Teaching and Learning Flying - Private Pilot, Single-Engine Airplane
VFR Cross Country Planning
DEFINITIONPlanning for a specific flight is the fourth major area of preflight preparation. (See Preflight Preparation lesson plan.) For student and recreational pilots seeking private pilot certification, cross-country flight, for the purpose of meeting aeronautical experience requirements, as defined in FAR 61.1, means a flight with a landing more than 50 nautical miles from the point of departure.
SAFETY FACTORSThorough preflight planning provides the essential foundation for exercising good judgment in making go/no-go decisions, and choosing among alternatives. Preflight planning contributes substantially to safe and efficient flight.
Cross-country emergency conditions
- Lost procedures
- Adverse weather conditions
- Precautionary off-airport approaches and landings
TOLERANCESPrivate Pilot PTS (FAA-8081-14 with Change 1), I.C. To determine that the applicant:
- Exhibits knowledge of the elements related to VFR cross-country flight planning by presenting and explaining a preplanned VFR cross-country flight near the maximum range of the airplane, as previously assigned by the examiner. The final flight plan shall include real-time weather to the first fuel stop, with maximum allowable passenger and baggage loads.
- Uses appropriate, current aeronautical charts.
- Plots a course for the intended route of flight.
- Identifies airspace, obstructions, and terrain features.
- Selects easily identifiable en route check points.
- Selects the most favorable altitudes, considering weather conditions and equipment capabilities.
- Computes headings, flight time, and fuel requirements.
- Selects appropriate navigation systems/facilities and communication frequencies.
- Confirms availability of alternate airports.
- Extract and records pertinent information from NOTAM's, the Airport/Facility Directory and other flight publications.
- Completes a navigation log and simulates filing (or files, in case of this lesson) a VFR flight plan.
- Plan one leg for night operations
- Plan suitable (alternate) course of action for various situations
- Select most favorable altitude or flight level, considering weather conditions and equipment capabilities
OBJECTIVESTo develop the student's knowledge, skill and judgment in VFR cross-country planning to meet the applicable practical test standards and to enhance the safety of flight
- Assemble equipment/materials
Sectionals/Class B Charts
Navigation log/flight plan forms
A/FD and/or other source of airport info
Pilot's Operating Handbook/Flight Manual
- Obtain, record all relevant weather info (include 3 airports per leg)
- Study, record relevant airport info
- Plot course
Choose check points
Measure and record course(s) (true and magnetic) and
Distances (between check points and total)
- Estimate and record fuel for start, run-up, taxi and takeoff
- Choose altitude(s); estimate and record time, fuel and distance for climb
- Select and record radio aids for navigation and communications
- Identify airspace, obstructions, terrain features, alternate airports
- Choose power setting
- Estimate TAS
- Calculate TH, MH, CH, and GS
- Calculate and record time (between checkpoints and total) and fuel for cruise
- Estimate time and fuel for approach, alternate, reserve
- Weight and balance: calculate and verify within limits
- Takeoff and landing performance: estimate distances; verify OK
- Check navigation log complete
- Flight plan: complete form; file
- Failure to assemble all relevant, necessary materials/equipment
- Use of expired aeronautical charts
- Inadequate, incomplete weather briefing
- Improper interpretation of weather information
- Inadequate study of airport info
Include one alternate airport per leg
- Poor choice of checkpoints: Too far apart; Too far from course
- Poor estimation of fuel required
Include fuel for start, taxi, run-up, takeoff, climb, cruise, approach, go-around, fly to alternate, approach, land, plus 30 minutes (day VFR)
- Failure to properly calculate weight and balance
- Failure to properly estimate takeoff and landing performance
- Failure to complete and file a VFR flight plan