Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day 7 Follow Up

Lebanon, MO (LBO) to Chicago, CA (PWK)
444 statute miles (386 nm)
Elapsed time: 3:57

This was our longest non-stop leg to date. I guess once we had the target in site, we were inspired to press on. Aside from the flight over downtown St. Louis and the Gateway Arch, there wasn't much to see, and the flying was quite routine.

It's fun to look at this map and see how much territory we covered. We could probably have driven this same route in seven days, and someday I might. We could have flown it commercial in about four hours. Others have flown it before me, in more interesting planes and have seen more of the route both in the air and on the ground. This trip wasn't about doing something new or doing it better. I did this for myself, to have the opportunity to set and achieve a personally meaningful goal.

I am approaching 500 hours in my logbook, which means I am moving from new to mid-time pilot. However, most of those hours have been within 100 miles of home and before this trip I had never flown out of California. Proportionally, not much has changed, but in human terms it is all very different. I think this trip was as much a landmark as my first solo, or my first time flying alone in clouds.

Over the last week, I have experienced accomplishment, frustration, beauty, anxiety, tedium and tranquility. I've taken off from high, hot desert runways and small strips surrounded by cornfields. I have definitely extended my competence and my confidence as a pilot. I know now that a trip like this is within my ability and I will be comfortable to take others in the future.

This entry concludes the Route 66 adventure phase of my summer trip, but I have more to see and more places to fly. I will be heading to Birmingham, Carbondale and Salt Lake City to visit with friends and family before finally returning home. I will continue to post updates along the way. Thank you for letting my share my experience.


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