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…So you want to go Cross-Country? John H. Campbell Mile High Gliding, Inc. Winter Haven, FL & Boulder, CO X/C Motivations Of course you do … it’s high prestige Base skill at all SSA contests Required task for all FAI badges Element of most SSA and FAI records

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so you want to go cross country

…So you want to go Cross-Country?

John H. Campbell

Mile High Gliding, Inc.

Winter Haven, FL & Boulder, CO

x c motivations
X/C Motivations

Of course you do… it’s high prestige

  • Base skill at all SSA contests
  • Required task for all FAI badges
  • Element of most SSA and FAI records
  • The stuff of books, magazines, legends

Besides… it’s pleasurable & fulfilling

  • Adds horizontal scenic variety to flights
  • Offers a structured challenge
  • Beats the “odds” impressively

But… it’s not for everyone

  • Just staying up is enjoyable for most
  • Few FBOs permit it in their equipment
  • Few clubs too...
  • What a hassle if I land out

And… it takes extra training

  • Accuracy landings, field selection
  • Consistent centering, glide calculation
  • Course selection, Navigation…
x c definitions
X/C Definitions

What is a glider Cross-Country?

  • 25 nautical miles?
  • Getting out of glide range of home?
  • Landing out?
  • Earning an FAI badge leg?

What is it NOT !?

  • Heading out over the National Forest
  • Flying off to where the lift “has to be”
  • Getting out of glide range of some field
  • Always flying on course like an airplane …

FAA glider training standards


PVT Certificate or CFI X/C Endorsement


PTS V, VI, VIII, X. FAR 61.105

Sim. Off-field ldgs., Thermalling, Speed-to-fly, Navigation, Airspace, X/C techniques


PTS V, VI, VIII, X. FAR 61.107. ditto

Actual X/C Experience

-- none – dual or solo!

(but we like it that way… GLIDER pilots

do not all HAVE to be X/C SOARERS)

glider x c hazards it can be tougher than airplane x c
Glider X/C Hazards(it can be tougher than airplane X/C)

Off-field Landings (the chances are 50%!...)

I’MAIR (Resignation, No-DO, Late-DO). WSSSSW, “7S”, SCOWL. Altimeter? Should I do it like at home? Is that mowed hay?...

Getting Lost

I’m too busy staying up. The viewing height keeps changing. The Cu’s are never on course. Ded reckoning is dead.

Getting Slow

No point heading out on a 300k until you can do 30mph on a 100k. Try a “tiny triangle”! Twice! Shift gears. Zig Zag to speed up.

Head in the Cockpit (GPS!)

We finally have electronic NAVaids, too. How to use them safest?

learning resources

Reference Books

  • Cross-Country Soaring (Reichmann)
  • Soaring Across Country (Scull)
  • Soaring Cross-Country (Byars)
  • Glider Pilot’s Handbook (Welch)
  • Soaring Flight Manual (SSA)
  • American Soaring Handbook (Johnson)
  • Knauff’s “Basics” series
  • Wander’s “Made Easy” series

Training Courses

Sign up for one now, do instead of read!

Practical Manuals

  • Cross-Country Handbook, SSF [SSA]
  • Teaching Cross-Country, FFVV [K&G]

CD-ROM or WWW download

  • Beginning Cross-Country, Knauff [PPT]
  • Thermalling, Transition to single-seaters,

& other titles from Cumulus Courseware

Flight Simulators

  • SFS 4
  • MS FS 4

Nothing builds judgment like experience,

even virtual (and it’s 100% safe!)

old ssa program


  • Complete ABC program
  • 15 solo glider hours, 30 flights, 10 single-seater
  • 2 solo flights of at least 2 hours
  • 3 witnessed solo spot landings
  • 2 dual simulated off-field landings
  • 80% grade on written exam

Tom Knauff

Gene Hammond

Inspired by existing

BGA & FFVV programs

“halfway” from C to Silver C

new ssf program


  • SSA Instructor (CFI-G, 100 hrs, apply)
  • SSA Bronze, FAI Silver Badges
  • 25 hours glider X/C of over 25 nm
  • Complete a Recognized Instructor Course, or
  • Participate at a Recognized Student Camp, or
  • Be Appointed by SSA Chief Master Instructor

Certificate, pin & patch. Qualification for 2 years.

Renewal by training 2 students

Eligible for SSA dues reimbursement

Dean Carswell

Burt Compton

Billy Singleton

Frank Reid

mile high gliding s program
Mile High Gliding’s Program

Evening 1.

Introduction; course plan and objectives

Cross-Country philosophy, an overview


Off-field landings

Evening 2.

Soaring Weather – Finding & using the information

Thermal Soaring: locating, centering, leaving


Thermal Structures, Cloud Reading

Evening 3.

Speed To Fly theory: best glide


Speed To Fly theory: best speed


Speed To Fly theory: selecting & beating MacCready

Prepared by

Chris Rollings,

past Senior National Coach,

British Gliding Association

Maker of World Champions!

mile high gliding s program9
Mile High Gliding’s Program

Evening 4.

Variometer systems

Total Energy, Netto


Averagers, Speed Directors, NAV devices

Climb Optimization: go/no-go, sampling

Evening 5.

Task selection

Course Optimization: random-field, streets

Convergences, Sea Breezes, Ridge, Wave


Height Optimization: go/no-go, height bands

Evening 6.

Navigation: Pilotage, GPS


Glide Estimation: next lift, final glide: thumb, JSW, NAV

for copies of this Syllabus

posted for download


Controlled Airspace & FARs

SSA, FAA, Badge Systems



mile high gliding s program10
Mile High Gliding’s Program

To fly our equipment “Cross-Country”, we require

[ Accompaniment by a staff Cross-Country authorized CFI-G (Master X/C SSAI), or ]

  • Private FAA Glider Certificate minimum (or equivalent exp. for Juniors )
  • SSA Bronze Badge awarded
  • Cross-Country Course [10 hr ground school, 3 hr dual flight experience ]
  • Off-field landing motorglider (or airplane) course [ 1 hr field selection practice ]
  • MHG CFI-G Endorsement for Cross-Country privileges
  • Furthermore…
  • Only in certain gliders (those with trailers!)
  • Without this X/C endorsement, renters are expected to always stay within glide distance of the field, never requiring lift to achieve the return.
the training is half the fun duo photos at winter haven grob 103c at boulder
The Training is half the fun!Duo Photos at Winter Haven, Grob 103C at Boulder

Sarah Steinberg,

World Champion.

Dale Pizzo, 3 Diamonds

Course Week Feb. 18-25 nearly full. Feb. 11-18 and March available