PPL Lesson 33: Cross Country Qualifier

Hot on the heels of yesterdays practice cross country qualifier today I had PPL Lesson 33: Cross Country Qualifier.
I must admit the build up to this had filled me with nerves as it is such a big thing considering that I have only done 2 solo navigations before I set of on my cross country qualifier. It did feel amazing to actually be at the stage where everyone has enough faith in me to get this done however!
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The route was the same as yesterday, Cranfield -> Leicester -> Gloucester -> Cranfield. I had been following the weather all day and it was forecast to be really good which it was, to begin with at least. I got to the airfield early to speak to my instructor and just go through what I need to do. After the briefing I was given the official cross country qualifier form which you need to get signed by each place you land to prove that you turned up.
G-BMVB has long range tanks so I had more than enough fuel for the planned flights and I would not have to pick any fuel up at all.
I started the plane up did my checks and then taxied to the departure runway of 21 and took off. I headed to Olney and then set my heading to head to Leicester. It was a very calm day or so it seemed!
As I progressed along my route I changed to Sywell before changing to Leicester and requesting my join instructions. As I was doing the overhand join on the active runway I realised it seemed a lot windier then the winds I had of 120/15.
Anyways I did my overhand join and landed and was actually told by the guy on the radio that I had done a good job, this was nice to hear as I thought it wasn’t my best join but hey, he knows better than I do.

Leicester cross country
Leicester

I went inside and checked in and asked them to sign my form after I had paid the landing fee of £12.50. Unfortunately time was tight today so I had no time to hang around so I headed straight back out to get going to Gloucester.
I did all my checks as usual and announced my intentions as this is a radio so you tell them what you are doing. I took of and climbed to my cruising altitude of 2300ft and headed to Gloucester via Northampton.
This route has a bit more work to do, I first changed to Sywell before switching to Brize Radar. It is always comforting being under radar surveillance as they give you a number to put in your transponder and then they alert you to any nearby traffic. As I progressed on this leg I went by a glider site but there was only 2 in the air so it wasn’t a real issue.
As I got closer to Gloucester I switched to get the ATIS before contracting them.
I was told to do a standard overhead join for the active runway but on the approach to Gloucester I could see that it was much windier than I had planned. En route I was also being blown of course to the right and had to correct.
The overhand join was hard work due to the strong wind and when I landed it was I would say the strongest crosswind that I had faced! However I made it down safe with plenty use of the rudder.

Gloucester and my finger
Gloucester and my finger.

Due to my haste, you have a nice shot of G-BMVB and my finger in Gloucester.
Another quick run inside and paying the £14.50 landing fee and I was back in the plane and taxiing back for departure to Cranfield, I am starting to feel like an airline pilot at this stage. To all the low cost carriers, as you can see, I can execute a quick turnaround and be back en route within 30 minutes 🙂
The weather seemed to be getting worse and it was very windy on take of and my climb out. I reached back to 2300 ft and headed back home to Cranfield. The flight was more of the same, 10nm out I switched to Brize Radar and was given the same code of 3717 to put in my transponder.
When I got closer to Cranfield I switched to their frequency and requested a basic service as I flew to Olney. I then requested the join instructions and landed on runway 03 back at Cranfield.
I passed my instructor as I came in but he was heading out for a lesson so I waited an hour for him to come back and sign my form. We did a debrief and I had home to have a well deserved cup of tea and some food, as all I had eaten all day was 2 satsumas and some breakfast biscuits.
Unfortuantly the airfield is closed all week and on top of that I have to work this weekend anyways so I won’t be back in the air until the 23rd 🙁
Now all that is left is to prepare for my test! It feels like the end is in sight! I have written this post on preparing for your cross country qualifier.

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