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8 Answers

Another XC question

Asked by: 1569 views Flight Instructor, General Aviation, Instrument Rating, Student Pilot

Hi - If I fly 50+ miles to meet my CFI, spend several hours in the practice area (IFR) and then back to my home airport, can I count all the hours as XC time? Towards the 50 hour IFR XC requirement.

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8 Answers

  1. Kris Kortokrax on Sep 08, 2016

    Usually, if you have to ask a question like this, you’re not going to like the answer.

    You said that you flew over 50 miles to meet your CFI. The assumption then is that you landed and your CFI boarded the airplane. After you landed, the cross country leg ended and you began “several hours in the practice area”. How does that meet the definition of cross country in 61.1?

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  2. Bill Zaleski on Sep 11, 2016

    The answer given above is incorrect:
    You say you’re training for an instrument rating, (I assume airplane), and you’re flying to build up your cross country flight time.

    Once you have made a landing more than 50 NM from the original departure point, using navigation , pilotage, etc., you have met the requirements of 61.1. The FAA does not include the word “leg” anywhere in the definition. There was no cross country leg that ended. Landing the airplane does not end the cross country. Any subsequent flights, no matter the length, duration, or purpose continue to accrue logable cross country time, at least until you return to the original departure point. You could have had your CFII aboard for the whole day, or just for the practice area flying only, it makes no difference. The cross country status was already met, and does not extinguish because of a delay, a new day, an aircraft change, or change in purpose, with or without others on board.

    This is not my opinion, but that of the certfication branch of the FAA. If there were any other limitations preventing the logging of valid cross country time, 61.1 would have stated so.

    Log the valid time. You paid for it.

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  3. jason608 on Sep 11, 2016

    Thanks for both comments.

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  4. LTCTerry on Sep 12, 2016

    I don\’t think “cross country” requires a return to the original point. Certainly if you delivered an airplane across the country and returned by train it wouldn’t be local flying – must be cross country.

    Bill – can you share a link to the FAA interpretation you mentioned?

    I don\’t see how you could fly 50+ miles, land, likely shut down the engine, fly locally for some time, drop off the instructor, then again fly 50+ miles and log that as “several hours of cross country.” The occupants of the aircraft changed. I would say “clearly” it’s not the same flight.

    It sounds to me like about 0.9 X-C if you count the taxi time. I could be wrong.

    When I had my private check ride I was told I should be prepared to justify cross country times that were abnormally short or long. Wouldn’t you hate to show up for a check ride with 50.0 hours of X-C time only to lose “several hours” of it?

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  5. Bill Zaleski on Sep 13, 2016

    Bill – can you share a link to the FAA interpretation you mentioned?

    The interpretation was given to me and the rest of the candidates during the DPE initial certification training given at Oklahoma City. My notes reflect what was discussed.

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  6. Mark Kolber on Sep 14, 2016

    Ah, so Bill’s interpretation is an unofficial one given during DPE training.

    The general principle that an overnight stay, or a few extra landings, or a diversion may be considered as an included part of a cross country flight is, like most rules, subject to a limitation of reasonableness.

    On this specific question, I’m with Kris. Not because someone else boarded the airplane, but because 3 hours of logged cross country time consisting of a half hour to get to a destination, landing, then taking off foe 2.5 hours of maneuvers strikes me as an unreasonable read of what a cross country flight is, using simple English. “Yes it counts” uses the same kind of, “well, if I do in this way…” thought process we see repeatedly and consistently rejected by the FAA in the 61.113 area.

    One of my favorite posts on an aviation forum on this subject comes from a guy who said he considers all of his flight experience a single cross country flight.

    But heck, if the issue is, “can I get away with it?” Maybe the answer is, “with some DPEs you can.”

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  7. Mark Kolber on Sep 14, 2016

    BTW, it’s probably that the speaker at Bill’s DPE school was referring to two things. One is the only orphaned FAQ that contained language that:

    The ‘original point of departure’ for the purpose of a cross country does not change with a new day or delay.

    and this language from a portion of the 2009 Genn Interpretation (which deals with a number of cross country issues) dealing with repositioning flights:

    There is nothing in § 61.1(b)(3)(ii) or previous FAA interpretations dictating how separate flights must be logged. Accordingly, the pilot may choose what is considered a discreet flight and what is merely a segment of a flight, and then log that time appropriately when the flight is conducted. Section 61.1(b)(3)(ii) requires that the flight include a landing at a point other than the point of departure.

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  8. Kris Kortokrax on Jan 22, 2017

    If it were FAA policy to allow what Bill alludes to, that policy would be stated for everyone.

    I attended the DPE initial training in May, 2007 and they made no such statement concerning cross country.

    If you can’t back it up with something in writing, it is just your opinoin.

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