Yesterday I took the best cross country flight I will ever take in a small single engine airplane. With my room mate Adam and flight instructor Anthony, I packed into a Cessna 172R Skyhawk and flew all the way down to Myrtle Beach under IFR (although it was beautiful VFR weather). The trip took around ten hours total, involved six instrument approaches, two and a half fuel stops, five different states, two mountain ranges, and one sand castle.
The reason for this massive trip was to fulfill the big IFR cross country required by the FAA involving a trip over 250 nautical miles total with a leg over 100 nm, and three different instrument approaches at three different airports along the way. Adam and I combined ours to make an unforgettable trek across the eastern United States.
It involved nearly every feature of terrain in it which was very cool. We crossed the Smoky Mountains (7,000 ft. high) on our way through Tennessee, passed many beautiful rivers, flew across some of the oldest farm land in the U.S., passed many major cities, and of course flew near the Atlantic ocean. We flew during the morning, daytime, and saw the beautiful glow of cities at night. We saw beauty that very few people get to experience and I feel absolutely blessed to be a part of it.
Our airplane, N9516J performed excellently. At one point, our GPS buttons would not work, but it functioned well on the next leg. We had to switch tanks sometimes to equalize the fuel usage from the two tanks, but other than that she flew very well. Our route was Richmond, KY (i39)-Charlotte, NC (8A7, reroute by ATC)-Florence, SC (KFLO)-Myrtle Beach, SC (KCRE)-Asheville, NC (KAVL)-Greenville, NC (KGCY)-Richmond, KY (i39).
All these airports were each very unique and neat. The small airport that Charlotte ATC sent me to was a small 2,000 foot runway in the middle of nowhere, and I had to use a max performance takeoff to take off which was neat. Florence was all palm trees and sunshine with a Q200 taking off right in front of our eyes. Myrtle Beach was colorful with Cuban car-like airplanes, colored lawn chairs, porch swings, sunshine, and of course a beach. Asheville was nestled between a pass in the mountains and was beautiful at night.
Their FBO (lobby/fuel stop) was the nicest I’ve been in. Greenville was challenging at night but Adam did fine with both it and Asheville (going over mountains to land at night). Richmond was nice because it was great to be home after such a long trip, and after having to deal with massive headwinds on the way back.
I’m so glad I came to EKU for aviation. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be flying on these neat trips and getting the great instruction I have received so far. I hope you all enjoyed this post, it was hard to pack such a great trip in a small amount of space. Have a great start to the week,