Cross Country Technical Legal Definition Question


Well-Known Member
I've got a quick question about multi-leg Cross Countries, such as the one described by FAR 61.129(a)(4)(i).

"One cross-country flight of not less than 300 nautical miles total distance, with landings at a minimum of three points, one of which is a straight-line distance of at least 250 nautical miles from the original departure point. However, if this requirement is being met in Hawaii....."

So this is a three leg trip. Let's say the first leg is 49 NM, the second leg is 230 NM, and the third leg is 258 NM.

Does this meet the requirments of the aforementioned FAR?
Yes, the Third leg is 258 NM. My question primarily concerns the first leg, which is only 49 NM. I'm wondering if this would mess things up since it's less than 50 NM.
It depends on how you log it. If you log each leg in a sparate column and leave no indication that each leg was done as one part of the flight, then no it can't be counted. If you log it as one flight, then yes, it can be counted.

The reason is because the wording states (among other things) that a cross country flight is a flight in which you land at an airport in excess of 50nm from your original point of departure. If you only fly to the airport 49nm away and then fly home, it can't be counted. But if you fly to the point 49nm away, then to another point that is further than 50nm from your original departure airport (this can be as little as 1nm from your first destination), then it can be counted.

Basically you must make it clear as to where your original point of departure is in your logbook to legally count the flight as XC. But it really comes down to what the DE wants to see.
Thanks Ed, I do I plan on logging it all on one row to make it seem more like a single flight (I didn't even get out of the airplane at the first airport anyway). I didn't realize this potential technical glitch until after I completed the flight, but hopefully it won't make a difference.
lets make it simple. As long as long as you a) depart YOUR airport and go 250 nm straight line, or b) you get to your third airport and go 250nm, you are good. However, if you go from your airport to another which is, say, 20 nm, and proceed from there to another that is 250nm, you are non compliant. The way you interpret it is, "point of original departure." Which I always thought as of the airport you originally leave from. Which it could be, or also from the airport that you leave from and end up at your original departure point. Hope this isn't confusing. I have asked fsdo and dpe's and this is the way that the look at it.

You gotta love the far's.
I dunno! The FARs are ridiculous any way you look at them, but if you read it word for word and take everything at face value (which is pretty much what you have to do), then you could take off, fly 15 legs of 20nm each, and as long as at least one point is 250nm from your original departure point then you have automatically met the requirments for XC time (one point 50nm away) and have also met the commercial requirments as long as you did it solo.
Okay for reference if anyone wants to take the time to look at my actual ground track, it was KAUS-KBMQ-KMAF-KAUS.

Straight Line Distances

300 total met

250 from original point met (this also meets XC requirements because it's obviously more than 50nm)

3 landings met

I'd say it counts if it was solo (or at least logged as solo
Yep, I was the sole occupant of the aircraft. That was why I had to do this in the first place, otherwise some of my other trips would've qualified.