Preparing for your PPL cross country qualifier

Now that I have completed my cross country qualifier I wanted to write a post that would help anybody who is coming up to theirs and wanted some advice on preparing for your cross country qualifier.
en route gloucester
The most important thing you can do when coming up to your cross country qualifier flight is prepare the best you can. I will go through the best ways to do this with you.

  1. Fly the route with your instructor – My instructor did the flight with me the lesson before I did it for real, which luckily for me was just one day before. This helps you get familiar with the route and to practice the joins at the airfield. The runway at the first aerodrome changed and the second aerodrome had terrible weather and I couldn’t land, but it helped me to just be there and see the area.
  2. Fly the route on google maps – Look out for key features, know what you are supposed to see and when. Look at the approach to the airport, see what it is located between!
  3. Plan well – Double check your headings, make sure your wind corrections are on track, make sure you plan the best route, get all the frequencies for the people you have to talk to. Also make sure you put all information you need on your plog and make sure you have the airfield plates to hand. Call up and ask for the current runway and plan your join but remember this may have changed so be prepared to change last minute.
    Make sure that you study the airfield plate instructions, you need to know if you are heading to an ATC controlled airport or Radio. Will you need to contact approach before being passed of to tower? Is there ground control?
  4. Chair fly the route – Sit down in a chair with your map and ‘fly’ the route. Practice your radio calls, revise your eta, get your join right in your head etc. It really does help and being confident on the radio will reduce your workload.
  5. Fly your heading accurately- Make sure you keep on track and fly your heading! Do all your en route checks and set an area on EACH leg where you can work out how many miles of track you are and correct for it. Use your watch to time your legs and at the half way point give yourself a revised ETA. Also don’t forget your FREDA checks (Fuel, Radio, Engine T’s & P’s and Carb Heat, D&G and Compass and Altimeter).
  6. Get a good nights sleep – This will be a long day with a lot of flying, you need to make sure that you are well rested the night before so you can be fully alert.
  7. Take something quick to eat and some water – You do not want to be 2500ft up in the sky and dehydrated or hungry so have some supplies with you. A banana is the perfect food for some quick energy.
  8. Dress appropriately – You can always turn the heat on once you are up there but you can not take your clothes of when you are strapped in! It’s better to be cold and turn the heat on then to be hot and try to use the cabin air!
  9. Enjoy it and have faith – You only get to do this once. Your instructor wouldn’t send you up in the aircraft to fly across the country if he wasn’t sure you could do it. At this point you will have a few solo flights under your belt. I had two solo navigations and 3 dual navigations before embarking on mine, which when you think about it, isn’t a lot.

Best of luck!


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2 thoughts on “Preparing for your PPL cross country qualifier”

    • Thank you Jose, I am sure you will be doing yours in no time at all, please keep me updated as I would love to hear about it!


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