Amber is a recipient of a Girls With Wings Spring Scholarship Award. Girls With Wings offers a Private Pilot Scholarship to help defray the cost of flight training lessons in pursuit of a private pilot certificate. This scholarship is targeting those individuals who have soloed but have not completed the Private Pilot Course. The Private Pilot Scholarship is an award in the amount of $1000.00. We are acccepting applications for the Summer 2013 Program until June 30th. The funds are raised through contributions from the general public. Please visit our website for more information.
Don’t Forget to Clean Your Windshield!!
First Solo Cross Country - 167 NM
Friday June 7, 2013
The night before, I ate dinner and planned to head to bed early. I’m a huge advocate of getting more sleep than most the night before something big whether it be testing, working, going on a long hike, driving cross country and flying cross country, especially my FIRST cross country flight. If you’re not well rested it will add stress that you do not need. I tried to not think about anything bad for my mini new journey. I checked weather again to see if anything changed. Its thunderstorm time around here and the unstable air has been happening more towards the afternoons so my plan was a morning flight.
I got up the next morning well rested and with a good attitude. Breakfast was over and it was time to head in. Then I started to get nervous, thinking maybe I shouldn’t have drank the two cups of coffee before I headed in to meet my instructor at a coffee place to go over my plans.
My original plans were to take the same route I did for my dual cross country…. But we decided to switch it up a bit. Similar route, but I would head to an airport I haven’t been to yet and by myself…. Oh goodness….. But I had this.
Pushed the plane out and preflighted. Jumped in the plane and went over my checklists again and in the middle of that my instructor took a picture while he was standing outside. I couldn’t believe I was actually going and at the same time felt relieved because I finally was.
I make my taxi call and head out of Sandpoint, Idaho. I work at the airport I’m getting lessons at and had a feeling a few coworkers would be standing outside watching me ….of course they were. I had taken that Friday off for other plans but they fell through and figured the guys would hear me on the radio anyways. So there was no getting away from the audience. So I had to have a great departure.
It was a great takeoff because I remembered to use more right rudder than I normally do. When your instructor isn’t with you it’s as if you think more clearly because you’re not worried what the instructor is thinking about. You’re by yourself!! After taking off and heading East I started to calm down a bit. Except I forgot one thing.
I brought my allergy pills and a bottle of water. I had planned on that for sure because this time of the year my head feels as if it’s about to explode. Not fun when you are flying. But the one thing I forgot…. Didn’t wash the dang windshield!!! I even mentioned the day before to my instructor, I need to do that. It literally bugged me …..
I would have had some great pictures but the huge bug splatters weren’t too appealing in the middle of some of them. But that wasn’t going to stop me from taking them when I could. Half of my flight was extremely bumpy so I was careful in doing so.
On my way to the first stop in Thompson Falls, Montana, I was thinking this isn’t that bad since I’ve been there already. I checked winds and wanted to do a flyby of the runway to be certain the low winds registered were actually low winds. No one was in the sky with me that I could hear or see, so I figured why not? I was on schedule and having fun!
I landed and took off towards my next stop. Plains, Montana. I have never been there before on land or in the air so this time I was getting a little nervous but knew it wasn’t going to be a problem. Flying through the rocky mountainous valley was amazing. It is an entirely different view being next to cliffs you would have to actually rock climb. There was no road to see what I was viewing. My own personal site seeing adventure conducted by me. Excitement wouldn’t even describe it. Plains, Montana was not very far from Thompson Falls. I literally went up and had to start planning on landing soon.
It took me a couple minutes to spot it. Things look a tad different in person than just looking at a map. Once again no one was is the air with me. I was shocked since it was such a lovely morning but enjoyed the open skies all to myself.
I landed and decided to take a small break. I pulled off the runway. Everything was going great and I sent a picture to my boyfriend and let my instructor know I was heading back soon. I was ecstatic!! And then it started to get warm on the ground. It was time to go.
On the way back I couldn’t realize how easy the trip was. I felt confident enough and was glad I went. As I was coming around a small mountain entering the lake I heard another female in the sky inbound for landing too. It was very encouraging to hear even though she had no idea how I felt about it. She didn't know I was on my first solo cross country. She didn't know I just came from an airport I landed at and had never been to before. She had no idea she helped me in my home stretch towards Sandpoint. So I continued making calls to area traffic. It's encouraging to hear another woman doing what some say we "shouldn't" do. That doesn’t matter. What matters is I’m doing what I love.
It’s really good to be nervous about new things. Just don’t let that scare you from finishing up what you started. Fly on!