Cross Country Planning Checklist

This checklist is meant to be used with one of the navigation logs, here ( 135K PDF ) or here ( 64K PDF ).

Items in boldface can be done at any time, without knowing the winds aloft.

° Get a weather briefing for the intended route.
° Choose altitude and power setting. Fill in entries for WIND, ALT…TAS (use data from the POH). You will need to know the correction for density altitude.
° Calculate fuel on board. Enter it in the flight log and on the FAA flight plan: (total fuel, gallons) / (fuel burn, GPH)
° Plot and measure course. Mark waypoints.
° List waypoints.
° Calculate compass headings and groundspeed, enter at top of flight log.
° Enter course(s) for each leg.
° Measure leg distances and list them.
° Add leg distances and enter total at bottom of DISTANCE column. Measure total distance on chart and compare. The two numbers should agree within 1 mile.
° DISTANCE TO GO is zero at the destination. Working up the column, list cumulative DISTANCE TO GO by adding the leg distances. DISTANCE TO GO at the point of departure (first waypoint) should be identical to the total at the bottom of the DISTANCE column.
° Calculate the descent point, in miles from destination: ( cruise altitude - destination field elevation ) / 300. Mark it on the chart.
° Find the highest point within 5 miles either side of course.
° Enter destination field elevation and traffic pattern altitude.
° Enter the Flight Service Station responsible for the destination airport (to close flight plan).
° List the frequencies you expect to use.
° Enter leg ground speed(s).
° Estimate the climb penalty: ( cruise altitude - departure field elevation ) / 2000; round up any fraction, no matter how small. If the departure runway is not favorably aligned with the course, add another minute or two.
° Enter estimated times for each leg.
° Add 2 - 5 minutes for time spent in the traffic pattern at the destination.
° Add all these times together for estimated time enroute. Enter this time on the FAA flight plan.
° Finish flight plan. Carney aircraft equipment codes are listed in the third column of this page.