X-Country Flight Conundrum

I was originally going to go to Timmins for my commercial x-country flight. Turns out, from Buttonville, I am 6nm short of the 300nm requirement.

This prompted me to import all of the Canadian Airports into a database, and find out which airports are outside the 300nm radius from Buttonville:

 ident |     distance


CSR8 | 303.607071759577

CSK4 | 306.64565141515

CSJ4 | 309.204490321305

CSJ2 | 313.525788655308

CYPP | 314.986245713737

CSQ3 | 316.588960555555

CSK9 | 318.249442746549

CSC3 | 319.735132420575

CYRQ | 320.380346522095

CTE5 | 321.523074436644

(for you nerds out there, my sql query was as follows:

select ident, (point(longitude,latitude) <@> (‘-79.37,43.862222’)::point)*0.868976242 as distance from portlocation where (point(longitude,latitude) <@> (‘-79.37,43.862222’)::point)*0.868976242 >= ‘300’ order by distance limit 10;

That funky operator you see calculates the great circle distance between two points in miles. It’s a function that is available in PostgreSQL)

So after I excecuted this query, I had an idea. Why don’t I just start my flight plan for my x-country 6nm south of Buttonville? Would that satisfy the 300nm requirement from Transport Canada? Here is what the CARs has to say:

(I) 25 hours solo flight time emphasizing the improvement of general flying skills of the applicant which shall include a cross-country flight to a point of a minimum of 300 nautical mile radius from the point of departure and shall include a minimum of 3 landings at points other than that of departure; and

Does the “point of departure” need to be an ICAO ident, or can it be some point in space?

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8 thoughts on “X-Country Flight Conundrum

  1. You could fly to Oshawa or City Centre and count it as your point of departure. Timmins is a nice airport, but there is no low-altitude radar service, so you won’t be able to get flight following (Toronto Centre uses mandatory position reporting for IFR). That might be past your comfort level for a first long cross-country, especially since it’s so deserted between North Bay and Timmins. Would your other stops be North Bay and Muskoka?

  2. David,
    I echo your thoughts.
    Yes, North Bay on the way there, and Muskoka on the way back. Ideally I’d like to have flight following all the way, but as you mentioned, no radar coverage up there.
    That said, I’m investigating heading eastward towards Sherbrooke, QC.

  3. I did both Timmins and Sherbrooke out of CZBA for cross country experience, 9 years ago when I was timebuilding for my commercial license. The Sherbrooke one is good – nice little airport with a small restaurant in the terminal – practice your french!

  4. Blake, I don’t work for TC and am not a FI but I would think the only requirement for “point of departure” be that you depart(takeoff) from there. If you depart from a grass strip on some farm and fly 300nm to land at on another unregistered grass strip I would think that’s okay. I suspect just overflying a point isn’t what they had in mind but a touch in go at Oshawa would be fine.

  5. Yes, the point of departure must be an airfield of some description. Departing TZ or OO would be an easy fix, but then, who’s really checking?
    I would never have allowed my students to use flight following on any of their x countries, even for private. Navigation will clearly not be an issue, and if you are worried about contacting someone in case of an emergency, FSS would be just as good, if not better, outside of radar coverage (they may have DF, and they certainly have more time to devote to solely to you). There is a large chance that they would just terminate you at some point along a route that long anyways, despite radar coverage.
    You should consider flying into the US, this gives you some different exposure, and looks good in the logbook. Go to Dayton, and check out the aviation museum, and fly back, that’s my recommendation.
    Of course if I am contradicting you FI, or school policies, ignore me :)

  6. Joe,
    Thanks for the comments. I’m not comfortable going into the US… yet. I’d rather do that after my long x-country.
    There are plenty of places in the states that I’d love to go, one of which you mentioned.

  7. Don’t just make it a touch and go though.
    You must have proof that you did the 300NM so bring along the logbook and get it stamped.
    I’ve heard to Transport double checking the distance on some suspicious airports.
    Also be sure to get the 1 stop on each way. If you don’t well – you’ll have to do it again. (unfortunately that happened to me)
    I did Guelph, Collingwood, Sudbury Timmins then return at night.

  8. M,
    I always bring along my log book for stamping purposes. I would hate to have to go and doing it again because I can’t prove to TC I made the flight.
    I was also planning on returning at night to get some night x-country time in.
    Thanks for the tips everyone!

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