Flight Lessons: Night flight to Riverside (RAL)

Last night I made a cross country flight out to Riverside with my instructor. We used the special flight rules area to fly over LAX. From about Long Beach we cut east. Most things went well, but it was a lot harder than I expected. First of all, LA is just a sea of lights at night. Without VORs and GPS I’d get lost very quickly. The Riverside VOR wasn’t working for some reason, so we switched to GPS to find our way there. If I had planned correctly, I would have been able to use another VOR to find the Riverside airport. Lesson learned.

Once we got to Riverside, we turned on the lights by clicking the mic and made several landings and takeoffs. I think my landings are finally starting to get okay. I didn’t have any bad landings, and one of them I would even say way good. Of course, there wasn’t any crosswind, but on the other hand it was night which makes it a lot harder to judge distances and how high you are over the runway.

For the flight back, my instructor said that I’d have to do it all on my own, and that he would charge me $1 for every hint that he had to give. He ended up giving me a few for free and just charging me for one mistake I made with the VORs. I was actually surprised with how well I did. The hardest part was, once again, the radio communication. I’ve ordered a book that’s supposed to be good at covering everything I’ll need to know about talking on the radio.

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