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3 Answers

How many XC flights?

Asked by: 2695 views Flight Instructor

The Part 141 PPL syllabus I'm following calls for one day cross-country flight, one night cross-country flight, then the student's first solo cross country. Two just doesn't seem like enough before sending a student solo. How many XC flights do you usually conduct with your students before signing them off? 



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3 Answers

  1. Lucas on May 01, 2012

    It really all depends on the confidence level of the student and obviously yours as well.
    Keep in mind that most 141 courses only require 35 hours of total training and that is a little to low of an hour count to release a new pilot in the sky, heck under 141.55(d) you could specify a course with only 10 hours to certify a pilot and that is about what my grandfather went through in training but it was in England during WWII and the life expectancy of a RAF pilot wasn’t thought to be very long, if you know what I mean.
    I remember once I was given a student that had more than 250 total hours and 100 of X-C with no license yet and all the instructors that flew with him told me he was hopeless. So I flew with him a couple of times and couldn’t find a problem, even when I diverted him to 5 different places with no problem.
    When we got back I told him he would solo the next day if it was ok with him. That’s when the real problem showed up. He had no confidence in himself and told me he wasn’t ready.
    The problem was that he was too used to having someone sit next to him holding his hand, so I told him we would go together again. The next day we went on a cross country, I sat with my seat all the way back and pretended to be half a sleep, and never opened my mouth.
    When we got back I asked him if I had been of any use to him at all. He agreed I had been as useless as a twig. The next day he went by himself and came back with a huge smile.
    Five days later he had his license…
    As you see too much of something can be just as bad as too little. So again its up to you and him.
    A syllabus can’t replace a teacher it can only guide him.
    Have him plan a x-country all by himself and fly it without your aid if he can get from point A to B to C and finally back to A with a certain level of confidence and safety, it is probably time to let him do it on his own.
    Pledging You America’s Best
    Chief Instructor

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  2. Matthew Waugh on May 01, 2012

    Part 141 is really intended for full time students, although certainly it’s not required. So if a student is knocking out the syllabus in a couple of weeks then probably no issue. If they do the day cross-country, then wait 3 weeks, do the night cross-country and the 4 weeks later turn up to do their solo cross-country well, that might require a re-evaluation.

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  3. Jason on May 02, 2012

    Good thoughts. We’re flying almost daily. Still, I’m probably going to add one additional XC flight just to be sure. 

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