Cross-Country Flight Planning
Lesson Plan


  • Research a mishap case study:
  • Discuss how the initial conditions developed into an incident/accident/mishap
  • Relate similar personal experience of the same type of incident/accident/mishap


  • Flight planning is the process in which a pilot prepares for an upcoming flight
    • While often associated with completing a navigation log for a cross-country, flight planning is a process that must be conducted even for local flights in the traffic pattern
  • It is a descriptive process therefore involving more than one type of navigation
  • If no wind information is available, plan using statistical winds, make them headwinds to be conservative in your fuel planning
  • Pilots will chose a route of flight and select cruise altitude based on a variety of factors
  • Course: is pre-flight
  • Track: is flown
  • Charts are all "true" as in true north and must be compensated to find magnetic north
  • Include the following:
    • Diverts (direction and channels/frequencies)
  • Checkpoints:
    • Check points should be set approximately 10 NM apart
    • Your first checkpoint should be Top of Climb (TOC) and the last should be Top of Descent (TOD)


Cross-Country Flight Planning:
Review (quiz):
Total Ground Time:

Required Materials:

  • Paper, Pen, Marker, Whiteboard, Federal Aviation Regulations, Logbook

Instructor Actions:

Student Actions:

Instrument Rating - Cross-Country Flight Planning Airman Certification Standards:

  • To determine the applicant exhibits satisfactory knowledge, risk management, and skills associated with planning an IFR cross-country and filing an IFR flight plan
  • References: 14 CFR part 91; FAA-H-8083-2, FAA-H-8083-15, FAA-H-8083-16, FAA-H-8083-25; Navigation Charts, Chart Supplements; AIM; NOTAMs

Cross-Country Flight Planning Knowledge:

The applicant demonstrates understanding of:
  • IR.I.C.K1:

    Route planning, including consideration of the available navigational facilities, special use airspace, preferred routes, and alternate airports
  • IR.I.C.K2:

    Altitude selection accounting for terrain and obstacles, glide distance of airplane, IFR cruising altitudes, effect of wind, and oxygen requirements
  • IR.I.C.K3:

    • IR.I.C.K3a:
      Time, climb and descent rates, course, distance, heading, true airspeed, and groundspeed
    • IR.I.C.K3b:
      Estimated time of arrival to include conversion to universal coordinated time (UTC)
    • IR.I.C.K3c:
      Fuel requirements, to include reserve
  • IR.I.C.K4:

    Elements of an IFR flight plan
  • IR.I.C.K5:

    Procedures for activating and closing an IFR flight plan in controlled and uncontrolled airspace

Cross-Country Flight Planning Risk Management:

The applicant is able to identify, assess, and mitigate risk associated with:
  • IR.I.C.R1:

  • IR.I.C.R2:

  • IR.I.C.R3:

    Environment (e.g., weather, airports, airspace, terrain, obstacles)
  • IR.I.C.R4:

    External pressures
  • IR.I.C.R5:

    Limitations of air traffic control (ATC) services
  • IR.I.C.R6:

    Limitations of electronic planning applications and programs
  • IR.I.C.R7:

    Improper fuel planning

Cross-Country Flight Planning Skills:

The applicant exhibits the skill to:
  • IR.I.C.S1:

    Prepare, present, and explain a cross-country flight plan assigned by the evaluator including a risk analysis based on real time weather which includes calculating time en route and fuel considering factors such as power settings, operating altitude, wind, fuel reserve requirements, and weight and balance requirements
  • IR.I.C.S2:

    Recalculate fuel reserves based on a scenario provided by the evaluator
  • IR.I.C.S3:

    Create a navigation plan and simulate filing an IFR flight plan
  • IR.I.C.S4:

    Interpret departure, arrival, en route, and approach procedures with reference to appropriate and current charts
  • IR.I.C.S5:

    Recognize simulated wing contamination due to airframe icing and demonstrate knowledge of the adverse effects of airframe icing during pre-takeoff, takeoff, cruise, and landing phases of flight as well as the corrective actions
  • IR.I.C.S6:

    Apply pertinent information from appropriate and current aeronautical charts, Charts Supplement; NOTAMs relative to airport, runway and taxiway closures; and other flight publications


  • With a foundation on the necessary requirements to meet certification standards, a path to completion can be envisioned


  • Advise students that this lesson will be used as a starting point for the next lesson
  • Assign study materials for the next lesson