CROSS-COUNTRY NAVIGATION REQUIREMENTS AND ROUTES

Private Pilot Students

The CAS 421.26 (4)(b)(ii) requires that students complete 3 hours cross-country dual training, and 5 hours cross-country solo training.1  With respect to solo cross-country flight, training must include flight along a course no less than 150 nautical miles and must include 2 full-stop landings at points other than the point of departure (this is referred to below as the long cross-country).  To make up the 5 hours cross-country requirement, Private Pilot students will also fly a series of shorter cross-country routes (these are referred to below as short cross-country).

Long Cross-country Flights

Canadian Aviation Regulation 406.55 requires that the 150 NM cross-country routes for Private Pilots be approved by Transport Canada.  In this regard, choose among the following routes that are authorized for solo private pilot cross-country training:

  • Langley Airport direct White Rock direct Chilliwack Airport (full-stop landing); Chilliwack Airport direct Hope direct Lindell (Cultus NDB) direct Pitt Lake direct Boundary Bay Airport (full-stop landing); Boundary Bay Airport direct Langley Airport (full-stop landing).
  • Langley Airport direct Chilliwack Airport (full-stop landing); Chilliwack Airport direct Boundary Bay Airport direct Hope direct Pitt Meadows Airport (full-stop landing); Pitt Meadows Airport direct Abbotsford Airport direct Langley Airport (full-stop landing).
  • Langley Airport direct White Rock direct Nanaimo Airport (full-stop landing); Nanaimo Airport direct Qualicum Beach Airport direct Sechelt-Gibson Airport  direct Pitt Meadows Airport (full-stop landing); Pitt Meadows Airport direct Langley Airport.

Requirements for flight over the Strait of Georgia

Langley FlyingSchool Flight Rules and Safety Precautions requires that the following govern solo flight over the Strait of Georgia:

  • For solo flight across the Strait of Georgia, the forecast weather minima is no cloud ceiling below 6,000’ ASL, no precipitation, and a minimum (15) miles visibility.
  • Flight altitude over the Strait of Georgia must at all times be sufficiently high to enable maximum distance glide to land with the aircraft propeller windmilling. 2
  • Life jackets must be worn by students during Strait of Georgia crossings.

Short Cross-country Flights

With respect to short cross-country solo flight, the following routes are authorized:

  • Langley Airport direct Hope Airport (full-stop landing); Hope Airport direct Chilliwack Airport (full-stop landing); Chilliwack Airport direct Langley Airport (full-stop landing).
  • Langley Airport direct White Rock direct Nanaimo Airport (full-stop landing) Nanaimo Airport direct Boundary Bay Airport direct Langley Airport (full-stop landing).
  • Langley Airport direct White Rock direct Boundary Bay Airport direct Chilliwack Airport (full-stop landing); Chilliwack Airport direct Langley Airport (full-stop landing).
  • Langley Airport direct Chilliwack Airport (full-stop landing); Chilliwack Airport direct Pitt Meadows Airport direct Langley Airport (full-stop landing).
  • Langley Airport direct Chilliwack Airport (full-stop landing); Chilliwack Airport direct Boundary Bay Airport direct Langley Airport (full-stop landing).

Recreational Pilot Students

Section 421.22 (4)(b)(i) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (Standards) requires that Recreational Pilot students complete not less than 2 hours cross-country dual training.  The routings for your flight should be arranged directly with your instructor.

Commercial Pilot Students

Canadian Aviation Regulation 421.30 (4)(1)(ii)(A) requires that Commercial Pilot Students complete an extended cross-country flight to a destination airport located not less than 300 NM from the airport of departure.  The flight must include three landings at points other than the airport of departure.  Special attention must be used to ensure the planned route for this flight does not fall short of the 300-NM requirement, as Transport Canada will reject a Commercial Pilot application on this basis.3  Here are some suggestions and comments regarding the planning of this flight:

  • Try to pair up with another Commercial Pilot Student—the idea being that you can double your distance flown and therefore double your experience.
  • Plan to fly at least half of the planned flight at night, making use of flying the airways and the radar-surveillance services (flight-following) from ATS.
  • Plan stops at airports you have not flown into before, ensure a good variety with respect to the size of the airport and the density of air traffic.
  • Anticipate that mountainous routes will be difficult to fly in the winter owing to weather; in winter the routes to the south are generally more accessible.
  • Fly across the U.S./Canada border if possible—a good experience.

References

1 The normal practice for cross-country training is for the Instructor and student to first complete a flight to a destination airport, and then for the student to then complete a solo flight to the same destination airport.

2 Here is some information regarding ditching in water (extracted from the Langley Flying School Groundschool Manual): Common sense is to wear a life jacket whenever your aircraft is beyond gliding distance from shore.  Ditching in water will create panic among already traumatized pilot and passengers as icy-cold water floods what will likely be an inverted cockpit.  The dark cabin will be full of debris, loose wires, cables, and seatbelts, making the retrieval of life jackets after ditching virtually impossible.  The key is remaining calm.  Do not release your seatbelt until you are ready to exit the cabin.  Locating the exit handle will be difficult while upside down in murky water, so locate the exit handle while still in your harness.  Even with the water pressure equalized on both sides, the door could still be difficult to open, so be prepared to push hard.  If unsuccessful, force a window by anchoring yourself firmly, pushing out against the window with both feet.  Once the door is open, never let go of the handle until you are out; should you let go, you may not be able to locate it again.  Therefore, release your seatbelt while holding the handle and pull yourself out (do not kick as someone may be behind you).  If you get stuck, do not panic; back up and turn a little, then try again.  Once you are clear of the aircraft, inflate your lifejacket (if you inflate your life jacket in the cockpit, this could impede your egress).

3 A student once completed a flight from Langley to Prince George with the idea that this route qualified for this cross-country requirement; the distance flown was just short of the 300 NM-mark, and the student had to redo the flight using Victoria Airport as the departure point.  Be sure to measure the distance carefully—Transport Canada does this.