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Cross Country Flying Considerations

Planning Your Cross-Country Flight

Check out the video above to see a quick example of how you would do your initial planning for a VFR Cross-Country Flight on a VFR sectional chart.


  • Does the airport have lighting and a beacon? Is the lighting pilot-controlled?
  • Is there lighting surrounding the airport?
  • Does the airport have AWOS or ASOS? (Automatic weather reporting)
  • Is the airport controlled or uncontrolled? Is there fuel on the field? Is the tower part-time?
  • Are there VORs that can be used en-route for navigation?
  • What type of airspace is being crossed? Will the weather minimums be met?
  • What are the runway lengths of the departure, arrival, and alternate airports?
  • If flying at night, what is well illuminated? What points would serve as good checkpoints?

Talking to ATC

If you’re still a little unsure of how or what exactly to say to ATC when asking for Flight Following, like you might want to do on cross-country flights, check out the video below to hear 5 ways you can call up approach control!

When calling Air Traffic Control, remember:
  • Who you are calling (Ex: Tampa Approach)
  • Who you are (Ex: Cherokee 9907W)
  • Where you are (Ex: One five miles south of Sarasota International)
  • What you want to do (Ex: Inbound for landing with golf – “golf” lets them know you have the latest weather at the airport.)
Here’s what you should know about RAIM as it pertains to the private pilot quizzes:
  • RAIM = Receiver Autonomous Integrity Monitoring (it automatically monitors if you are getting a good GPS signal or not).
  • 3 satellites gives you a 2d fix, 4  satellites gives you a 3d fix, 5 satellites gives you RAIM
  • If you lose the 5th satellite, you loose RAIM
  • Losing RAIM means the GPS in the plane cannot verify the integrity of the GPS signal, so you cannot be sure it is giving you accurate positional information.