X country planning for checkride, private

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by 4RNB, Mar 19, 2021.

  1. 4RNB

    4RNB Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I will be flying with working VOR receivers, database updated GPS, and foreflight on yoke mount ipad. For my dual and solo cross countries, the GPS was used, confirmed with IPAD, straight line travel paths thus utilized. I noticed some of my waypoints/checkpoints were tough to identify (some railroads) and major interstates were easier. When I fly on my own as a licensed pilot, I will likely continue to use GPS based navigation for mostly straight line travel.

    My CFI has told me to plan for my checkride cross country using easy to navigate to points in a non linear flight path. For example, go westerly to nearby airport, then head north to point X, then West again. I hope this comes across well as I type.

    I think that this complicates the checkride and does not mimic how I will actually be flying. I can find a first checkpoint early in a straight line path wherein I cross a rail track and small highway about 10 miles to the west of an airport, if this were missed it would all happen on a known radial from a VOR.

    Are there well defined cross country checkride standards I should be aware of? I have a capable plane, think it is best I fly as intended, bearing in mind that I might need to be able to handle whatever comes my way on test day (and in later flying).
     
  2. Initial Fix

    Initial Fix Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The ACS is your friend. Pilotage.

    if you fly your checkride with all your digital stuff and can’t use pilotage to identify your checkpoints I suspect you will fail the ride. What will you do if the examiner says to turn off your iPad or “fails” the panel gps? They can and do just that.

    the whole idea of visual checkpoints is to learn how to cross reference your map with the view outside to make sure you are where you think you are.
     
  3. woodchucker

    woodchucker Pattern Altitude

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    Every checkride is different but for mine the DPE asked me to plan a flight ahead of time before meeting and then he barely even looked at it during the oral. Most of the questions regarding XC flight were scenario based. Didn’t do any navigation work in the air. It was all maneuvers. Just sharing my experience. Your mileage may vary.

    The advice given above is solid. To prepare for the checkride follow the standards.

    For real life VFR flying my waypoints are typically airports, towns, bodies of water and VOR stations. I rarely fly direct to destination as I prefer flying over civilization where possible. So towns, airports and roads are a part of the plan.
     
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  4. ateamer

    ateamer Line Up and Wait

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    Fly the checkride like you’ve trained. Don’t try new stuff on test day. Once you’re cut loose on your own is the time to ramp it up.
     
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  5. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    I think he was just trying to make sure you pick easy to see checkpoints. You won't be flying this, you'll be explaining it, so if you pick a miniscule feature just because it in your 'direct to' path it might be harder to explain than if you picked a lake that was x degrees off that path.
    Just guessing what he might have been thinking.

    For example, "If I fly over this airport here, then to this 5 mile wide lake here, I'll be sure not to fly through this Restricted Area here..."
     
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  6. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    One of the objectives of dual and solo cross countries is to learn what checkpoints are easily identifiable. Pick those as checkpoints for your checkride.

    if your instructor is telling you to do something different for the checkride than what he taught, I’d say you chose your instructor poorly. ;) unfortunately it’s a little late to change.

    I’d suggest doing what it sounds like you’ve been doing and will continue doing after you’re checkride. If that’s not good enough to pass, then you need more training and/or practice.
     
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  7. Domenick

    Domenick Line Up and Wait

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    Many of my cross-country checkpoints are points of interest. Basically, they are something I'd like to see. During the ground portion of my checkride, the DPE asked why I had chosen that particular route. My answer was, "I'd like to see Grand Coulee Dam from the air." He smiled, and we moved on.
     
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  8. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Care to name the violating examiner so the FAA can investigate him/her?
     
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  9. woodchucker

    woodchucker Pattern Altitude

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    Prefer not, why? Is every standard tested in every checkride? Didn’t do ground reference maneuvers either.
     
  10. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Since the ACS is your friend, Skills associated with pilotage and Dead Rec is the standard.
     
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  11. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    My DPE gave me an XC to plan. I suspected he had 2 or 3 that he always used, and he'd done this enough times that he could look at your plan and know right away if you had done it correctly.

    We took off, turned on course, and when we got to the first checkpoint he said, "Hey, where did that line of thunderstorms ahead come from? They weren't on the forecast, we better divert to xxx." So I did. When I was on course and had figured out time and distance, he said, "OK, you got it. Let's do something else."

    If you have checkpoints figured out, you have a sequence of a bunch of short flights. If you divert you have a very good idea of where you are starting from. If you simply follow the magenta line, and the DPE says, "OK, take us 'there' and tell me the course, distance, and time", punching a few buttons on the GPS will do that for you, but you really didn't show your work.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
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  12. 4RNB

    4RNB Pre-takeoff checklist

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    ACS pg 37 is about pilotage and dead reackoning.
    ACS pg 38 is about navigation systems and radar services.
    I would plan to lay out my route prepared for both.

    I do not see anything in the ACS that has a checklist for X country.
     
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  13. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I had other reasons in mind.

    I know the legs my DPE wanted planned were also to the edge of fuel reserves so I had to take winds and other factors into consideration.

    On one leg I planned an intermediate stop. DPE asked why? "Because I've never flown a leg that long before, and I'm not sure my bladder will hold out." That was a good enough reason for him.
     
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  14. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Per the ACS, Cross country navigation and ground reference maneuvers are required portions of the Private Pilot flight test. If you didn’t do them, your certificate is technically invalid.
     
  15. Deelee

    Deelee Cleared for Takeoff

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    When I was a wee private pilot student lad, the first XC I planned for my CFI had some checkpoints that looked really good on the sectional - private airports, non-highway road intersections.... CFI told me how hard those are to spot from the air. He was right. An empty red circle of a private airfield looks like a good ground reference, but try to spot those from the air in the middle of a bunch of fields. Same with smaller road intersections.

    For my real XC, I planned it using major highway intersections, airports and some large landmarks. Even if it made my course less of a straight line.

    For the checkride, I flew the first leg of my plan, but then we had to divert north for real due to thunderstorms building up south.

    In real life.... I think if my panel mounted GPS AND my iPad AND my iPhone AND my NAV radios failed... then I would have to pull out the (out of date) sectional from my flight bag.
     
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  16. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I pretty much rely on all that, too, but still keep the sectional with the line drawn on it in front of me. If nothing else, it helps with situational awareness of where I am.

    It's been a long time, and the majority of my PP training was in a plane that didn't have GPS, so I did have to learn how to use a sectional and whiz-wheel. The DPE, and my CFI, both pretty much said the same thing: The training and checkride is to make sure you know how to navigate, not to make sure you know how to get something to navigate for you. Both also said that once I pass that checkride, what I use is up to me but for that checkride I had to do it myself. Those were good lessons that I haven't forgotten.
     
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  17. woodchucker

    woodchucker Pattern Altitude

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    I guess I’ll drop it in the mail addressed to the FAA and quit flying then.
     
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  18. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    I would simply suggest not telling half the world that you didn’t do a full checkride. More than likely you did, but weren’t familiar enough with the actual requirements and/or had so much on your mind that you don’t remember everything.

    but if you firmly believe you didn’t do a full checkride, I would suggest contacting the FAA so that they can investigate the examiner, and let them figure out what to do with your certificate.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
  19. SkyChaser

    SkyChaser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Do you know why your CFI said you should plan that way?

    I'm very curious, as I am planning my xc for my private checkride currently, too, and I'm also a straight-line navigator, though I do it with a sectional. I just prefer the ease of pointing the nose in the right direction after takeoff and basically just flying straight and level until I reach my destination.
     
  20. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    Yeah that is the bottom line of what the DPE is looking for. You'll ALWAYS divert at some point once you start the cross country. Mine made me plan a cross to Palm Springs which required me to buy two sectionals. He apologized for that.

    Then he made me contact flight service and get a weather report which was of course clear to Palm Springs and then he made up a reason why we had to divert and asked me to locate the nearest airport using my VOR and DME. Satisfied with that, we went on to the maneuvers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
  21. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    If ya stick with this flyin thang, someday there gonna be things in the way. Like Restricted Areas and other chunks of airspace
     
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  22. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    The cross country flight planning and most students responses to the task have always perplexed me as a flight instructor. I never provide guidance in this area because I’m curious what the student will come up with. That’s what the DPE is after as well, so plan it like you’d actually fly the flight. Would you actually zig and zag all over the countryside on a VFR flight? If so, plan it that way. If you’d fly the straight line, plan it like that.

    Regardless of how it is planned, there will be questions on the route planning on the oral and you will be tested on navigation in the air. Keep it simple and have fun.
     
  23. SkyChaser

    SkyChaser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Having to plan a less-than-straight path to avoid those types of things makes sense, it's the zig-zag courses for seemingly no reason that make my linear mind curious why a person would plan that way! :)
     
  24. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Cleared for Takeoff

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    My suggestion would be to review Task VI.A., Pilotage and Dead Reckoning, particularly Skills PA.VI.A.S2, PA.VI.A.S3, PA.VI.A.S4, and PA.VI.A.S5.

    Then compare them with the Skills in Task VI.B., Navigation Systems and Radar Services. The Skills include "Us(ing) an airborne electronic navigation system" (PA.VI.B.S1) and "Determin(ing) the airplane’s position using the navigation system." Of note is that these Skills are located in separate Tasks.

    You might want to anticipate meeting the requirements of the Skills in Task VI.A. without use of an airborne electronic navigation system. Choose your waypoints wisely.
     
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  25. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    Some folks are so stressed on the check ride they forget a lot of what occurred.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
  26. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Yup. And some examiners don’t give valid checkrides.

    don’t say things on the internet to make people think a case of the former is a case of the latter.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2021
  27. TommyG

    TommyG Pattern Altitude

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    Regardless of how you think you will be flying when you get your license. You are doing a checkride. If the CFI says plan it that way, you do it. Any dummy can fly a straight line GPS, but what if the examiner fails that GPS. What is when you have your license you lose GPS. You are required to know pilotage and dead reckoning. You should want to know how how fly using those skills.
     
  28. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Mountains. TStorms. Pop-up TFRs.
     
  29. AndyMac

    AndyMac Pre-Flight

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    On topic but off topic... DPE’s in the crowd - I’m in west Michigan. Is it kosher to plan my cross country out towards the lakeshore and plan pilotage up the coast? I fully plan to fly with Foreflight (iPad) with Foreflight (iPhone) as a backup, but know my DPE will want to see an alternative (fail my iPad, etc) and it gives me anxiety (not clinical...) to think about it lol.

    Thanks!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  30. TCABM

    TCABM Pattern Altitude

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    Maybe ask the examiner what he expects you to use during the pilotage and dead reckoning portion. Word to the wise, those magenta flags on the sectional can be your friend from a VFR checkpoint perspective.

    Major highway intersections and other places where intersections occur on your sectional. Believe it or not, there’s a reason they made it to the paper.
     
  31. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You also should have found out by now that landmarks just off your wings are easier to see than checkpoints under under your nose.
     
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  32. Initial Fix

    Initial Fix Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not a dpe. Find key geographical features along the lakeshore that you can see from the air such as coves, points, inlets, harbors might all be good. Sometimes you’ll need to look for nearby features to validate a landmark but that’s part of the fun. I can’t see why the examiner would not appreciate your logic as long as the features are prominent and distinctive.

    I play this game all the time on cross country trips looking at ponds, rivers, lakes, small towns and cross reference to the map.
     
  33. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    I disagree...if the CFI teaches it one way and says do it another for the checkride, the CFI is in error.

    I also have yet to meet an examiner wouldn’t rather see you do it the way you’re planning on after the checkride rather than have you do it differently for the test, especially if the reason you’re doing it differently is because you wouldn’t meet standard doing it the way you’re planning on later.
     
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  34. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    Most examiners are really good at what they do. He may have been tested on navigation and not even realized it was part of the test. Once you start asking questions and the applicant quickly and correctly answers a few the examiner realizes it is a waste of time to proceed further along that topic as the applicant obvious has an excellent understand of the topic. IMO this is difference between 4hr and 7hr check rides. They may both acceptably know the information but the 4hr checkride has a better grasp of it and is better at presenting the required information to the examiner.

    Brian
    CFIIIG/ASEL
     
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  35. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    For reference to the flight portion of the test, see posts 18 and 26. Also note that it wasn’t “I don’t remember flying these maneuvers,” it was “I didn’t fly these maneuvers.”

    since you seem to be addressing the oral portion, the discussion I’m involved in is about flight maneuvers.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2021
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  36. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    Batteries die, equipment fails, engines quit. It's not the way pilots like to fly but if you are the Pilot-in-Command, per FAR 91.3, what do you do?

    Murphy's Law of Aviation applies. Rule #1: Don't bet your life on it if you can help it.
     
  37. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    Agreed. 99% chance the CFI will fail some or all of his equipment.
     
  38. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    ROFLMAO. Agreed.

    To be honest, when I was younger, I tried that once. Hint: It didn't work. ;)
     
  39. Divine Wind

    Divine Wind Pre-Flight

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    Yes, something wrong with that picture.

    This is seen in flying jobs too. "Well, the book says this, but out here...."

    Not the fastest learner here, but the "Old Pilot, Bold Pilot" rule applies along realizing facts, limitations and regulations.

    Sure, I've broken rules. All pilots, or auto drivers for that matter, will do so. Most do it accidentally, some intentionally but rarely and some just do it all the time.

    The ones that do it all the time will eventually get caught and violated. They can whine like two year olds that life isn't fair, but they are still violated.

    Fortunately, all I've gotten were a few hard stares, nothing in writing. OTOH, I do my best to stay within the rules and regulations as a matter of professional practice. It's every pilot's choice to make.

    My advice is to follow the FARs, aircraft manuals and company regulations like they were your Professional Bibles because they are if you want to stay a professional pilot. If you don't care and don't mind a six month suspension or never flying professionally, then have fun! :)
     
  40. 4RNB

    4RNB Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Four hour checkride? I am puking already!