Home > Uncategorized > Pilot Student Building and Logging Time in Cross Country Flight Training

Pilot Student Building and Logging Time in Cross Country Flight Training

Pilot Student Building and Logging Time in Cross Country Flight TrainingPer title 14 of the code of federal regulations (14 CFR)- (FARS) part 61, section 1.b.3[4]

Cross-country time means:
  1. Time acquired during a flight—
  2. Conducted by a person who holds a pilot certificate;
  3. Conducted in an aircraft;

1. That includes a landing at a point other than the point of departure; and
That involves the use of dead reckoning, pilotage, electronic navigation aids, radio aids, or other navigation systems to navigate to the landing point.
2. For the purpose of meeting the aeronautical experience requirements (except for a rotorcraft category rating), for a private pilot certificate (except for a powered parachute category rating), a commercial pilot certificate, or an instrument rating, or for the purpose of exercising recreational pilot privileges (except in a rotorcraft) under Sec. 61.101(c), time acquired during a flight–
Conducted in an appropriate aircraft;
That includes a point of landing that was at least a straight-line distance of more than 50 nautical miles from the original point of departure; and
That involves the use of dead reckoning, pilotage, electronic navigation aids, radio aids, or other navigation systems to navigate to the landing point.

Cross-Country Flight Phase

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!

In cross-country flying, a number of basic skills assume added importance. For example,

  • When you stay near your home airport, you can land and refuel whenever you want, but during a cross-country flight you need to plan ahead.
  • When you stay near your home airport, you can land immediately if threatening weather moves in, but during a cross-country flight you need to do a lot more planning and a lot more en-route double-checking.
  • When you stay near your home airport, you presumably know the length of all the runways and the layout of the traffic pattern, but it can be highly embarrassing to show up at another airport and turn left base when everybody else is using a right-hand pattern. It is also embarrassing to land a little long and a little fast and then discover that the runway is very short.
  • And last but not least, you need good navigation. Navigation involves keeping track of where you are and finding your way to the destination. The three primary methods of navigation are pilotage (section 14.1), dead reckoning (section 14.2), and navigation by instruments (section 14.3).
14.1 Pilotage

The term pilotage refers to finding your way by reference to landmarks. This is a basic yet important pilot skill.

From the air, things look different than they do from the ground. It will take you a while to learn aeronautical pilotage skills. Airports Make Good Landmarks. When you are planning a cross-country trip, it is advantageous to plan a route that passes over airports along the way. They make great checkpoints.

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.

Logging Flight Time For Student Pilots

While you’re a student pilot you will only log EITHER dual received OR PIC time. You can’t log both on the same flight. You’ll log PIC time when you are the SOLE occupant of the aircraft, and since you can’t carry passengers if you’re not the sole occupant at least one of the other occupants will be your instructor. When you log dual received time then your instructor will, at a minimum, need to sign your logbook. Most instructors will add information on the lesson(s) taught during the flight.

Your instructor should conduct pre and post flight briefings and technically that’s ground instruction and could be logged as such but most people don’t bother. However, if your instructor provides ground instruction that’s not part of a pre or post flight my advice is to log it and have the instructor sign it.

When May I Log Cross-Country Time?

This is one of those FAA definitions that change depending on what you’re using the time for. Cross-countries fall into four groups. The first three groups are all contained in 61.1(b)(3).

Group 1: General Definition: A cross country flight is one in which you land at another airport that you didn’t accidentally bump into. There are no distance requirements.

Group 2: In order to “Count” for Most Certificates or Ratings: Same as the general definition, except at least one of the places where you land has to be more than 50 NM from where you started the flight. This applies to the private and commercial certificates, and the instrument rating.

Group 3: In order to “Count” for ATP: Same as for Most Certificates or Ratings, except you don’t have to land anywhere.

Group 4: Apart from there are the “special cross countries” that are part of the experience requirement for certain certificates and ratings. One example is the private pilot certificate requirement for 150 total distance solo cross country with at least one 50 NM leg (61.109(a)(5)).

Summary. All four groups are cross country. And they all can be logged from the time that you are a student pilot. The problem is keeping track of them so you can total the ones that “count” in any given situation. Most new pilots tend to log only Group 2 since those are the ones that they will have to total up in the near future. Some set up two columns right away (Group 1 counts for 135 experience purposes). The lack of a landing in Group 3 is a well-deserved tip of the hat to military pilots who will often fly some distance without landing.

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