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Solo Cross Country Flight Training and Experience

Solo Cross Country Flight Training and Experience

Private Pilot Flight Experience Summary

Total Time: 40 hours minimum which consists of at least (dual):
20 hours minimum of flight training with an instructor on the Private Pilot areas of operation including
3 hours of cross country flight training in a single engine airplane;
3 hours of night flight training in a single engine airplane, that includes at least:
a) 1 cross country flight of over 100 nm total distance; and
b) 10 T/O’s and 10 landings to a full stop with each involving a flight in the traffic pattern at an airport.
3 hours of flight training by reference to instruments in a single engine airplane; and
3 hours of flight training in a single engine airplane within the 60 days prior to the practical test.

Solo: 10 hours minimum of solo flying in a single engine airplane on the Private Pilot areas of operation including:
5 hours of solo cross country flying;
1 solo cross country flight of at least 150nm total distance with full stop landings at 3 points and one segment of at least 50nm between T/O and landings; and
3 T/O’s and landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower.

Pilot Training Program With Aviator Flight Training Academy 259 Flight Hours

Aviator Flight Training Academy offers professional pilot training programs with a minimum of 200 hours of multi-engine time. The flight school has a state of the art 37,000 square foot facility, featuring a CRJ Level 5 Flight Training Device (Simulator), large classrooms and individual briefing rooms.

Cross-Country Flying

Phase II in Flight Training
By Steve Krog

When beginning the cross-country flight phase, student pilots often find it one of the most exciting parts of their training. Until reaching the cross-country phase, virtually all flights take place at or near the home airport. For the first time, students are able to fly well beyond the home airport to new and different airports, initially with the flight instructor and then solo. Planning the first cross-country flight, though, can seem overwhelming!

There’s a lot to know before conducting a safe cross-country flight, and your flight instructor will review everything in detail prior to each take off.

1. What type of aircraft will be flown? Does it cruise at an airspeed of 80 mph, like a Piper J3 Cub, or does it cruise at 110 mph? Knowing the airspeed is critical in planning so that the time-in-flight can be determined. Will it take two hours to reach the planned destination, or will it take three hours?

2. How much fuel does it burn per hour at cruise flight? Remember, in flight we don’t have the luxury of gas stations every few miles. Safe, legal planning requires that enough fuel is on board to reach the destination, plus fuel enough to fly an additional 30 minutes, if flying during VFR conditions.
How much fuel does the aircraft hold? Using the J3 Cub as an example, it holds 12 gallons of usable fuel, and the fuel burn rate is 4.5 gallons per hour. At that rate, the Cub can safely remain in flight for about 2.1 hours and still have a 30-minute reserve. At 80 mph, the Cub will be able to travel approximately 168 miles before it’s time to land and refuel (assuming no wind conditions).

3. What are the aircraft performance requirements? Why is this important? After all, as a student you’ve been flying the same aircraft several times a week and have never had to worry about performance. Given the surface wind conditions, outside air temperature, and type of runway surface, it is important to determine both take-off and landing distances for said aircraft. (Perhaps the runway(s) at your point of destination are too short to execute a safe take-off and landing.)

4. What are the destination airport runway types and lengths? Does the airport have more than one runway? Are the runway surfaces asphalt or turf? It’s important that this information is known prior to departure rather than after reaching the destination airport, as the runway of choice may be too short, necessitating the use of a less desirable runway. Vital information, such as runway length, can be found in an FAA publication titled, Airport Facility Directory (AFD).

5. What are the weather conditions for the cross-country flight? Weather conditions are extremely important at the point of departure, all along the route, and at the point of destination. VFR flight requires that minimum ceiling heights and visibility distances be met, or exceeded, in order to legally make the flight. This information can be obtained from the area Flight Service Station (FSS).

6. What are the winds aloft? Flight training prior to the cross-country phase was seldom concerned with winds aloft. So why deal with them now? Winds aloft have a significant effect on the aircraft’s ground speed. Even though the airplane indicates 80 mph during cruise flight, the ground speed may well be different. Let’s assume that winds aloft are indicating that a 20 mph headwind will be encountered during the flight. The ground speed will then become 60 mph.

7. Using the example J3 Cub, it was determined that 2.1 hours of fuel was available, plus the 30 minute reserve, before needing to land. At 2.1 hours and a 60 mph ground speed, the distance covered will only be 126 miles; 42 fewer miles than when flying in a no wind condition. The headwind encountered may dictate that a fuel stop is necessary before safely reaching the destination airport.

Conversely, if the winds aloft indicate that a 20 mph tailwind will be encountered, the groundspeed will be 100 mph. At 2.1 hours and a 100 mph ground speed, approximately 210 miles can be flown in the same time span.

Additionally, the winds aloft may indicate that the flight will encounter a crosswind. This will dictate additional calculations affecting both ground speed and True Heading (TH) – but more on that in a future newsletter.

8. What are the terrain and obstacle elevations along the route of flight? Again, all prior training flights were made at altitudes between 1,000 and 2,500 feet or more above the surrounding terrain, but when flying cross-country new terrain will be encountered. Ideally, the flight should be made to ensure that it is conducted at least 1,000 feet above the highest terrain encountered along the selected route. Obstacles, such as tall towers and windmill farms, must also be noted and considerations made along the selected route of flight.

9. NOTAMs: What are they and why check them? The acronym, NOTAM, stands for Notice to Airmen and can be obtained from the FSS when getting a briefing. (This will be further explained in a future newsletter.) NOTAMs provide pilots with vital information that may affect the route of flight and the planned destination. A good example of a NOTAM would be that one or both of the two runways at the destination point are closed for repair. Having this information can prevent some anxious moments for the pilot upon arrival at the destination.

10. TFR’s: What are they and why are they important? TFRs are relatively new to the world of aviation and became especially more prevalent as a result of 9/11. A TFR is another aviation acronym meaning Temporary Flight Restriction. TFRs are noted areas where flight is restricted for a temporary period of time. It is vital when getting a preflight briefing from FSS, to ask if there are any known TFRs along the selected route of flight. One does not want to launch out on a pleasant cross-country flight only to find an Air Force F-16 escort off your wing! This can be very disheartening, and ruin an otherwise great day. An example of a TFR might be an airport and/or area along the route of flight that is under a TFR because the president is visiting that community. No general aviation flight is allowed in the TFR until it is lifted. It may be in effect for several hours, a day, or several days.

11. Airspace requirements. We’ve talked about airspace in previous articles and we’ll talk about them in greater detail in a future newsletter. Airspace, as you may recall, is categorized by the letters A, B, C, D, E, and G. Each of these designated airspaces have different requirements for both radio communications as well as ceiling and visibility requirements. Before each cross-country flight, it is important to review the route of flight to determine the different airspace categories encountered. Depending on how the aircraft flown is equipped, to be legal the flight may require deviating around, as opposed to through, some of the airspace along the route of flight.

Distributed by Viestly

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