“Snoozin’ and Cruisin’”: Crossing Florida in a Cessna 172

 During my professional flight training, I had to build up my total hours for the Commercial Pilot Certificate requirements. I also needed to build simulated instrument time, as I was working on my Instrument rating. So, it was necessary for me to fly several instrument cross countries with a “safety pilot.” I flew a few flights with another student at the school, who already had an instrument rating. One day we discussed and planned a 5-hour cross country that would take us from Naples to West Palm Beach, to Vero Beach, to Sarasota, and back to Naples. This flight would be all “under the hood” and each of us would fly a different leg of the journey.

The morning of the flight, I asked my daughter Erica, “Honey, would you like to see the East Coast of Florida today?” She was only 9 years old and with glee said, “Yes Daddy, that sounds great!” So, we drove to the airport and met my fellow student at the school. After a quick check of the weather, a thorough briefing and pre-flight, we were sitting on the ramp awaiting our clearance.

The takeoff was uneventful, and almost immediately, the tower advised us to contact departure control. The controller gave us further clearance to our assigned altitude and vectored us to intercept our filed route. It was a beautiful day in Southwest Florida. Over the headset, I was pointing out to Erica the many beautiful towns and lakes along the route. After about an hour of quiet, I asked Erica if she could see that little village off our right wing. “Erica, do you see that town?” I said. There was complete quiet over the intercom. “Erica, you ok,” I asked. Still quiet.

I turned around and my sweet daughter had taken a pillow, put it up against the window, and was fast asleep. The hum of the engine, the smoothness of the air, and serenity of the sky was just enough to put her fast asleep. I don’t believe Erica saw any of Florida that day, but she sure enjoyed a great rest. I have had the privilege of flying with my daughter and my wife Terri many times. It is a great joy to share this avocation with those you love. Many times, Terri and I have made little side trips to Key West and even Miami for the day. Maybe in one of my future posts, I will share one of those stories. In my next post, I will tell more about my Commercial Pilot Certificate training in beautiful sunny Florida. Stay tuned.

Eric+

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