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A beautiful day for a long flight

I took a vacation day Friday because the weather was perfect. I’ve been waiting for a beautiful day to finally fly solo on my first cross country flight, a key milestone on the way to earning a private pilot’s license.

From the Augusta airport, I planned out my route from the Augusta to Salina to Hutchinson and back home — about 160 miles in all. The requirements say you have to fly at least 150 miles and land at three airports.

My flight instructor checked my trip planning and other key items and sent me on my way with these words of encouragement: “Call me the minute you land or from the crash site.” It lightened a tense moment.

I didn’t get lost or nervous talking to air traffic controllers. And I wasn’t overwhelmed flying into the Salina airport — which was busy with larger and faster military aircraft — in my tiny, slow Piper Tri-Pacer.

Once back at the Augusta airport, I called my instructor. “Hello Dave? I think I’m in Liberal.” He laughed.