Solo 150nm Cross Country – Waterbury & Sullivan

Caldwell to Carmel VOR to Waterbury to Sullivan to Huguenot VOR to Caldwell

What a beautiful day for flying. Today I completed my multi-leg solo cross country. I met bright and early with my instructor. Once he reviewed my flight plan and we double checked the weather he signed me off. The first leg was from Caldwell to Waterbury. I like flying in this direction because it takes me over the town where I used to live, pretty cool seeing it from above. I took off and maintained 2,500ft to stay under the shelf of the Bravo. I made contact with NY approach and received flight following. Once I squawked the code it was business as usual. The frequency was surprisingly quiet for such a nice day but I guess with the cold coming in and the holidays people fly less. I tracked Carmel VOR to and from to find Waterbury.

Flight Plan Solo Cross Country

At about 10mi out I began my descent and told NY that I had the airport in sight. I called the tower and notified them I was 8mi SE of the field and they gave me a right base for 36. After thinking about it for a few seconds I realized that didn’t make sense so I called the tower back and tried to clarify. I realized I told him my position was SE when in fact I was SW. So after I told him what my ACTUAL position was he cleared me for a straight in 3mi final.

The landing was alright, not the best by far. This became the theme of the day. The tower asked me what my plans were and I just asked them for a back taxi to the runway for immediate departure. I quickly organized my papers and refolded the sectional. Then after a mag check I was on my way. This time I wanted to try something different for navigation. This was my longest leg to date approx 75nm, I elected to fly by pilotage alone no VOR. It was pretty easy along this route because of one simple reason there are at least six airports easily spotted from my course. It is pretty hard if not impossible to mistake an airport for something else in this area. It ended up working perfectly and I got to see some cool airports along the way.

Stewart airport is a class Delta that takes in some pretty big planes. Jetblue and a few other carriers fly out of there. I could see the runway from quite a distance away. Then right next door is Orange County airport. After flying over a ridge of small mountains I saw one of the cooler looking airports along the route. Wurtsboro is a small non-towered field that is tucked right into the side of the mountain, well that’s at least what it looks like. Around here it is one of the closer places for glider flying. Something I hope to try for a little bit one day, but for now I will just focus on flying my 172s.

As I got about 10mi out from Sullivan I began my radio calls. There is no tower so it was the usual position/intention calls. I ended up over flying the field so I can enter a left downwind for 33. There was another plane holding short so I notified him I would slow down and extend my downwind so he can go ahead. The landing was much like my first. Only this time I flared too high and after what seemed like an epic float to the runway finally settled it down.

My next mission was to get some more 100LL in this puppy. I had plenty of fuel on board but my instructor said it would be a good idea to top it off “just in case”, sounds good to me, when it comes to flying the old better safe then sorry has a whole new meaning. When I taxied over to the ramp I saw a really nice SR22 fueling up and wasn’t quite sure what to do. Fortunately he was wearing his headset and I asked him if he could taxi on up so I can squeeze in there. This was actually the first time I fueled the plane myself. At my home field there is a fuel truck service that comes by and fills up all the planes, self serve isn’t an option as far as I know. Filling up was just like a car gas pump. You stick your credit card in, It asks you a few questions and you pump away.

After quick run inside for a nature call I was back in the plane ready to head home. The flight home was just like my other two times leaving this airport. I tracked Huguenot and was home before no time. The big thing to remember on the way back to Caldwell is always to drop down so you are under the Bravo. I made my approach from Boonton reservoir and was given a right downwind for 22. My approach was spot on, not to high/low or fast/slow. But for whatever reason the landing was definitely they worst of the day. I am pretty sure I left the nose down too much and came down flat, then bounced a bit. The good part is at this point I am king of recovering wacky landings so I maintained center line and calmed her back down to earth. All in all it was a great day for flying. For landing it was a mediocre day, but I guess those come with the territory. On to the next task!

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