My Lonnnggggg Cross County (250 NM)

Howdy All! For training in the United States, pilots attempting to get thing CPL, or Commercial Pilots License, are required to do a 3 segment cross country where one leg must be at least 250 nm. While I only hold my PPL, I attend a university where we work towards our instrument rating and commercial license at the same time.

This week, I did this long cross country to achieve the requirement (but heck, I could do this every day and be happy). So, without further ado, here’s a few shots of my flight!

I arrived at the airport around 1:30PM, where I finished some planning and filed my flight plan. I received N324PC, which holds the callsign BKN24 (Billiken 24). After doing a complete walk around and confirming everything was good, I ran to the bathroom one last time before my 2 hour 46 minute flight.

Try #1
Off we go. I got my flight following request in, run-up complete, and was ready to go. I got my takeoff clearance from CPS tower. I was going down the runway and rotated, then the horrific squealing occurred. I knew this wasn’t very normal given the sound. I knew I had 5.5 hours of flight ahead of me and I didn’t like this loud sound. After being handed off, I called up our dispatch were they advised I return to re-shut the canopy. It was locked and closed, but something wasn’t right. After alerting departure I was returning to the airport, I made the turn back and denied assistance on the ground. Back I went.

Try #2
After a 30 minute delay where I consulted with maintenance, we determined the seal was not very tight, but the canopy was completely ok. So, despite the annoying sound, I went again. Turns out the issue was only during climb and descent, but trust me, not fun at all!

Leg 1 CPS-FOE (259nm)
Leg 1 was the 250 mile leg, were I went from St. Louis, MO (Cahokia, IL) to Topeka, Kansas. Talked to a few centers, but other than that, the A20’s were turned on the the music was blasting. Of course, I was checking fuel along the way to make sure I was burins the right amount as I planned a burn that would leave me 1 gallon or so extra for our schools minimum fuel requirement. Total time was 2h 40 min

The Flight Deck

Lee’s Summit, MO

Downtown Kansas City, MO in the background

American Eagle (PSA) CRJ-900 passes just above and off my right wing

Fueling Up
A 30 minute stop In Topeka at Million Air. Stunning FBO with cookies, ice cream, dinner, bathrooms, and anything else you may need. I charged my iPad, walked around the old terminal, paid, grabbed a cookie, and went back on my way

Sunset at the Airfield

The Retired (But still used on occasion) Terminal

Leg 2 FOE-JEF (166nm)
Leg 2 was a 166nm leg from Topeka for a Touch and Go at Jefferson City, MO. After contacting center for my flight following, the supervisor came on cause they had no clue who I was. They’d never heard my callsign, aircraft type, and became very lost. After 5 minutes of sorting that out and seeing a massive fire in the distance, I was on my way. I eventually got over the middle of MO where I was the only… I mean the only person on center. Music was turned down and I enjoyed the views. Flight time was around 1h 10 minutes.

Leg 3 JEF-CPS (96 nm)
The last leg to a long day was from Jefferson City to St Louis, MO (Cahokia, IL). About half the flight had no towns, so I was in complete darkness. I packed tons of snacks and they came out here. Very fun to have faint music in the background, microphone pulled away, and food in my mouth. Eventually, I was with St Louis approach where they granted my request of doing an extended final just south of the city and boy, was it stunning. I love night flights and I was in heaven. Around 45 minutes for this leg, nothing crazy

The City of St Louis

Downtown St. Louis

The End
5.7 hours logged and a booty extremely sore. But I enjoyed every second of this. If I wasn’t sure this is what I wanted to do, now I did/do. I was proud of my monitoring of the flight, decision making skills, and it cured any nervousness about the flight I had.


Very nicely done! Congrats and thank you for sharing with us!

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If you don’t mind me asking, could you name it for me please?

Also beautiful photos with the city lights.

I attend Saint Louis University. Billiken is our mascot, hence the callsign. Appreciate the kind words as well!


You have a way of making me miss Missouri, there’s nothing quite like it. Nice work on the cross country and great shots, too!

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Very true, lovely farms! Jk, it actually has decent scenery. I’ll need to go to JEF again during the day, seemed like an amazing airport!

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Well, there’s still a lot of farms lol. Ozarks and the I-44 corridor has the best scenery imo

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Wonderful story and fantastic pictures. Makes me excited for my first solo XC 😀🛩️

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That looks fun! I didn’t know Diamond aircraft had steam gage instruments.

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Yup. Steam gauge. Of course we added G5s and a GPS, but we occasionally get tested with both of those turned off.

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Awesome stuff. Congratulations on that! Great pictures as well.

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