Cross Country from New York to Texas

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by DTrem13, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. DTrem13

    DTrem13 Filing Flight Plan

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    Hello. I'm a freshly minted Private Pilot with just under 100 hours.

    In February, I will be taking my PA-22-150 on a cross country from Buffalo to San Antonio for some job related training. Are there any particular airports/areas you recommend I stop by? or avoid altogether? I can make this trip as short or as long (within reason of course) as I'd like, so going somewhat out of the way to stop/see something cool is fine by me!!!

    Also, since this will be my first huge cross country, any tips/suggestions are much appreciated! I'll be sticking around these forums quite a bit to continue learning.

    I appreciate all of the input.
     
  2. John221us

    John221us En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Wow, Buffalo in February. I don't blame you for getting out of there, but you might run into some weather variables. Last time I was in Buffalo, they had to de-ice the wings twice and we barely got out of there and that was on an airline.
     
  3. DTrem13

    DTrem13 Filing Flight Plan

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    Oh for sure, that one is a given! I've lived here my whole life. Winter has its pros and cons... and unpredictable (but mostly us ideal) flying weather is definitely a BIG con!

    I plan on giving myself roughly 10 days to make the trip. Mostly because winter weather can be very dynamic. At least up here. Last winter I was fighting tooth and nail to complete my solo cross country flights, and Mother Nature just didn't wanna cooperate!!!!
     
  4. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I did one from central NJ to Montgomery AL right after I got my PPC. I only got lost once lol. Flew down and checked out a water tower for the town's name, and it must have been the only town in N Ga with their name not on the tower. Now what. I'll tell you what. Wife & 6 month old daughter with me so I had to find an airport and go gas quickly. So over to 121.5 (no one yelled that you were on guard back then) and FSS responded and told me pick up Tacoca VOR (Foothills now), fly to it, and Tacoca airport would be right there. It was, landed, got go gas, and completed the XC.

    Long story, sorry. But you are going to learn a lot on your long XC. Probably won't get lost if you have iCritters and/GPS onboard. But there will be weather. Don't push it. Land and wait it out. Maybe you'll be fortunate and have great weather the whole way. It's possible. Have fun.
     
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  5. DTrem13

    DTrem13 Filing Flight Plan

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    Thanks for your help. I forgot to mention I'll have ForeFlight with me (and probably a Stratus with me).

    I know I'm going to learn a ton from simply doing this trip that simply can't always be taught. I still want to learn as much as I can from guys who have done many of these before!
     
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  6. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Some will tell you it's too far for a new pilot. Baloney. Do it, you'll learn and have a blast. Might scare yourself once or twice but that's part of it. Just don't push fuel. I would suggest when you get down to one hour's fuel remaining get it on the ground and get ya some more of it. Same with weather. Don't take chances or push it. Land and wait it out. May have to spend the night if really bad. Enjoy!
     
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  7. Twin_Flyer

    Twin_Flyer Line Up and Wait

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    :yeahthat:... and Welcome to POA!!!
     
  8. olasek

    olasek Cleared for Takeoff

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    Read up on managing aviation risks (there are good resources), you may have plenty of go-no go decisions.

    10 days sounds like plenty of time but I can't help thinking of that accident - a professional ferry pilot with 14,000 hrs waited holed up in some hotel room somewhere in the north-eastern tip of the US for weather to improve so he could continue on his (brand new) Cessna 172 ferry flight to Europe. He has done it countless of times. The weather this time would not cooperate and I don't recall how long he waited exactly but it was getting ridiculous - like couple weeks or more. Finally he had enough of waiting, plus his daughter's birthday was coming and he was supposed to be there - back in Europe - for the occasion. So he took off regardless and crashed within an hour - brought down by nasty weather, he perished. I recall I got chills reading this story.
     
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  9. Adam Weiss

    Adam Weiss Pre-Flight

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    Folks have already said it...give yourself plenty of time for weather. I bought a plane in Texas and had to wait days for overcast ceiling to lift before I could fly it home.
     
  10. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

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    Go flying and have a great trip!

    I hit 200 hours enroute, taking my wife from WV to Yellowstone and back in my Mooney. We only stopped on e outbound for clouds, and once on the way back for bad weather ahead. Both turned out to be memorable, fun experiences, and we found a really cool outdoor airplane museum in nowhere, Illinois.

    If you can plan a regular 100nm XC, you can go to Texas and back. Know your fuel endurance in hours, check winds aloft and plan to stop with an hour's fuel left. Some FBOs can get really good local hotel rates, just ask. We stopped to sightsee going both directions, and the only reservations we made in advance were the hotel a d car for Yellowstone.

    Go have fun, and fly safe!
     
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  11. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    Absolutely do it. I flew from FL to CA as a wet behind the ears PPL and it was the best thing I ever did for my XC confidence and experience. Would highly recommend the Stratus on board...it literally saved me a day or two having the real time weather and airport info and services at my fingertips inflight which allowed us to divert as needed. Rarely did we stop where planned.

    As other have said, make sure you leave plenty of time for weather diversions. Some of our best meals on the trip were landing at an unplanned Podunk random airport, grabbing the crew car and heading to the local recommended eatery by the old dude behind the desk that was just excited to see someone land while we waited for weather to pass!

    Plan for the worst but hope for the best, if you NEED to be there book a refundable commercial ticket as a backup so you know you have an out and are not pressured by get-there-itis that you can cancel once you have made a solid go/no go decision right before the trip.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  12. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ En-Route

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    Green Co-Jackson Regional, (I19) just south of Dayton.
    Take a tour of the USAF Museum.

    Sulfur Springs TX, (SLR). Take a tour of the Legend Cub Factory.

    Out of the way, but on the way back
    Tullahoma, TN, Beechcraft Museum
     
  13. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ En-Route

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    People have posted to watch your fuel. Remember, fuel is time on your watch, not a planned distance.
     
  14. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Park the airplane at San Antonio. Fly commercial back to Buffalo, pack up,everything and move out of Buffalo.

    Best thing my parents did was move the family out of Buffalo.
     
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  15. JustinD

    JustinD Line Up and Wait

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    Do it! Long XC's are amazing!
     
  16. cowman

    cowman En-Route

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    I do these sorts of trips once or twice a year. Fuel wise, find what works for you but my plane carries 4.8hrs of fuel but I target my legs to be around 3 hours... or if the whole trip is 5 hours I'll split it and do 2.5. Obviously factors such as fuel prices and where airports are mean it doesn't come out perfectly right but close enough. The 3 hour things is for comfort, a chance to take a break(and a bathroom) and maybe grab a snack/something to drink(bring snacks... preferably ones that you're ok with being your only meal if need be).

    Biggest thing you're going to run into is weather delays. Given my experience with these things I'd say you probably won't make your whole trip as planned without delaying for weather, re-routing, or having to stay somewhere you didn't plan on to wait something out. It could always happen, but it usually doesn't.

    DO fly as far as you can towards your destination while you can. Try to get yourself stuck at airports big enough to generally be staffed and able to find you a ride into town and a room rather than airports with nothing but a self-serve pump. If you book a hotel room, rental car, whatever ahead of time find out what the cancellation policy is. Allow several extra days to get where you're going and resign yourself to being stuck somewhere waiting for weather... it will make it less frustrating when it inevitably happens and make you far more ok with delaying an extra day or two rather than taking a chance.

    You may find yourself in a place with no data on your phone and no internet access. 1-800-WX-BRIEF still has it's uses. Also if you look in the AF/D or just in foreflight you will usually find a phone number by the AWOS/ASOS stations that you can call and get the weather by phone.

    If you don't already use flight following, start using flight following.

    Some airports supply tie-downs, some airports tie the airplane down for you, some big ones tow it off to who knows where until you return and ask for it. Other airports supply nothing... bring your own tie-downs.

    Bring money... as in cash. Have at least one back-up credit card for when your credit card company freaks out about you making charges in places hundreds of miles away on the same day.

    I give lots of warnings, as will others but these trips really are a lot of fun just as long as you know what you're in for.
     
  17. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Snacks and water was mentioned above. Dry mouth sometimes sets in on long flights. I like Starbursts. Have fun.
     
  18. jspilot

    jspilot Cleared for Takeoff

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    I'm really envious of you here. Nothing to add in the way of advice but I think it will be a great life experience and you will probably feel really accomplished after you make it back to Buffalo. Not many people can lay claim to flying themselves several hundred miles!

    I hope to be able to do something like this one day myself!
     
  19. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's just a bunch of short cross country flights put together. Take your time and enjoy it. You can't go wrong if you pay attention to the weather,and follow the magnets line. Have done the trip several times from both mass and Fla to Texas,also did Alaska. It will be a trip you will always remember good luck. And welcome to the forum.
     
  20. iamtheari

    iamtheari Line Up and Wait

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    Here are some things that I would bring, in addition to the usual things you should have for a long one-leg cross-country flight:

    1. A set of tiedown ropes or ratchet straps for the airports that don't have them
    2. Enough oil for at least 50% more than you are used to having to put in based on the hours you think it will take to get there
    3. Plenty of $5 bills for tips to line guys etc.
    4. Plenty of $1 bills for vending machines or honor-system soft drinks and snacks at unattended airports
    5. A bottle of your favorite whisk(e)y, from which you should immediately take a sip every time you are on the ground and start to seriously debate the go/no-go decision (this buys you 8 hours of patience to make the right decision)
     
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  21. steingar

    steingar Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Don't try and plan anything. Winter weather in the North is not to be taken lightly, especially VFR. And for Odin's sake have an out for everything. Too many guys have perished because "they had to get there".
     
  22. Scott@KTYR

    Scott@KTYR Cleared for Takeoff

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  23. azblackbird

    azblackbird Line Up and Wait

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    I had no idea how true that was until I got on this board.
     
  24. George Mohr

    George Mohr Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is all great advice. Do it.
     
  25. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You'll find your aircraft will perform better once you cross the boarder, the air outside of NY is thicker with freedom and helps the engine make more power and the wings make more lift.
     
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  26. Bill Watson

    Bill Watson Pattern Altitude

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    Buffalo NY? Smh


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
  27. lancie00

    lancie00 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    :yeahthat:
     
  28. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    I'm not sure I totally agree with that for this mission of just the one off trip. I am now IFR but doing my long XC and having to navigate varying weather being only VFR was an invaluable lesson and great experience to translate the theory we are taught into real world experiences without the safety net of just being able to go IFR.

    IFR most certainly will make you a better pilot but not at all necessary for a XC if you leave time to spare.
     
  29. deyoung

    deyoung Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Lots of people have made the point about managing fuel, but I'd just add, manage it with enough reserve to go to an alternate fuel stop or two (comfortably) if your planned one doesn't work out. It's not unheard of that small places with self-serve pumps will have the pumps out of order, or the credit card reader not working, with no notice.

    Also, try to plan overnight stops at airports big enough to have an FBO of some sort. I stopped overnight recently in Santa Rosa, NM on a trip from Denver to Tucson. It turns out that Santa Rosa is very small; they have a few motels, but no Uber or Lyft --- not surprising --- but also no taxi company at all; I didn't plan for that. No way to get a ride. As it turned out, the Best Western was willing to pick me up, so that worked out, but it was about the 5th place I called and the first one that would. A couple places didn't even know they had an airport in town. If none of the hotels could have picked me up, I'd have been walking from the airport, or taking off again and trying a different stop after all.
     
  30. deyoung

    deyoung Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Regarding IFR --- I don't have my instrument rating so this is somewhat speculation on my part, but I don't think I'd try to get if before this trip; I'd do it VFR. You don't have a lot of hours and weather experience yet, and if you have the instrument rating, there are situations you have to make a decision about that for a VFR pilot there's no decision, you just can't go there. Might be safer for something to be an automatic no-go than a "hmm, maybe I can do that..." until you have more XC experience.
     
  31. iamtheari

    iamtheari Line Up and Wait

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    Just one possible example that just may be relevant to a February trip starting from 43 degrees North latitude: ICING.

    This is a trip that is most safely flown VFR. The instrument rating does require you to learn a lot more about flight/weather planning, but one of the best ways to do that is to fly long VFR cross-countries and to spend a little time thinking about whether the instrument rating would actually help you out along the way. For example, if you can't go VFR because of a cloud layer, you're already there looking at the weather so go a little deeper and think about hazards to flight if you did fly through the layer.
     
  32. Fluffy Bunny Airlines

    Fluffy Bunny Airlines Filing Flight Plan

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    Oh my GAWD, THIS. We stopped (unplanned) in Santa Rosa back in May. Ooops....
    Also, what about a tentative list of mechanics in the event of, ya know mechanic-y things. Even in seemingly well populated areas, finding mechanic can be a real ****er.

    Sounds like a great adventure.
     
  33. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    NY to TX in February should be a fine adventure. Folks have mentioned icing and larger airports for services. Some class Ds are pretty much abandoned after the tower closes so pay attention to operating hours.

    I've had it go both ways with little airports. I landed at one because of weather ahead (and could have gone to a D about 30 minutes away if I had a functioning brain cell left) and landed at another because a mag failed. Walked to town for the first, actually got the mag fixed that day on the second. I don't feel bad about either one.

    When it's time to land, land. Don't second guess. The AOPA safety foundation has a good video about an experienced VFR guy (1,000+ hours) who went VFR into IMC and didn't manage to survive.

    If you haven't done so yet, fly with a CFI on a MVFR day so you get a bit of a handle on what it looks like and what to expect. I learned to fly out west and always with good vis so my first few experiences with MVFR were just a bit more interesting than they should have been.

    On a trip of the length you propose and as a new pilot maybe review the aircraft logs a couple weeks before the flight and make sure it won't be near 500 hours on things like mags and alternator. Make sure the tires are in good shape and properly inflated. Carry your own oil so you don't have to call some guy on a Sunday afternoon and beg for him to open the FBO just so you can get a quart (BTDT didn't get a teeshirt). If the plugs on the aircraft are prone to fouling make sure you can clean them.
     
  34. danhagan

    danhagan Cleared for Takeoff

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    Great advice. I live out west ... clouds and haze get my attention real quick. Plenty of mountain flying experience. I personally hate heavy haze.
     
  35. deyoung

    deyoung Pre-takeoff checklist

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    On that trip from Denver to Tucson I mentioned, I did end up going quite a ways out of my way to the east in order to go around some weather I wanted nothing to do with. Just be willing to take the long and slow way if you need, and use it as an opportunity for scenic views.

    Oh, and get ATC flight following the whole way. They can warn you about weather in your path, as well as many other helpful things.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  36. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Especially in Feb, lots of times clouds = ice
     
  37. N747JB

    N747JB Final Approach

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    Sounds like a great adventure, I think everyone else has given you most of the good advice. Be patient with the weather and when it's good go as far as you can that day, respecting fuel reserves of course. My son's first real cross country after he got his PPL was Athens GA to Lexington KY, it was about 2 hours and he had a blast! Nothing like you're planning, but he had a great time!
     
  38. Rcmutz

    Rcmutz Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I now have 1200 hrs over about 40 years of flying with about 10 of those 40 time off to raise a family. I like to tell folks I have 1200 hrs one hour at a time, but I do have over 300 hrs of xc time. Haven't had much long xc recently, but Back in the day, I remember spending many a night sleeping on a couch in the FBO. Everyone's comments so far are spot on.

    Remember, "time to spare, go by air".... Don't push it and you will be fine.
     
  39. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Line Up and Wait

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    Or your 50 hour oil change.
     
  40. somorris

    somorris Pattern Altitude

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    Once you have your plan worked out, I suggest you call ahead to your fuel stops the day before you leave to be sure they have fuel and everything (self serve and/or trucks) is working like it should.