How To Fly Across The Country

As I mentioned in the previous post about having to repair the blog I was surprised to bump into one of this blog’s readers in Souix Falls, South Dakota. Apparently he was going to fly from Camarillo, California up into Michigan and when he was talking with his instructor this blog was mentioned as a resource. (He was also flying the same plane, a Diamondstar, and that might have influenced the decision to point him this way. Maybe there’s another blog that is “Crisscrossing the Country in Your Cirrus.”)

This is a sobering amount of responsibility. I do not believe that flying little planes is unsafe, but I also know, from experience, that taking on a long distance destination as your goal can put you up against a lot of constraints, weather, and variables that you probably won’t face if you are just hanging around your home airfield and heading out for the occasional hundred dollar burger when the weather is good. (I do that nearly once a week, so I certainly understand the attraction.)

So how do I approach this flight year after year? If I could send a missive back in time to myself in 2007 (the first year I made the crossing with my brother) what suggestions would I make? I wrote one post about how we do it, back in April 2008. I’ve split this later stab at it into five pieces.

Things have changed since my first trip, of course, and they will change again by the time someone is trying to make use of this post. Please do your own research, talk to a lot of people and do not use this blog entry as your only resource for a long distance flight in a little plane. It is really unlikely that your circumstances overlap enough with mine for my advice to be more than a coin flip. All advice is autobiographical to begin with, and since my plane, mission and skill set have remained rather static I have not picked up information applicable across a wide range of conditions: this mostly just applies to me. Adjust accordingly for fit.

I felt a pilot would want to know: What to Pack, to Solve the Biggest Problem First, to Remember They are Fortunate, to Have Some Basic Rules, and The Steps I Took Each Day.

About Colin Summers

I am an architect, programmer, private pilot, husband and father. A couple of those I am good at.
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