Cross Country Special Topics


While it's important to obtain a briefing and check the weather before flying in the traffic pattern, the atmosphere and its influence on your flight become even more significant as you embark on longer cross-country odysseys.

Weather basics

Weather map basics

The weather briefing

Weather on the Web

NASA online weather tutorial

Airspace and aeronautical charts

As you begin to fly cross-country, you'll leave the familiar environs of your home airport and venture into new areas — and possibly even new types of airspace. The best way to keep up with airspace issues is by using a current chart. Although the VFR sectional chart is the de facto standard here, you do have some options, which offer a smaller or larger scale.

Aeronautical charts

Airport/Facility Directory

Content from the NACO Aeronautical Chart User's Guide

Introduction (PDF version)

VFR aeronautical chart symbols (PDF version)

Weight and balance

Although you learned some basics about weight and balance before you soloed, the subject assumes increased importance as you begin to fly cross-country. Will the weight lost as you burn fuel be accompanied by a shift in center of gravity? Your calculations will tell you.

FAA Aircraft Weight and Balance Handbook FAA-H-8083-1 (PDF version)

Avionics and instruments

Your cross-country flying might be accompanied by the introduction of new aircraft equipment, like global positioning system (GPS) navigation receivers — if not, you'll likely meet them soon. Review additional information on the topic, including downloadable GPS simulators that you can use on your personal computer to help master the operation of a new or unfamiliar GPS navigator.

Downloadable GPS simulators, documentation from manufacturers

Autopilot basics