Exhibit: Can I learn to fly in a flight sim?
This was my first official dual cross-country (greater than 50 nm from home).
10th September 2000
10:30 am to 12:30 pm
(C152, ORH-PSF-ORH -- 2.2 hrs dual, TT .....
It was a good one, with a lot of points to remember, so I better write it down while it's still fresh in my mind. The cross-country planning went pretty well - I got all the airport info (just PSF and ORH, 64 nm, no third leg this time), estimated based on 90 knots airspeed, and did approximate calculations with zero winds.
When I called 1-800-WXBRIEF and got the standard weather briefing with winds aloft, the 3000' and 6000' winds were both 6 knots, and the interpolated direction for 4500' was 25? -- so not much wind and a gorgeous day all the way around (I actually called for a briefing at 8:30 am and was told ORH-PSF was VFR not recommended due to low ceilings and fog, so I briefly considered flying to Concord, NH instead - but when Mario arrived, I called again, and PSF was clear, so we stayed with plan A).
The first big problem was that the plane wouldn't start (it was N47261 - plan was for 661, but it was in the shop for a new engine). The battery was dead - someone had flown a night flight with the alternator light on, apparently (you should look for this and cycle the alternator half of the master switch in this plane). We spent half an hour trying to hand-prop the plane, and it finally turned over (with help from Bob Karman and another CFI, Bill - Mario hates hand-propping but he was the one who finally did it after maybe 20 tries).
So we were off at 10:30 a.m.