When the time came to start planning cross countries I started searching online for planning sheets. I found some on Sporty’s and other websites that you can buy pads of sheets. But of course not wanting to spend money on something I could easily find online I began searching. I quickly came across an excellent source of several different navigation logs. They are available on Dauntless Soft.
If there is one thing that I learned rather quickly its that losing your bearings is pretty easy up there. Even on a nice VFR day I found that most highways and ponds look alike in the densely populated areas I fly in. I have of course gotten better with my airport’s surroundings but wanted something that can help me on some future flying once I get my ticket. I started my initial flight training in a 1981 Cessna 172P, this was your typical no frills school plane. It was IFR equipped but did not have GPS. Being a gadget geek I immediately started looking for a portable hand held GPS I could have in my bag, ready to go should the moment ever arise.
What I decided on was the Garmin GPSMAP 96C. It is a portable aviation GPS with enough features to get me where I need to go but also not terribly expensive. It features a 1.5″x2.2″ 256 color non-touch screen and the standard Garmin directional pad. The unit itself is powered by two AA batteries and comes with the standard cigarette style plug for the plane. It also includes a yoke mount. I found the yoke mount to be very good, however it will get in the way of newer skyhawks that have the factory clip mount on the yoke. If you have used other Garmin products then the interface will be quite familiar. It is operated by scrolling through pages of information.
After thinking I was in a landing rut it finally all worked out. During my last few lessons I finally put it all together and have become more consistent with my landings. This morning I went up with the instructor and we did three touch and go’s. After that he told me to pull over to the ramp near the tower. He signed my log book and then instructed me to do three more touch and go’s then to taxi back to the ramp.
I was nervous for a split second right before I called ground control. As soon as I keyed up though I focused on the task at hand and the nerves all went away. It was definitely an odd feeling not have my instructor there by my side. The ceiling was a bit low but the winds were calm, still a nice day to fly.