As part of the PPL training we must complete a qualifying cross-country flight. This PPL cross-country qualifier should cover a distance of at least 150 nm (287 km) and include two full stop landings at two other aerodromes that are different from the aerodrome of departure. From Malmi this flight is traditionally flown as EFHF-EFTU-EFTP-EFHF, from Malmi to Turku, from Turku to Tampere and then back to Malmi.
I finally flew my cross-country qualifier last week on a third try. The two previous times the flight was cancelled due to weather. That almost happened this time too, but in the end we got up in the air and eventually back to Malmi. There were three of us flying that day, all eager to get it done. We all went to the airport early in the morning and the weather didn’t look too good. However the forecasts started to show promising signs and finally at 11.59 local time I took off.
On the way to Turku I encountered numerous rain showers. I flew past Lohja and Salo. Coming to the Turku CTR border I was told to hold outside reporting point SALPA. I stayed there close to 10 minutes before I was cleared to the CTR. And after that I was put in the South-East holding. I made circles there for few more minutes before getting a clearance to the baseleg for runway 26. I landed in Turku at 13.25. I taxied to the fuel station, filled up the tanks and then taxied to the stand.
The nice thing at Turku airport and also Tampere is that they have passenger jets which we don’t have at Malmi. It makes things more interesting. I taxied past a Wizz Air Airbus A320 loading passengers, going to the fuel station. My Cessna felt small.
Coming to Turku clouds were hanging pretty low and we had to wait there for a while for the weather to get better and to continue the trip. We hang out at the terminal for a while. About 2 hours later we finally took off from Turku. I took off at 15.32 local time. It already looked to be a long day.
The flight to Tampere was quite nice. I dodged only a couple of rain showers. It’s nice to be able to go around rain in the air. Can’t really do that when driving for example. I entered the control zone via LEMPO and joined downwind for runway 24. Landing was nice at 16.25. I once again taxied to the fuel station. Since the weather was what it was, I didn’t want to take any chances and filled up the tanks on every stop.
In Tampere everything looked fine weatherwise and we continued right after fueling. I took off at 17.14 from Tampere. The last leg was the nicest regarding the weather and the scenery. I even saw a rainbow. My first from the air! There was a large rain shower about halfway at Riihimäki, but otherwise weather was getting better and coming back to Malmi the sky was blue. I landed at 18.17. My cross-country qualifier was 264 nm (489 km) in length and the flight time was 3 h 22 min altogether.
An awesome thing happened on the last leg. When I was back at Malmi and turned on my phone I had a text message from my Dad saying: ‘It’s 17.27, did you just fly somewhere near Iittala?’ I called him right away and we concluded that it really was me that he saw! He had been driving on the highway and saw a white Cessna fly above. The funny thing was that I had thought about him, since I knew he was going to be driving, at some point when I crossed the highway. I just didn’t know that he had spotted me already 20 minutes earlier! This and seeing the rainbow were definitely the highpoints of this trip.
I flew my rehearse checkride the next day. I went through all the items with a teacher that are going to come up during the actual checkride. I did stalls, slow flying, engine failure, turns, spot landings etc. It went fairly okay considering we haven’t done those for a while now. It was good to rehearse them. All school and training flights are done now and I’m just waiting for my checkride.