Lesson 36: Qualifying Cross-Country (QXC) Gloucester -> Cardiff -> Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green -> Gloucester

The day had finally arrived – it was time to do my Qualifying Cross Country (QXC) flight. The weather was great – sunny, good visibility and a high cloud base, so things were looking good.

I’d planned my route, Gloucester to Cardiff, Cardiff to Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green, Halfpenny Green to Gloucester using a direct straight line, as there were no NOTAMS, danger areas or airspace along the route that needed to be avoided.

Before leaving the airfield, I had a brief with my instructor, covering all the “what if’s”, such as radio failure, airfield closures, deteriorating weather, getting lost, etc. After he was satisfied with my responses, we signed the declaration form and it was time for me to head to the airplane.

I performed the A-check, everything looked good so I was soon inside the cockpit with the door latched and my harness tight. Runway 04 was in use today, so after departure I made a turn to the left to obtain my heading of 235 degrees. The navigation to Cardiff was straight forward, in part because I had flown the route twice before, and also because the route basically just hugs the shoreline the entire way down.

My initial radio call to Cardiff Approach went well. I was given a Squawk, they  identified me and gave me a basic service. A couple of miles later and I was cleared to enter their controlled airspace via the Published VFR Cardiff Docks Arrival route – the same one as I’d used in my previous two trips. Runway 12 was active, and on transferring to Tower I was told to join downwind. The landing went well (there was a fairly strong cross wind, and I landed a metre or two from the centre line, but given the runway is so wide it wasn’t a problem) and I taxied to Aeros for a coffee and to get my QXC certificate signed.

When Aeros phoned Tower to check they were happy to approve my QXC form, Tower did say that I had forgotten to report Downwind but apart from that they were happy, so my form was signed. Not sure how I managed to forget that – must of been the heat of the moment – but at least they were happy with everything else.

Selfie at Cardiff, see the departing plane in the background!?
Selfie at Cardiff, see the departing plane in the background!?

Shortly after, I was back in the cockpit and preparing to depart for Wolverhampton. I was given the Published VFR Wenvoe Departure, as before, which is basically a reversal of the Docks arrival. Again, the en-route part of the flight went well and was non-eventful.

En-route selfie
En-route selfie

I switched to Halfpenny Green Information about 20nm from the airfield, they then provided me a basic service until I was 10nm and asked for join instructions. They asked what join I’d prefer, and as runway 34 was active I took a direct join on long final. I was number 3, with the 2 ahead also joining long final. I was visual with them both so was happy to follow behind for a straight-in landing.

After landing, I went up to the cafe for some refreshments. They were as miserable and unfriendly as when I visited last, so I didn’t hang around very long! I walked up to the Tower, had a brief chat with the guys there and they signed my QXC form. No issues.

Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Tower
Wolverhampton Halfpenny Green Tower

The flight back to Gloucester went smoothly, I made a standard overhead join for 04 and was soon back on the ground. I managed to achieve my QXC flight without any issues, so it was time for celebration. As it was the end of the day, a bunch of us from the flying club went to the Aviator (the airfield pub/restaurant at Gloucester) for a drink and some food. It was also my birthday, so I had two excuses to celebrate 🙂

Celebratory pint :)
Celebratory pint 🙂

Unfortunately, my GoPro footage lacked any cockpit audio for the flight. It looks like the USB connection cable in to the GoPro must have bent in my last flight, so the signal isn’t making it through. Very annoying, as I’ll need to buy a replacement cable and they’re not cheap! Still, a really great day and one that I’ll remember for a long time to come…

Here’s the SkyDemon logs for each leg:

Gloucester to Cardiff
Gloucester to Cardiff
Cardiff to Wolverhampton
Cardiff to Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton to Gloucester

Wolverhampton to Gloucester

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