS lock, but how can you be lost with such easy land marks.

I get a call from Atlanta to change to 132.97. Note the frequency. I change to 132.90 and check in with Atlanta. All quiet on the western front. Crap! I sink down in my seat, change back to 121.0 and call back. “Atlanta departure, Cessna November-2-4-8-8-4, I did not get Atlanta on (1 – 3 – 2 – niner – 0).”
“Cessna 2-4-8-8-4, contact Atlanta approach on 1-3-2-niner-SEVEN”
Embarrassed, I call back “1-3-2-niner-seven for Atlanta Approach, 2-4-8-8-4, good day”

I move to the frequency up a bit and, sure enough, Atlanta answers. Still no GPS. I am passing by the I-85, 316 interchange. “Ah yes I-85 south, your trip to I-285 … still sucks. Better luck when those express lanes open up and create more traffic” I reset the GPS unit … and immediately get a lock. Are you kidding? I adjust my course, rather slightly for the note, and proceed direct to Athens. I get cleared to transfer to Athens tower frequency. I call Atlanta back and let them know that I am going to depart immediately back to RYY and if they would like me to leave the beacon code. They agree, I sign off, and get in contact with Tower. Tower gives me the option for niner or 27 to land on. Are you kidding? “I’ll take the straight in for niner!”

“Roger, clear to land on niner”

“Clear to land on niner, 2-4-8-8-4″

You kidding? I am 8 miles out. Oh well. I steer the plane to overfly Sanford Stadium. Gotta pull a stunt here. I whip out my cell camera and get it ready. Watching my descent, the runway, the stadium. I line everything up snap a perfect picture. Oh crap. I am now SUPER high and slightly off course of the runway. I whip the plane on course and dive the plane down. Not good enough. I put in a FULL forward slip. The plane starts losing altitude fast. Me, not being a good slipper, am wobbling the plane all over the place. I try to get out of the slip, but immediately accelerate too fast. Crap. I go back in the slip and lose more altitude. I break out and then pull up hard to drop off speed. I immediately engage flaps-20. The plane essentially slams the brakes. Flaps-30. Touch down. HAHA! That was cool. Let’s not try something stupid again while trying to land.

I land and Tower tells me to change to Ground and park in front of the Tower. I call back and tell Tower I will be immediately departing back to RYY. I am cleared to taxi directly for 27. Oh hell yes! A straight departure back to RYY! As I am nearing runway 20, I double check my clearance to cross it. “Tower, am I CCCLLLEEAAARRR to cross runway TTWWWOOO-ZEEERRROO”
“Yes sir, proceed to runway 27″
Alrighty then! I text Keaton, get cleared to depart, and am on my way. Tower clears me for a frequency change back to Atlanta. Lots of chatter going on. Moreover, I am fiddling with times and my flight plans. “Cessna 2-4-8-8-4, say your location and altitude.”

Are you kidding? I didn’t even tell Atlanta I was on the frequency. “Departing Athens, xxxx feet for 4500 feet, direct to McCollum”

“Radar contact, proceed on course”

Yeehaw … let’s go. It is rather uneventful back to RYY. I get transferred to Tower and cleared for … a STRAIGHT IN for 27. Hell yes. It has been my lucky day. I land and all is good.

Another good flight. Stay tuned for my CIRCUS of a flight that I had for my final 3-leg solo cross country. It was breath taking and scary!

The BEST holidays

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