Next step after the solo flight is to start with navigation flights. From small local flights to cross-country flights. The real flying :-)
In the meanwhile I’m also following the theoretical courses, one evening in the week.
Navigation… find your way in the sky. Not as easy as it sounds. Especially when the weather is at its limits, and we are in Belgium … ;-)
A small description of my next flight. A flight of about 70 NM (nautical miles) = 130 km. With an average ground speed of 90 kt (knots) = 166 km/h, gives about 46 min flight.
Leaving Charleroi via the south, crossing the controlled airspace of the military airbase of Florennes to overfly the runway of the Cerfontaine airfield at low altitude (5 meter). Turning NW to the “Beaumont” reporting point of Florennes airbase to continue to the airfield of Saint-Ghislain for a landing.
Take-off for the return to Charleroi. Flying around the restricted area of Casteau (the red circle – NATO command center). We can overfly Casteau, but at a minimum of 2500 ft. Crossing the NATO airfield of Chievres on our way to Nivelles. Over Nivelles, turning south to the entry point “November Whiskey” of the Charleroi airspace. From there on we follow the instructions of Charleroi Tower.
The first navigations where not easy. You leave the “comfort zone” of the airfield you know 100% and have to learn to use a map to fly. Something extra to get used to it. You can have the best map, have done a perfect flight preparation, ideal weather, but when you don’t recognize your reference points on the ground, you’re lost. It’s not like in the car where you can stop where you want and take a 5 min look at the map. Yeah, I know, we use GPS in our cars … also in our airplanes, but when the GPS fails, you can fall back on your map. Therefore map reading and map navigation is part of the exam.
So once your comfortable with the navigation, the next challenge is landing on other airports / airfields…
Learning to fly, is always learning to fly :-)