Cross-Country Mindset

  1. Soar on good days.
  2. Stay on course. Spend more time on good map reading and orientation/GPS skills. Use your compass/Navigation computer and correct for wind conditions.
  3. Follow the energy but keep the course in mind.
  4. Know how to final glide.
  5. When the going is good, get going.
  6. When the going is bad, get high, or go home.

Cost of Mistakes

In a high performance aircraft with 4 Knot thermals you can travel at 80 Knots between thermals. To fly 300 km (162 nM) will require a minimum of 2 hours if no thermalling is done. If you stop every 10 nM to climb you will lose another (16 X 7.5 / 60 = 2 hrs) if you encounter the lift you want. A single mistake will add a minimum of 5 minutes if it only meant climbing slowly from 1000 to 2000'. Normally however you can count on a minimum of 20 minutes for each mistake. Assuming the best part of the day is only 5 hours then you can only make about 3 mistakes on a 300 kM flight before supperior soaring knowledge will be required to bring you home. This also assumes no wind conditions.

A 500 kM (270 nM) flight will require a minimum of 3.5 hours to complete. If you stop every 10 nM to climb you will lose another (27 X 7.5 / 60 = 3.4 hrs) if you encounter the lift you want. Already you are up to 6.9 hours to complete. This leaves very little margin for mistakes.