So yesterday after two cancellation due to weather, I was finally able to do my cross country trip from Concord Regional Airport to Southern Pines and back. So after doing the flight planning and getting the latest up to date information (from CSC DUATS) I load up the trusty Piper Cherokee 180 N3663R and set out for Southern Pines. Now the first trouble was right after take off, when I started turning the wrong way, and why, because I got my flight plan mixed up. I quickly turned to the right heading and grabbed the right flight plan. Of course by this time I was with Charlotte Departure who told me to fly VFR at 3,000 or below. Well I busted it by 500 feet. Mainly because of my own poor planning with keeping my paper work in order. As soon as I noticed that I busted it, I quickly went into a quick dive back to 3,000.
After getting myself straighten out and calming myself back down. It was enjoyable. Until it was hand-off time. Now you have to realize that at this time, Charlotte Departure was busy, so when they tried to hand me off, my radio kept dropping off important parts of the hand off. I'd ask them to repeat, they repeat and nothing. After talking with Fayetteville approach on Com 2 to see if Charlotte Departure was talking to him. I tried once again to get my hand off from Charlotte. I was finally able to get it, and switched to Fayetteville. By this time I climbed up to 5,500 feet.
Now I was nearing my approach into Southern Pines, which was close to Maxton Airport which does parachute drops all day long, everyday. I couldn't descend from 5,500 to 1,600 until the aircraft carrying the parachuter's at 5,000 was behind me.
I descending down to 1,600 (after being handed off to Southern Pines UNICOM where I had to do a 360 to make it to the Pattern Altitude. I entered left base (while making sure traffic was cleared) and landed. I have to say Southern Pines is a great airport and it look beautiful. I taxied back to the end of the runway, made sure I got the right flight plan and I took off again. Once I left Southern Pines traffic pattern I switched back over to Fayetteville Departure, got my Flight Following and this time the trip back was a lot smoother. Until I was near Stanley Co. Airport, for some reason they lost radar contact with me for a brief moment but was soon able to pick it back up. I was able to make it back to Concord safe and sound.
I know I made a lot of mistake on this first run by myself. I turned the wrong way, I busted my minimums, and had some radio problems, and trust me I really do wish I could've done it a lot better, but I'm just glad no one told me to call them when I landed. Hopefully I can learn from my mistakes and not repeat them the next time I go up.