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Question about requirements for VFR x-country

Hobiehawker

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In FAR part 91-103 in reads:

Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. This information must include --

What is considered all available information?

I am now just getting recurrent in GA aircraft and its been a couple decades. In regards to the information I have in the airplane besides Operating manual information, I recall my FI teaching me at a minimum the Sectional chart will meet the intent of this FAR.

Not that this is the best way to go, but would you agree?

Thanks for all input.
 

Amish RakeFight

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http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/tex...v8&view=text&node=14:2.0.1.3.10.2.4.2&idno=14

§ 91.103 Preflight action.

Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. This information must include—

(a) For a flight under IFR or a flight not in the vicinity of an airport, weather reports and forecasts, fuel requirements, alternatives available if the planned flight cannot be completed, and any known traffic delays of which the pilot in command has been advised by ATC;

(b) For any flight, runway lengths at airports of intended use, and the following takeoff and landing distance information:

(1) For civil aircraft for which an approved Airplane or Rotorcraft Flight Manual containing takeoff and landing distance data is required, the takeoff and landing distance data contained therein; and

(2) For civil aircraft other than those specified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section, other reliable information appropriate to the aircraft, relating to aircraft performance under expected values of airport elevation and runway slope, aircraft gross weight, and wind and temperature.
 

Hobiehawker

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Thanks for replying Amish,

I was hoping for an interpretation of the rule in regards to maybe more specific on navigation and airport information is "required".

I guess to cut to the chase. If one took off with only a sectional, would that suffice?

Besides the performance and briefing issues.
 

Amish RakeFight

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For a VFR cross country, cutting to the chase I would have at a minimum these items to CYA:

VFR Chart (current)

A weather briefing (online or cell)

AFD

TOLD

POH

VFR flight plan filed.


Ohterwise, I think the FAA reg I cited interprets what that information must include. The items listed above should be more than sufficient to complete a legal cross country as per the items outlined in the reg.

If anything goes wrong, the weather briefing (maybe get an update enroute) and a filed flight plan will at a minimum indicate that some level of planning was performed.
 

ALIMBO

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Does the plane have a GPS? Yes... dude your set. No... Sectional and your set go have some fun.
 

SSDD

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Just a small correction: A VFR flight plan, while a good idea, is not required.
 

Amish RakeFight

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Just a small correction: A VFR flight plan, while a good idea, is not required.

Correct. Not required, but essential in the event you're to prove in some form that flight planning was performed and calculated as per the regs. Hence, filing it provides a record of such activity. Navigation, fuel, weather and alternates are all taken into account if you complete and file the plan.
 

ALIMBO

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I was hoping you would sense the sarcasm lol.
 

Hobiehawker

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I actually appreciate the GPS remark because is produced the "have a current chart with you" remark.

In regards to airport information there is enough on a sectional chart to get a minimal amount of information to make a safe landing.

Would that be adequate to fulfill the FAR?

Thanks again.
 

Andy Neill

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Hobiehawker,

Has anything happened since chart publication (like a shortening of runway) that would be found only in NOTAMS?
 

Amish RakeFight

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I was hoping for an interpretation of the rule in regards to maybe more specific on navigation and airport information is "required".

Well, you don't want a judge in a courtroom deciding whether a sectional was enough.

91.103 clearly spells out what the "required information" is. It does not spell out where to acquire this information, but it is required for flights under IFR or not in the vicinity of an airport, which is what your cross country is basically consisting of.

The key pharase is "all available information" which is to include the items listed under that section. The items I've listed in an earlier post will be sufficient for that purpose.

I don't know why you want to go on a cross country after being away from GA for decades as you've stated. Personally, your instructor should go along with you and perhaps review your planning from top to bottom. You seem very bent on flying around with only a chart in hand.

Like I said before, file a flight plan and most of the elements required by the reg. will have been complied with. Things like navigation, fuel, alternates, weather, and a calculation of the landing distances for the atmospheric conditions for your landing weight and temperature will have all been accouinted for.

A weather briefing is a MUST and should logically precede the flight planning and filing.

This whole process can be done in minutes manually or in seconds with an electronic flight planning program. There are free ones out there online and ones you can pay for which obviously have more bells and whistles. This type of program would be perfect as it calculates your particular model with the current condtions for your route and provides a printout of all the pertinent weather and NOTAMS. It can all be filed online as well.

Just set up an account (providing model and PIC profile), print out the flight plan and take your sectional along with you. This might be the quickest and easiest way.
 

Amish RakeFight

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When I was an instructor, I got used to the training area and became very complacent with some facets of instructing. One day I was in a rush to ride along on some kids x-ctry and quickly glanced at the destination forecast, which was excellent VFR. Fine. Our field was well above VFR minimums and the flight was maybe 55 miles away. Short flight I've taken MANY times with a direct route.

Long story short, my complacency lead me to takeoff with this student and end up in hard IFR enroute. Apparently, it was CAVU at the departure and destination, yet we encountered an area of hard IFR. To say the least, I was quite surprised to see a wall of clouds as we were halfway to our destination. With no IFR charts at at all, we had to turn back. I felt bad for the student as he needed that dual x-ctry, so we headed back to base and I debriefed him as to why we didnt complete the mission. It was a good learning experience for both of us.

My mistake was to assume that since destination and departure were clear and it was a short, frequently flown flight that I didn't bother to examine a local TAF halfway along the route. My need to get off the ground caused me to skip a vital step and examine the weather enroute a little more closely which I would almost always do. This one time I didnt. Rushing due to schedule, familiarty with route, and the fallacy of attempting to extrapolate the enroute conditions based upon the departure and destination weather.

Anyway, nothing breeds success like success. Murphys Law WILL catch up to you. ALWAYS be over prepared when flying around. It's what we never expect that blindsides us when we least expect it.


GPS-

I used to fly along with this one old guy in his plane and his GPS blanked out for no reason. If I werent there, I'd have to second guess what might have happened. Old man (mid 70's) by himself in a high performance complex, trying to find his destination with the anxiety of the now useless GPS box he relied heavily on.
 

Hobiehawker

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Amish,

I appreciate your responses. I must have not been clear that I am looking for the fulfillment of the requirements of the FAR and not how I would conduct the flight.

I understand the difference between what would be the minimum and what is practical. If I was to go on a flight I would use one of the few sources in the internet go review the weather in the entire area. I would familiarize myself with the airport(s) I intended to land with airport guides and current NOTAMs.

There are sometimes however that lets say I forgot my airport guide. I have been fully briefed and performance has been determined. Can you fly to that airport without the airport guide or do you call off the trip for another day.

This just is a personal "what if" question that I found the FAR to be not so defining as I would hope.

I could be wrong but I would find that it would be legal to have just a sectional to conduct the flight and I understand that you could come up with some scenario that would make it legal but not very wise.

Thanks again.

PS. What to your acronyms AFD and TOLD stand for? Thanks
 
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SWAdude

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Hobiehawker,

I think I understand the jest of your question.

It too has been a while since I flight instructed and have been current in GA aircraft. The FAR is broad in nature. I can think of a time that I would fly from my base airport to another one within an hour and all I would take is a sectional for reference.

Now before I get jumped on take this into consideration. If I have much experience in the aircraft I'm flying do I need to do a performance problem? Probably not if conditions are and have been standard. Do I need to get a full weather briefing if the day combined with my experience is going to be more than adequate for the flight? A 172 topped off can get me there and back with half a tank to spare. In most areas, including the one I taught out of, you could get a brief enroute. Good time to get NOTAMs if you need them. If you are VFR, and going to a tower airport with ATIS, they will have them on the broadcast.

The bottom line, the sectional has all the basic information you need to do a basic VFR flight in good VFR conditions. And thats how I taught my students. Airport guides and directories are advisory only. But a great tool to have in the airplane.

Have fun, keep learning, and be careful out there.
 
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