first solo cross countries!


New Member
Recently I posted a complaint about the weather in Berlin keeping me from doing my solo cross countries. Well, the weather cleared up and so I'm not remembered as a complainer, I thought I would post how it was.

It was awesome.

Ok, the post could stop there, but I'll be a little more detailed. My very first solo cross country was from Schönhagen (EDAZ) to Eggersdorf (EDCE). Schönhagen is southwest of Berlin and Eggersdorf is east of Berlin. I did my flight planning and went to the airplane (Robin) all excited to go. Then I got in, went through all the checklists, runup and then took off to my new adventure. I'm sure everyone who has already experienced this can confirm that for all the cross countries done with an instructor you really aren't prepared for the feeling of being totally alone in an airplane out of sight of the departure airport with a silly little map in your hand. I contacted Berlin Information (something like Flight Following in the US) so that I didn't feel so alone.
I made the short, 25 minute flight, landed, got out of the airplane and felt a lot more like a pilot than before. Then on the way back, I was flying into the setting sun - and lucky for me it was hazy, too. I couldn't see jack to navigate, but a big part of the problem was that I was really nervous about getting lost. The whole trip back I recognized exactly one landmark and decided to fly toward a VOR south of Schönhagen to make sure I didn't accidentally fly into the Berlin control zone. By asking for a QDM over the radio from Schönhagen I eventually found home. The return flight was a complete navigational disaster and my altitude was all over the place but I was probably the happiest guy at the airport when I landed and thought I was pretty damn cool.

Over the next few days, until yesterday, I took vacation from work and flew every day. I finished all my required solo time and had some really fun flights. After finishing the "official" flights I had some more solo time to kill so I could choose where I wanted to fly. One day I flew to a small airport north of Dresden, and yesterday I did a trip all around Berlin counterclockwise and did approaches at most of the airports that may be on my private checkride. I thought it would be an effective use of the time to look at those airports.

Over the course of these solo cross countries I accidentally flew into the Dresden control zone (for which I was chewed out by the Berlin controllers on the phone
), got lost several times and had some real non-greaser landings after the excitement of these trips. But these flights have really brought together my whole training to something that makes sense. I've learned that getting lost happens to everyone at some point and that I can get back on track if I just stay relaxed and use all the tools available to me. And I've had a whole heck of a lot of fun!

Ok, I won't go on and on anymore. I figured that since I like to read geeky pilot stories the rest of you may, too!

By the way, you can go to and type in the ICAO locators EDAZ and EDCE and see aerial pictures of the airports mentioned above if you're so inclined.