Every pilot loves good Cross Country flight. It’s not only relaxing, but it’s also challenging and gives you a great experience of achievement, especially when going with the plan.
If you are planning to go on a long-distance cross-country flight, then you must go through this post. It will give you proper guidance to make your journey more smooth and adventurous.
Plan your way
You should consider the following things when planning the route that you would love to fly.
- Airspace– Look for the way around airports, busy flight paths, or restricted flight places. Find the way other than their path.
- Distance– It is essential to figure out the accurate distance to have the required amount of fuel for the flight. If you are planning for a long-distance flight, make sure you look for a fuel stop.
- Fuel burn– You must be knowledgeable about the amount of fuel burn per hour of the flight.
- Speed– Set up your average rate so that you can calculate the time for reaching your destination.
- Landing options– Not every place is suitable for landing. Always be prepared with the landing option in your way.
- Weather– keep yourself aware of the temperature throughout your flight. It’s necessary to check out the wind speed and wind direction so that you can enjoy a safe and smooth flight experience.
There is a free app tool called RunwayHD for your route planning. The app saves time when planning your route for a flight. You can also check out the sites like Airmap and FreeMapTools for calculating and checking distances and airspaces. The post is written by supposing that you use the RunwayHD app.
- Airspace– With RunwayHD, it is easy to check the airspaces and to get to know the way around it. You have to set up your route points and drag them around to adjust according to your path. Altitude setting is necessary when going for flying. Set the altitude between your waypoints. Also, check out the maximum or minimum height of the airspace, as it may happen that you fly under or over it instead of going in your way around.
- Distance– Second thing to make sure of is the distance you want to fly. RunwayHD app helps in distance calculation, and it will tell you the farness of a nautical map by going through your route map.
By setting the amount of fuel burn per hour and the average speed, the app provides you the exact time required to complete the flight journey. But this app does not measure the wind speed; therefore, your speed and fuel burn may show variations.
- Landing options- When going for a paramotor flight, the engine can quit anytime. That’s why you should be prepared with the landing option all the way to your flight. With the help of satellite view on RunwayHD, you can make sure that you are not going unsafe and over the built-up areas or water or busy roads.
- Weather– You can plan this part on the day of flight, as weather forecasting would be more reliable on the same day of flying. Check out the wind speed predictions by the apps like Windfinder. However, it’s best to not rely entirely on these as they are not always 100% correct. Nobody can predict whether it will be the battle against your flight or a suitable and adjustable path to the destination.
Before landing, check out the wind speed and direction with the help of an anemometer or a compass; if you see that the wind forecasting is wrong, it’s necessary to change and adjust the route. It can be done while also flying if you observe that you are not moving as fast as you scheduled.
Paramotor cross-country flights usually require fuel stops, and these need planning.Using Google Maps, one can easily find fuel stations present on your way. You can either refuel at the fuel station or can look for an area to take- off that is closer to the fuel station.
You can also land at other Pilots take off-field if they are present on your planned route. Several small airstrips welcome the paramotorists. To be on the safe side, first call them to make sure it’s favorable to take off.
If you plan to fly 2- stroke paramotor, be sure to carry some oil with you to mix it at the fuel station. God forbid if your paramotor stops in the midway, here is what you can do.
When you plan your route, it is necessary to check the NOTAMs. For this, either use your usual method or use the RunwayHD app. The app has updated NOTAM information; with a simple click to the NOTAM tab, you can easily open it on the way to your journey.
It’s good to check NOTAMs when you plan the route and the NOTAM notification suddenly pops up; it’s better to click and check them before launch.
Things to carry on cross country flight-
- Fuel check mirror- For fuel burn prediction, don’t trust on guesswork or fuel meter. Many things affect fuel consumption, so it is suggested to always look for it visually. For many paramotors, it’s impossible to check the fuel tank; therefore, carrying a fuel check mirror is a wiser option.
- Altimeter- Before going on a flight, you must have a planned altitude, and maybe you have to go through over restricted airspaces, so for it, an altimeter is essential. Phone apps altimeter are more correct, like micro alti.
- Flight suits- Many of us love flying in shorts and tees, especially during summer days. But when it comes to flying, even the hottest days become chilly at higher altitudes. It is recommended to wear a flight suit and at least a pair of gloves.
- Oil- Take small packets or pots with the proper quantity of oil to mix on each fuel stop.
- Airspace maps or apps- Phone apps are with accurate information. Although we have mentioned to you the best apps, you can check out other apps also. If you are not fond of phone apps, you can quickly go with airspace charts for your smooth and safe flight route.
- Emergency contact- Be prepared for emergencies like engine failure. Discuss your flight plan route with someone trustworthy, also ask them to be available with their phone on. If you have to do an emergency landing, it is preferable to land closer to the roadside.
- Wind Bags- take your Windbag with you always, even if you have planned to land back on the same field. In case of emergency landing, you will have to walk a long way along with Kit, but with went back, it would be much easier to walk long.
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Final checking of equipments-
Since you will fly for a long time in the air, it is necessary that you entirely do your pre-flight check. Carefully check every nut and bolt before launching and inspect the wings properly. Also, check the maillots and lines.
Few more things to note!
- Take some tools- You can quickly fix some basic things that can lead you to end your flight. As you will not be able to carry many tools, carry accurate sized spanners, Allen keys, screwdrivers, cable ties for netting repair etc
- Low flying- When flying low, be careful because power lines are hardly visible; it is essential to do a reconnaissance of the landing area before dropping down at a low level.
- Headwind- If you observe that your lower altitude speed is slow, opt for changing your altitude height. Increasing the altitude will result in improving your speed. To stay on the schedule plan and minimize the amount of fuel burnt, it is essential to find the lowest headwind path.
- Daylight- Set your timings to be on the ground before half an hour to sunset. This will help you to find a preferable launching area.
- Ground track- To correct the disturbance in the waypoint caused due to the heading of the crosswind, you should choose an appropriate point from a distance at the other checkpoint. Then make sure to keep your wing bit into the air, crabbing slightly to keep yourself on your track.
Get ready for your first Cross Country paramotor flight
Since you have collected lots of knowledge for paramotoring, you are prepared for your first XC flight, but it is suggested that you better start with a short paramotor flight of approx. 60 miles. Plan the route, choose different waypoints, and try to fulfill the route scheme.
You can easily navigate on a paramotor because the speed is slow and there is lots of time available to do it, but you may get lost without adequate planning or maps.
Additionally, you must know the effect of conditions and speed of wind on fuel burn. Plan your routes smartly and wisely. Do not hurry up when planning your flight route.
Apply everything you have learned from the above post and enjoy the unique and adventurous sense of achievement.