Second Cross Country by Jim Miller

Hello all, I did my second dual cross country. Here’s the details for anybody who’s interested (long).

I flew from Ellington to Livingston (67NM). I estimated my ground speed at 112 knots in a 152 and arrived at Livingston within 3 minutes of ETA! I was flying with an instructor I’ve never flow with before, and made the worst landing I’ve ever made before. I initially thought I greased it but then realized I had bounced and was drifting toward the lights!! I was too high and too fast and ended up using too much of the runway for a safe T&G, so I did a full stop. The instructor suggested I had in way too much flaps for the wind conditions (20 knts).

It was REAL hot at Livingston, and density altitude nearly ate us for an afternoon snack. With climbout at 65, I thought I was going to smack the trees at the end of the runway. Stupid trees!

The next leg was to Liberty, about 37NM away. The estimated groundspeed on this leg was 82. On this leg, the instructor was to “get us lost” and have me find our way back. My pen quit writing and my pencil fell on the floor, so I couldn’t write times for checkpoints. When the instructor quizzed me for our groundspeed, I came up with 72. The Loran (which the instructor covered with paper) said 78. Not real close, but close enough to satisfy him. Then he said he did not have to get us lost because he said I already was! I thought I knew where I was but he said no, I wasn’t where I thought I was. I continued on my course looking for landmarks. After a few minutes, I flew right over Liberty, which was about 5NM west of the airport. I circled, found the highway that leads to the airport, then found the airport. The cause of my navigational error? I neglected to cross check the DG with the compass, and the DG was off by about ten degrees! Stupid DG precession!

The last leg was back to Ellington (35NM). I received an excellant lesson in VOR triangulation. I had been climbing slowly for 4,500 when the instructor suddenly pulled the power at 3,900. He asked if I knew why he pulled the power. I’ve never flown with this instructor before, so I thought maybe this was a practice engine out. No, I was about to bust Houston Intercontinental Class B airspace! I carefully planned to fly under class B on the way out, but totally forgot on the return. Big time D’OH! Stupid Class B!

The rest of the flight was uneventfull and I made a decent landing at Ellington (although it should have been better).

These were my mistakes. Hopefully I will never make them again. I’ve now completed the minimum 3 hours dual cross country training, but this instructor feels I need one more short dual cross country before I go solo cross country. I agree. With the mistakes I made I feel like a schoolkid who studied hard but flunked anyway.

Jim Miller