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Private Pilot Solo Cross Country

Asked by: 1436 views FAA Regulations, Private Pilot

During your private pilot solo cross country you need to fly at least 150nm, land at 3 airports, and one of the distances between landings needs to be at least 50nm. The question comes when planning this flight if you used pilotage and dead reckoning and not a straight line gps course, how do you count the total distance of the route? Do you use the lines drawn on your sectional and total them up or do you have to go with a straight line drawn from point to point.

The reason this is so confusing ( for me at least), is the regulations are clear on the straight line distance of 50nm, but for the 150 they do not say anything about straight line. For this reason a pilot that uses a sectional may plan to the flight and based on his or her routing the total may be more than 150, but if a GPS or straight line distance you may fall short.

Please advise.  

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1 Answers

  1. Kris Kortokrax on Feb 23, 2015

    There is only one legal interpretation I can find dealing with 61.609(a)(5). The Keller interpretation does not address your question directly, but it does refer to cross country as defined in 61.1. It also mentions the straight line terminology. If they did not mean straight line distance for the 150 NM cross country, then one could conceivably fly a zig zag course for the three leg 150 NM trip and cover only a fraction of the straight line distance.

    We’re not talking about crossing the Atlantic. It’s only 150 NM. Why would one attempt to shortcut the requirement?


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