Career Magazine

First Solo Cross Country Flight (KOFP to KFVX)

By Swayne Martin @MartinsAviation
Yesterday morning, I took the biggest step in flight training since my first solo flight. With 15.9 total flight training hours, 44 landings and takeoffs, and 2.7 hours of solo flight time, I set out on my first solo cross country flight from Hanover, VA KOFP to Farmville, VA KFVX.

After having had my first opportunity for a solo cross country cancelled due to weather, I was excited to see if everything would work out for Thursday morning. In addition, the day before I was scheduled to fly, there had been a slight mechanical problem with the plane. I wasn't sure if everything would work out. Arriving at the airport, I was happy to find light winds and a fixed plane!

First Solo Cross Country Flight (KOFP to KFVX)Swayne Martin in front of Tecnam P92 Eaglet 16HV
When I called 1-800-WX-BRIEF to file a VFR Flight Plan and get a Standard Weather Briefing, I found the winds to be pretty good. There were clear skies for the whole flight, 10 miles of visibility, and it wasn't too hot! Interpolating between 3,000 and 6,000 feet, the winds were about 15kts. At Farmville FVX, the surface winds were shooting straight down runway 21 at only 6kts. I called my instructor to get the go ahead for the flight.
My flight plan was to take me over the Flat Rock (FAK) VOR station, and straight on to Farmville. Coming back, I planned to fly Northeast, hit the James River, and follow it back to the Richmond/Hanover area. Here are some images from an online flight plan that I created. (*note, I did not use these plans for the actual flight, I used a Sectional Map):

First Solo Cross Country Flight (KOFP to KFVX)Flying from Hanover to Farmville 
First Solo Cross Country Flight (KOFP to KFVX)Returning to Hanover from Farmville
Here is the video of the first solo cross country from my Youtube Channel: MartinsAviation1 In the video, I use a combination of head-strap and suction cup mounts: 

Taking off from runway 34 at Hanover KOFP, I was excited for my first chance to really start "going places" by myself. The first solo cross country flight for any student is a big deal. It's the first time that you're not restricted to a 25nm bubble around your home airport. With the ability to fly cross country flights, I can now, in theory, fly myself anywhere in and out of the state non-stop.
First Solo Cross Country Flight (KOFP to KFVX)
Arriving into Farmville, I made a courtesy radio call at 10nm and 3nm out from the airport. I only really made one mistake during the whole flight, I almost set myself up to land on runway 3 at Farmville FVX vs. Runway 21 (which had more favorable winds). I quickly discovered that error, and corrected my entry point into the airport's pattern. The landing in Farmville went well. There was a slight crosswind, but nothing too bad. It was good practice! 
First Solo Cross Country Flight (KOFP to KFVX)
One interesting part about the Farmville Airport is that there are no true taxiways. One has to use the taxi "loops" paved on the sides of the runway. After landing on runway 21, I proceded down the runway, made a loop, and back-tracked (on the runway) to the run-up area. I did one more pattern at Farmville for practice. I thought it'd be fun to go for another round. You can see much of this in the video above. 
First Solo Cross Country Flight (KOFP to KFVX)
Returning to Hanover was pretty fun. I got to fly at a lower altitude, so I could see a little bit more below me. As planned, I flew towards the James River, and once hitting it, followed it back into the Richmond Area. By now, there was a layer of "few" clouds at 3,000ft... that made things pretty fun! 
First Solo Cross Country Flight (KOFP to KFVX)
Landing and taxiing to the ramp area at Hanover I had some time to reflect on all that I had just done. It went by so fast, almost feeling like a blur! When you're on your first solo cross country, you don't have too much time to think about anything other than flying the plane to your destination. That's one of my favorite parts of flying: you have the chance to forget about everything that's going on back home or on the ground. 
First Solo Cross Country Flight (KOFP to KFVX)

I can't wait to see what airport I'll be flying into next on more cross countries! Saturday morning, I fly through Philadelphia (PHL) to New Orleans (MSY) for a family reunion in Gulf Shores, AL. I'm starting to do this thing where I take a flight lesson wherever I travel. I'll be taking a lesson in Gulf Shores, Lake Tahoe, and in the Outer Banks (First Flight, Kitty Hawk) over this summer. 

Look out for more posts coming soon! Thanks for reading!,

Swayne Martin
Twitter: @MartinsAviation
First Solo Cross Country Flight (KOFP to KFVX)

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