Cross Country Planning Checklist
This checklist is meant to be used with one of the navigation logs,
here ( 117K 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
- Plot and measure the course.
- Mark waypoints. List them on the flight log.
- Calculate compass headings and groundspeeds, enter at top of flight log.
- Measure distances between waypoints and list them.
- Add segment 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 REMAINING is zero at the destination. Working up the
column, list cumulative DISTANCE REMAINING by adding the segment distances.
DISTANCE REMAINING at the point of departure (first waypoint) should be
identical to the total at the bottom of the DISTANCE column.
- Enter the courses for each segment.
- Find the highest point within 5 miles either side of course.
- Calculate the top of descent, in miles from destination:
( cruise altitude - destination field elevation ) / 300.
Mark it on the chart.
- Enter destination field elevation and traffic pattern altitude.
- Sketch the airport.
- List the frequencies you expect to use.
- Estimate the climbout 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 segment.
- Add 2 - 5 minutes for time spent in the traffic pattern at the
- Add all these times together for estimated time enroute. Enter this time
on the flight plan form.
- Calculate fuel on board (hh:mm). Enter it in the flight
log and on the flight plan form: (total fuel, gallons) / (fuel burn,
- Finish the flight plan. Aircraft equipment codes are listed in
AIM § 5-1-9 (ICAO) or § 5-1-8 (domestic).