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What Is "cross Country"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 7:24 pm

Hi everybody.

What qualifies as a cross country flight? I ask because I'm going to be simming a flight from KRUT- Rutland State Airport to KDDH- William H. Morse State Airport. Its 40.5 nautical miles and I wondered if in a Cessna this would be considered a cross country flight.

As possible as I can be to realistic, how do I need to prepare for this flight?

- Weather?
- Fuel?
- Payload?
- Maintenence?

So many questions, what needs to be done for a flight of this distance? Thank you.  Smile

You guys were extremely helpful with my RPM question, thought I'd come back and try again  Smile
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RE: What Is "cross Country"?

Thu Dec 22, 2005 10:42 pm

According to FAR part 61, the part of the Federal Aviation Regulations governing certification of pilots and instructors:

61.1-(3)(a) Cross-country time means that --

Except as provided in paragraphs (b)(3)(ii) through (b)(3)(vi) of this section, time acquired during a flight --

(A) Conducted by a person who holds a pilot certificate;

(B) Conducted in an aircraft;

(C) That includes a landing at a point other than the point of departure; and

(D) That involves the use of dead reckoning, pilotage, electronic navigation aids, radio aids, or other navigation systems to navigate to the landing point.

There are several limitations for student pilots to conduct cross-country flight. The general cutoff lenghts are 25NM, 50NM, 100NM, and 250NM for the various regulations concerning cross-country flight. There are also exceptions for pilots training on an island where it would not be possible to fly cross-country (to another airport) without going more than 10NM from the shoreline. In short, a cross-country flight is one in which you navigate to a different airport than where you started and land.

For a private pilot, a cross-country flight will begin with the flight planning process. This should begin with a flight overview, including proposed route of flight, proposed date and time of flight, and an outlook weather breifing for that time. Next, consult charts and examine the overall route. Consider terrain, obstacles, and other factors to ensure the flight is possible.

The next phase is to develop the route. Determine the navigational charts and other aids required for the flight and secure them. Select altitudes for each segment of the flight and begin to fill out a navigation log. Some of the fields will require a standard weather briefing. After completing the navigation log, complete a flight plan and file it.

Next, I complete a TOLD (Take-Off and Landing Data) sheet, which includes weight and balance computations, calculates fuel required, and reviews airspeeds that will be used for each phase of flight. After this, a thorough preflight inspection of the aircraft is in order. If no discrepancies are found, climb aboard and prepare for flight.

Some of this may sound more glamorous than it really is, but I personally enjoy every part of it. Even in the simulator environment, you can complete most of these steps, including navigation logs, filing flight plans, and running through checklists.
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RE: What Is "cross Country"?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 2:37 am

Yea FAA should really consider changing the term cross-country because it's confusing. Bri2k1 said it all but for a 50 mile run you don't really need to plan that much just go.

For longer routes you will plan for your flights. Basically you will look at online weather observations. Looking for weather at your destination and en-route. It's very important to see what the wind speeds and clouds are at 1000 to 8000 feet so you can determine the best possible altitude for flight. After that make a flight plan by selecting your altitude and airways. Plus you have to calculate all thea appropriate flight times and fuel calculations. Then file it. It's not rocket science just takes some time. Some just don't do it at all and just rely on the GPS, your decision. That's what makes flying fun, you get to make life or death decisions!
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RE: What Is "cross Country"?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 4:20 am

Yes, anytime you land at an airport you didn't takeoff from is considered a cross country flight. So the flight you are proposing from RUT to DDH is a cross country flight. However a flight to count as a cross-country flight for for airman certification purposes like for a private or commercial airman's certificate, it needs to be at least 50nm from the departure airport, plus the other requirements that are listed in part 61.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
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RE: What Is "cross Country"?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 6:29 am

Wonderful responses, thanks everybody.

Question, what differences in preparation do I need to do if its an IFR or VFR flight? Do I need to file a flight plan if I'm flying VFR? What does it mean to file a flight plan?

These may seem like really basic questions but my experience is only with sims  Silly Trying to understand it as much as I can.
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RE: What Is "cross Country"?

Fri Dec 23, 2005 6:43 am

Filing a flight plan for a cross-country flight is important for a number of reasons, VFR or IFR. For one, if there's a mishap anywhere, someone's going to begin looking for you immediately if your flight plan is not closed. (That's why it's so important to remember to close them!) Also, it's recorded evidence that you followed the FARs: "to obtain all relevant information about the flight." That's your responsibility as PIC. Maybe you did check the weather and decided it was OK to fly, but if you have an incident and weather is part of the cause, can you prove you checked the weather? If it's indicated on your flight plan, you can.

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 2):
Basically you will look at online weather observations.

That's true, but be careful how you do it. If you call a Flight Service Station and get a weather briefing from a specialist, there's a recording made with your voice, and either your name or tail number, indicating you really did check the weather. If you log on to DUATS online, the same thing happens. But, if you just check the TAFs and METARs, and decide it looks OK, that's not going to be recorded by the FAA. If something happens, it's always better to have covered yoursef.

To fly IFR, you HAVE to file a flight plan, because you will be controlled by an air traffic controller for the entire duration of the flight. For VFR, it's not absolutely required (unless you're in the ADIZ) (or you're a student pilot, because your instructor is going to make you  Smile).

Also, there are pilot and aircraft certification differences for VFR and IFR flight. All these things are well-documented in the FAR/AIM. If you ever want to get into non-simulated flying, it might be worth the investment. Plus, you can buy these at any flight school, so it's an opportunity to head to a local FBO and maybe see some planes up close.
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