Cross Country Planning

General Preparation

Start cross country planning at least a day in advance of your flight.  You do NOT have time to do it all just before your flight.  It will take you a few hours the first time. If you have not been shown how to fill out a nav log, look at this navigation calculation page for more details.

For each leg of your cross country flight, prepare your charts showing a set heading point, your track from the set heading point to the destination, 10 nm marks along the track and 10 degree drift lines.  Use the VTA chart for portions of your flight where you will be flying within the VTA area and use the VNC for the other parts of the flight.
Select appropriate altitudes of flight, and mark them on your navigation log. Measure the distances and track, and record the magnetic variation. Also mark the top of descent on your chart, three miles back for each 1000' you must descend in a C150, four miles per thousand feet in a C172.

Complete weight and balance calculations for the flight.  Robyn weighs 140 lbs with her headset and that bag she always carries. Allow an extra five pounds in winter, for extra clothing.

Choose and mark on your chart appropriate points for groundspeed calculations, and for each one record on your nav log the distances between them and the distance remaining.

Look up the airports you are going to in the CFS, and note the runways, the frequencies, the aerodrome elevation, the circuit altitude and any special circuit procedures.

Some hours before your flight, obtain the upper winds. Use the airplane performance charts to select an appropriate rpm setting, and record the BHP, the TAS and the fuel consumption rate for the temperature at your altitude. Look up the time, fuel and distance required to climb to altitude.  

Calculate the groundspeed, crab, magnetic heading, time and fuel burn. Don't forget to include climb, taxi, run up and reserve fuel in your total fuel requirements calculations. Allow AT LEAST an hour to make these final calculations. You have booked the airplane and instructor for your flight, not to wait for you to finish your planning.

Just before the flight, get the latest weather and NOTAMs, and check them over carefully to ensure that conditions are still appropriate for your flight.

File a flight plan. Your instructor is the pilot in command for a dual flight. Robyn's licence number is in the password protected area, you'll need to know it in order to file your flight plan.


This calculator is a good one to use to check that the distance is sufficient on your commercial long cross country.

Starting and Ending in Chilliwack

Back to My Students Index | Robyn's Flying Start Home

This page written 24 May 2003 by Robyn Stewart.  Last revised 02 February 2005.
Copyright 2003-2004 Flying Start Initiatives