Lesson 49
20 April
2.3 hours

Cross country to Charlottesville (CHO).

This was a piece of cake, compared to the previous cross country flights.  Well, it should have been.  I'd already done it once before, and I'd had a bunch of others in between.  Anyway, it was a nice day for flying, good visibility and no clouds below 4500 feet.  The wind at 3000 feet was 300 at 20, meaning that we had a good headwind out and a tailwind back.  The weather briefer said there might be some turbulence, but I wasn't aware of anything unusual.  I was able to get on course and stick to it pretty well, and hit the checkpoints right on the button.  There's a stretch of about fifteen miles without any really good landmarks, but I just kept plugging along on course and never felt lost.  (Never was lost, either.)  Got the radio stuff all right--with only a little help from Adam.  The only thing I got confused about was the ground guy's hand signals, so I'd better review them in the AIM.

On the way back Adam had me divert to another airport because of bad weather he invented for Chesterfield.  We headed for the Rockville airport, which is right near I-64, and looks easy to find on the chart.  Turned out to tougher than I thought--and Adam, too.  Finally we were right above it before either of us spotted it (Adam first, naturally) right between two big quarries that aren't on the chart--and then it turned out to have a big X on each end of the runway.  So it's closed.  Looked fine from 2000 feet, though, and would probably be fine in an emergency.  With that, the "bad weather" cleared up at Chesterfield, so we headed home.  I was able to find the field easily, and managed a good landing--"right down the center line," Adam said.  (About damn time I thought.)

Tomorrow I get to do it all over again by myself.

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