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!
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

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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