doing the looooong XC flight...


Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
I'd posted a while back about doing a long XC from AUS to AWM for a short weekend vacation with friends. Well, the time is coming and I'm hoping for a Friday morning departure.

I've never done a flight like this before, although a long flight is really just a series of shorter ones back to back. It's summertime, and weather will definitely be a factor. Here's some of the things I'm planning on, but I'd sure appreciate any advice on this...

  • Flying the route in such a way that the en-route portion is basically airport to airport, so that I'm always pointed relatively near a field if I need to get down in a hurry, or turn back in a hurry.
  • Getting flight following from center the whole way if radar coverage is available and I have the altitude
  • Taking advantage of weather services from FSS, plus using the XM-Wx feature on my GPS. Getting PIREPS.
  • Figuring on two fuel/rest stops along the way, each way, plus getting updated weather info at each stop.
  • Carrying a few tools in the plane with me (AOPA Pilot has a good article on that this month)
  • Filing flight plans
  • Taking a good, thick book to read if I have to land somewhere to wait out weather and deviating around it isn't possible.
  • Planning legs with at least an hour of fuel in the tanks when I land somewhere.
  • Making sure I've got plenty of room on the emergency credit card.
  • Setting minimums - 2500 ceiling, 5mi visibility, no rain.
  • Doing fuel burn/groundspeed checks all along the way and doing them manually. The GPS handles a lot of that, but I'd like to do it and crosscheck. Might as well sharpen the pilotage skills while I'm at it. :)

Some of this may sound overly conservative, but at 71.9 hours TT, I'd like to err on the side of caution.

Anything else I'm missing? Suggestions?


Well-Known Member
Sounds perfect.

I would bring along some water and some sort of power bars. Have the girly pick something healthy for you up at Central Market before blasting off.


Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
Sounds perfect.

I would bring along some water and some sort of power bars. Have the girly pick something healthy for you up at Central Market before blasting off.
Hah! She's leaving for NC on Thursday so I'm on my own for that.

You off that weekend? Wanna come with me? Gimme some IR instruction along the way? :)


Well-Known Member
You've got it pretty much figured out.

Like Seggy said, bring snacks and water.

Bring your laptop also. If you do get stuck, JC could be your best friend when fighting off boredom. :) Most FBO's (even the small ones) have wireless internet.

Bring a jacket just in case you do encounter rain.


You mean Shennanigans?!?!
I attempted a looooonngggg XC between when I got my private and when I got my instrument rating. It was May and we decided to leave around 10am. There were a line of storms approaching from the west and I thought that I could get around the front of them and be on my way west. Well, two hours into the flight I ran into rain and went IMC with very little instrument training. Thank God I found a hole and climbed to 5k and got a hold of Flight Watch. They probably saved my life that day. Not to mention my wifes sitting next to me. That trip was by far the most humbling experience as a pilot I have had to date. We ended up turning around, making it back and then drove the 13 hours home. The point of my story is just remember that Flight Watch is a great resource to help you out. 122.0 above 5k! Have fun on the XC and take some pics along the way! :nana2:

Boris Badenov

The only thing I'd add is don't be spooked by a little rain. With a fancypants GPS like you have, you're going to be able to see whether there's serious weather around or you're just hitting some light showers. If you limit yourself to clear and a million, you're going to not only take longer than you need to, but you're going to miss some experience that will help you later on when you have to deal with weather.

That said, there's nothing wrong with being "too conservative". It certainly beats the alternative. Use your judgment, but don't hamstring yourself with arbitrary numbers too much. IMHO.