Solo cross-country and some sim time

The city of Lahti.

The city of Lahti on my first solo cross-country.

I have flown my first solo cross-country flight! I passed my Chart and Radio Navigation progress check Friday a week ago and got green light to fly my first cross-country solo this week. So Tuesday this week I took off from Malmi (EFHF) and headed towards Hyvinkää (EFHV) and Lahti-Vesivehmaa (EFLA).

My first solo cross-country was a route I have flown before as the Uncontrolled Aerodromes school flight. (School flights are those flown with a teacher and training flights those that are flown solo.) The route in detail was EFHF-DEGER-Nikkilä-EFHV-Kärkölä-Kukkila-EFLA-Orimattila-Porvoo-DEGER-EFHF. Those were my waypoints. I only made a slight change to the end of the route, otherwise it was the exact same flight I had flown before with a teacher. This time the winds were from the opposite direction and I had to use different runways at EFHV and EFLA from what I had before. So that was different this time. Using different runways also meant approaching and joining the traffic circuit was new.

Flying to an uncontrolled airfield means that you have to give traffic announcements to other aircraft in the area since there is no ATC. It goes pretty much like this “Vesivehmaa traffic, OH-CVY, approaching from Lahti, 2400 ft, estimate to airfield at time 18. Will join downwind leg runway 07 for low approach.” Once you join the downwind you announce “Vesivehmaa traffic, OH-CVY, on downwind runway 07 for low approach.” Then on final leg “Vesivehmaa traffic, OH-CVY, on final for runway 07, will make low approach after which I will climb to 2400 ft and continue towards Lahti.” We give these announcements in Finnish because there’s a lot of recreational flyers at those small airfields and some might not be very fluent with English. Of course if you hear someone on the frequency who appears to be foreign, it’s good to give out the announcements also in English.

I made a low approach both at EFHV and EFLA for runways 04 and 07 respectively. When we fly solo with a student license we are not allowed to make touch-and-go landings at airports that do not have emergency services. That’s why the Uncontrolled Aerodromes solo flight only contains low approaches. When I flew the route with a teacher I made two touch-and-go landings at both airfields.

All in all my first solo cross-country went very well. It was an uneventful flight, but that’s how it’s supposed to be. I stayed on the map the whole time and managed to fill out my OFP (operational flight plan) during flight. The most memorable things I would say were that I spotted the ski jumping hills while passing the city of Lahti, and somewhere near Orimattila someone flew probably 1000 ft below me with a red biplane. The first time I’ve come across someone else far from airports.

I took off at 0625 UTC and landed at 0811 UTC – a nice 1 h 46 min cross-country flight under my belt. The next one will be the Controlled Aerodromes flight and I will fly the EFHF-EFTU-EFTP-EFHF route.

The FNTP II looks like an airplane from the outside.

The FNPT II looks like an airplane from the outside.

FNPT II. A very nice device for basic instrument training.

FNPT II. A very nice device for basic instrument training.

As part of our PPL training we have some basic instrument flight training. During the last week I have done my three simulator sessions and I will have two more instrument flights in a Cessna. The FNPT II, Flight Navigation Procedure Training device, doesn’t simulate motion, but it is a great device for practising instrument flying.

How trustworthy does this look?

How trustworthy does this look?

After firing it up, the FNTP looks very nice.

After firing up, the FNTP II looks very nice.

The first session was basically about getting familiar with the device, doing climbs, descents and turns. At the end of the first session I also made an ILS landing at EFHK runway 22L. The visuals aren’t very detailed, but it was cool enough to know where I landed!

ILS landing chart for EFHK runway 22L.

ILS landing chart for EFHK runway 22L.

The second session included an instrument malfunction. The artificial horizon broke down at some point and I had to keep heading and altitude as well as make turns without it. I used the turn coordinator to keep the wings level and kept an eye on the vertical speed indicator and altimeter to keep the altitude. I also did climbing and descending turns and spiral dive recoveries with the full panel. In this session the landing was a SAR landing to runway 30 at EFJY with a pitot tube malfunction. Basically I had no speed information because of it.

Aleksi getting ready to take off from EFJY runway 30.

Aleksi getting ready to take off from EFJY runway 30.

The objective of the third session was to practise orientation solely by radio navigation aids including intercepting and tracking radials, QDM and QDR. In other words practise the use of ADF and VOR. I also did a VOR approach on this one.

Aleksi flying and me observing.

Aleksi flying an approach to EFJY while I observe.

I have also flown my last solo traffic circuit flight a little over a week ago. I did a couple of spot landings. The runway 09 was in use at EFHF. I hadn’t flown that before so that was a nice challenge. The runway 09 traffic circuit is quite fast-paced just like the runway 27 circuit. Since the weather has been really nice and warm lately, doing those eight circuits really were a sweaty workout. A nice little fact, I have now flown circuits and done spot landings for each runway at Malmi. Is that called collecting runways?

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