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					                      VFR CROSS-COUNTRY FLIGHT PLANNING
1.       Obtain charts that cover the area of flight and check their currency. Locate departure and
         destination airports.
2.       Determine best route with consideration for special use airspace and obstructions.
3.       If locations are found on the reverse side of the map or another map, ensure course and distance
         is correctly measured.
4.       Determine course change locations. Draw True Course (TC) lines on charts to connect the
         departure and destination locations.
5.       Measure bearings and distances. Select enroute checkpoints. Check points should be prominent
         landmarks. Enter these on the Navigation Log. Secondary checkpoints in the same vicinity should
         used for confirmation and be highlighted on the sectional chart.
6.       From the A/FD Determine weather reporting stations for the areas and make a note of FSS
         frequencies. If not available, ask the weather briefer to suggest a frequency when you call.
7.       Obtain weather briefing from Flight Service Station (FSS) on location or call 1-800-992-7433 or
         use DUAT services where available. Set modem parameters to 8 bits, 1 stop bit and NO parity.
         Baud rate must be 9600 bps or greater.
         DTC DUAT       1-800-245-3828                            GTE CONTEL 1-800-767-9989
8.       Record information on weather log. Whenever available, review weather charts for location of
         fronts, regions of high and low pressures, regions of MVFR, IFR and note any reports of
         turbulence from PIREPS. Note any Distant NOTAMS affecting the airports in use.
9.       For enroute locations, determine Winds Aloft, Terminal Aerodrome Area Forecast (TAF), Surface
         Reports (SA), Area Forecasts (FA), Sigmets, Airmets.
10.      For departure airport, obtain ATIS/AWOS information when available. Determine wind direction
         and intensity, visibility, ceiling, temperatures and pressure and Local NOTAMS.
11.      Consult the Airport/Facility Directory for communication frequencies, runway information, pattern
         altitudes, field elevation. Record this information on a communications log. Look up Airport guides
         for a diagram of the runway layout. Make copies or draw diagrams of the runway layout to help
         identify the airport during flight. It is also useful for helping you determine the traffic pattern entry.
         Mark on the diagram the direction of the traffic pattern.
12.      Identify areas of Marginal VFR and revise course as necessary.
13.      Determine winds aloft affecting climb and cruise by interpolating between reported conditions on
         the ground and in the air or between reported altitudes. For Outside Air Temperature (OAT) use
         Standard Temperature Lapse Rate of –2°C (–3.5°F) per thousand feet for altitudes without
         reported temperature.
14.      Determine the Wind Correction Angles (WCA) and Magnetic Variation (MV) for the route
         segments. Surface winds are reported as magnetic heading to the nearest 10°. Winds aloft are
         true headings. Compute the True Heading (TH) and Magnetic Heading (MH).
15.      Determine VFR cruising altitudes. From MC 0° ~ 179° use odd thousands plus 500 feet; MC
         180°~359° use even thousands plus 500 feet. See FAR 91.159. Select cruise altitudes, below
         reported ceilings, with favorable winds.
16.      Compute or look up in charts the Pressure Altitude for the surface and cruise altitudes.
17.      Compute or look up the Density Altitudes. Use this information to determine climb performance,
         power setting for cruise, true airspeed and fuel burn rate.
18.      Compute fuel, time and distance for climb; fuel and time for cruise segments and descent.
         Compute estimated ground speed and estimated time enroute (ETE). Make the appropriate
         entries on the navigation log. If no descent distances are given in the airplane manual, use this
         rule of thumb.
                 Determine the altitude you need to lose; i.e. if cruising at 8500 feet you need to lose 7500
                 feet to level off at traffic pattern altitude of 1000 feet. Take the number in thousands, 7 in
                 this case, and multiply by 3 (7.5x3=22.5). So, you must initiate your descent 22.5 nm prior
                 to the destination airport.
VFR CROSS.DOC                                                                                           Page 1
                    Determine the rate of descent by multiplying your ground speed by 5. Example : you are
                    flying at 100 knots; your descent rate should be 100 X 5 = 500 feet per minute. To
                    compute ground speed use your True Airspeed and add or subtract the headwind
                    component. Use a direct readout of ground speed from LORAN/DME/GPS when
                    Your ETE from the commencement of descent to the airport traffic pattern is 7500ft 
                    500fpm = 15 minutes. If ATC gives descent instructions, you must comply.
19.       Total the times and fuel requirements for all route segments and confirm sufficient fuel on board
          plus reserves. If not, plan a fuel stop!
20.       Compute Weight and Balance and ensure that the airplane is loaded within the maximum certified
          takeoff weight and the allowable limits for center of gravity.
21.       Compute takeoff and landing distances and ensure adequate runway length is available.
22.       File a Flight Plan with FSS. Do not use a contact phone number if there is nobody to answer it in
          your absence. Use SunQuest’s number (561) 627-0037 or Hawthorne Palm Beach (561) 626-
Note : For those flying Cessna Aircraft, the Performance Section tabulates data in the form of Pressure Altitudes and Ambient
Temperatures. This requires two way interpolation between the Pressure altitudes and Temperatures. Unfortunately, the older
manuals do not provide data for standard temperature. If this is the case, add a column for standard temperature (15°C) and fill in
the interpolated data. The pressure Altitude Column can now be used as Density altitude.
Convert current Pressure Altitudes to Density Altitudes and read the Pressure Altitude Column as Density Altitude. Now, you only
need to interpolate between Density Altitude only, since temperature is standard.

Opening and Closing Flight Plans
Activate the flight plan giving the current UTC time on the appropriate FSS frequency after departure. Do
this when you leave the traffic pattern at an uncontrolled field when you determine it is safe to switch
frequencies. When departing a controlled field, wait till you are clear of the area of controlled airspace and
the controller approves a frequency change. In Class C and B airspace, you are monitored on radar, so
there is no immediate urgency to open the flight plan. You may request for a few minutes off the frequency
to contact FSS. If approved, you will be asked to report back on the controller’s frequency usually within a
specified time limit, e.g. 5 minutes. If the airspace is congested, the controller may not approve the
frequency change. Wait till you are clear of controlled airspace and then contact FSS.
Close flight plan with the appropriate FSS prior to entering controlled airspace. Report to FSS that you
have airport in sight and cancel VFR flight plan. Allow yourself sufficient time to establish two way radio
communication with the tower controller before entering Class D airspace. Class D airspace is roughly 5
nm in radius and the airport should be in sight at 1500 AGL or higher. At Class C & B airspace close flight
plan prior to establishing contact with Approach Control.
If time does not permit, the flight plan may be closed after landing by calling FSS on the phone. Be sure to
cancel the flight plan within a half hour of your ETA otherwise Search and Rescue Operations will be
initiated. If your flight time is extended due to weather, inform FSS of your revised ETA as soon as

During the Flight
Record your departure time prior to taking the active runway. If using a stopwatch, start it at this point.
When you open your flight plan report that you departed at that time. On reaching the top of climb, record
the time and position and compare these with the planned information. Record your ATE (actual time
enroute). Reset time for the next route segment. Use this information to compute your actual ground
speed and compute a revised ETE to the next and subsequent checkpoints.

You planned your flight based on winds aloft forecasted a couple of hours ago. You may need to revise
the planning based on updated weather conditions. Using your updated ground speed and True Airspeed
(TAS) compute the head/tail wind component. Track as closely to the planned flight path as possible. If
your Wind Correction Angle is different from that planned, use this angle to determine the actual winds
aloft on the flight computer. Revise the planned information and update the ETAs and Fuel Burn. Ensure
that you have sufficient fuel to reach your destination plus the required reserves.

VFR CROSS.DOC                                                                                                             Page 2
Dual and Solo Cross Country Flights
FAR 61.107 and 61.109 require that an applicant for the Private Pilot Certificate complete a minimum of 3
hours dual cross country including one of 2 hours duration.

You are required to fly twenty hours solo, ten of which must be cross country. Solo cross-country is
defined as a flight with a landing at a point greater than 50 nm from the original point of departure. Several
standard cross-country flights have been selected for our students.

The amount of dual cross-country time required to gain sufficient experience and confidence to fly solo will
depend on the individual student. The three hours dual provided for by FAR 61.107 is rarely adequate for
the average student. We plan to fly three dual cross country flights to provide the necessary proficiency
and experience level. One cross country dual will be flown at night to meet the minimum 3 hours dual
night flight with 10 takeoffs and landings required under FAR 61.109. At least one day and one night dual
cross country flight will be accomplished. If the student displays adequate proficiency, the third dual cross
country will be omitted at the discretion of the flight instructor. Some choices are available for each flight.
Selection may be governed by prevailing weather conditions.

Dual Cross Country Flight One
Sebring SEF (70)
LaBelle X10 (65)
Immokalee IMM (68)
Dual Cross Country Flight Two (Night if seeking night privileges)
Vero Beach VRB (Class D) (50)
Labelle X10 (65)
Dual Cross Country Flight Three
Opa Locka (Class D) (51)
Ft. Lauderdale Executive (Class D) FXE (39)

Solo Cross-country Flight One
The first solo cross country flight will be to a familiar destination, usually the same route as the first dual
Sebring (70)
LaBelle (65)
Immokalee (68)

Solo Cross-country Flight Two
The second Solo Cross country will be the 300 nm flight. The solo cross country hours will be totaled at
this point and the remaining solo cross country hours computed and the third solo cross country
destination selected. If you are short of say, 0.2 hours on your last solo cross-country, DO NOT return to
North County. Fly to the practice area and practice the maneuvers until you have the required time before
landing at F45!

One solo long cross-country flight covering 300 nautical miles with landings at a minimum of three points,
with one point at least 100 nm from the original point of departure, is required. This flight will take the
entire day, allowing for delays due to weather. Please schedule this flight in advance and take the day off
work if you have accumulated leave. There will be many students trying to fly this flight on a weekend, so
plan ahead and schedule the airplane.

Three solo takeoffs and landings to a full stop at a tower controlled airport are required. This will be
accomplished during the solo cross country flights to airports with a control tower. There are three
possible choices for this flight:

F45 - SRQ(127) - APF(85) - F45(93) Total 305 nm - 2 airports with control tower
North County - Sarasota - Naples - North County

F45 - TIX(102) - FPR(65) - X14(72) - F45(65) Total 304 nm - 2 airports with control tower
North County - Titusville Executive - Ft Pierce - LaBelle - North County

VFR CROSS.DOC                                                                                              Page 3
F45 - BOW(116) - VNC(63) - FMY(42) - F45 (89) Total 310 nm - 2 airports with control tower
North County - Bartow - Venice - Ft. Myers Page - North County

Solo Cross Country Flight Three
This flight will be based on the remaining solo cross-country hours and the destination selected

For practice, plan all the routes to destinations listed for the First and Second Dual Cross-country flights.
Weather will sometimes affect part of Florida, so you have alternative cross-country flights preplanned and
ready to go. Plot the lines on your sectional map and enter the distances on the flight planning log. On the
day of the flight, get a weather briefing and complete the navigation log. Do as much of the planning as
possible in advance. You can look up the A/FD and record the airport information and communication

Also plan for the long 300 nm cross country since this will be your second solo cross-country flight.

If you encounter weather after you reach your destination and are unable to return within the scheduled
time, please call to notify us. Call FSS for weather updates and when the weather improves, fly to a
destination as close as Palm Beach as possible and wait for the weather to improve at North County. If
returning from the western part of the state and there is weather at F45, but Pahokee is accessible, land
there and wait for weather at F45 to improve. That way you have a short flight home and won’t have to
spend the night somewhere. This is especially pertinent for the 300 nm flight as it must be completed on
the same day to count as one flight.

Also remember to close any flight plans you open. Failure to do so will result in calls to us inquiring your
whereabouts. If we do not know where you are, search and rescue operations will be initiated.

Recommendations and Precautions
Be prepared for the unexpected. If you have to postpone your return flight due to weather and stay
overnight somewhere, be sure to bring a change of clothing and toileteries. Bring cash to purchase food
and/or a taxicab ride. A night in a motel and fuel purchases can be billed on your credit card. Remember
to keep some change for use in vending machines.
A cellular phone is useful when the FBO is closed when you arrive at your destination and you need to
close your flight plan. Bring a long distance calling card if you use one. Call SunQuest when you will be
late so that we can make alternative arrangements for other pilots scheduled with the airplane you are
flying. We would also like to know that you are safe at the destination airport. Bring a jacket during the
cool season. Temperatures will fall after sunset.

In the event of an emergency where a forced landing is inevitable you may have to wait till help arrives.
Bring a jacket or other warn clothing in case you have to spend the night somewhere. Carry a bottle of
water. You can do without food for several days, but you can’t survive without water. If you have a portable
intercom or a cellular phone, bring them along. Carry a first aid kit and insect repellent if you have them.
Wear clothing made from natural fibers which have superior flame protection over synthetic fabrics.

                       HAVE A SAFE AND ENJOYABLE FLIGHT!

VFR CROSS.DOC                                                                                           Page 4

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