For most pilots, one of the major attractions of flying is the ability to “go somewhere” and get there more quickly than you can by car. Cross country training is the first time we start to think about the issues related to going someplace further away than our local airports.
During cross country training, we’ll introduce many of the concepts and procedures that will be required for longer flights. Some of these may seem overkill on a 50nm training flight, but they establish habits that are critical for any flight away from the local area. My typical first dual cross country training flight for students is from EMT (El Monte) to CMA (Camarillo) [BNG (Banning) or F70 (French Valley) are other common options]. Preparing for this flight and then flying it, allows us to discuss the topics of
- Cross country planning
- Weather theory, briefing, interpretation and it’s impact of planning on planning and flying
- SoCal Approach services and communication (and by extension, other air traffic control organizations)
- Navigation by pilotage, dead reckoning, VOR, and GPS, and ultimately combining them as appropriate