Beginning XC Session 2 – 90 mile Triangle (3 Hours)

Lesson Plan:

Objective: Introduce fundamentals of cross-country navigation and decision-making, “Plan A/B/C/D”, Doug Jacobs’ “3/30/3/30″ mnemonic.

Discussion Topics:

  • Plan A, B, C, D….
  • Doug Jacobs “3/30/3/30″ task management philosophy


  • Cross-country flying concepts
  • Cross-country safety considerations


  • Plan A, B, C, D….
  • 3sec/30sec/3min/30min

Completion Standards:

  • Ability to thermal with attention to pitch and bank angle control using the glareshield
  • Ability to generate and verbalize Plan A/B/C… including landing options
  • Ability to assess and verbalize down-course conditions and final glide situation (3/30/3/30)

Required Resources:

  • Slovenia Scenery (available by default)
  • Plane Pack 1 (required for Discus 2 glider)

Condor Settings:

  • Water ballast: None
  • C/G Bias: -1.6″

Lesson Files:

Pre-brief (30 minutes)

Address any questions/issues from Session 1.  Review the “Plan A/B/C/D” philosophy, and introduce Doug Jacobs’ “3/30/3/30″ mnemonic.  Review the basic cross-country strategy of going straight and only stopping in good thermals.

Flatland 90-mile Triangle (2 hours)

The 90 mile triangle task is set in the Slovenia scenery, as it is included with the initial Condor installation. This area is almost completely flat, with just a few low hills to make it visually interesting. The idea for this task is to continue exposing the student to XC flying, and to introduce the need to have a Plan B/C/D… (including landing options) and Doug Jacobs’ ‘3/30/3/30’ multitasking philosophy. The weather is set up so the first leg is downwind and passes near some (very mild) high ground.  This gives the instructor the opportunity to point out the need to incorporate the poorer landing options associated with the high ground into ‘Plan A/B/C/D’ and also to introduce the idea of arriving at a downwind turnpoint high.  The flight is planned for about two hours, which allows about 30 minutes for post-flight debrief.


Other Notes:

If the student was experiencing significant difficulty with basic thermalling skills in Session 1, it may be worthwhile to do a webcam thermalling demo before the start of this flight, as a thermalling technique review.  Also, as before, don’t be shy about recommending that the student use ‘thermal helpers’ (the ‘H’ key by default).

The second leg of the task is a crosswind leg over some mild high ground, challenging the student to come up with Plan A/B/C/D that accommodates the less inviting landing terrain.

Encourage the student to think ahead, especially on leg 2.  The student is typically ‘drinking through a fire hose’ during this session, so will occasionally need some prompting to access screen 3 to find out how long it will be to the next turnpoint, what the final glide situation is for that turnpoint and for the entire task, etc.  It has been my experience that the student is invariably surprised when the task final glide is achieved, usually somewhere on leg 2 or early on the last leg.

Two ‘ghost’ flights have been provided in the ‘Flight Files’ ZIP file.  These were flown by experienced XC pilots to provide a performance measurement yardstick.  IGC files are also provided for SeeYou analysis if desired.

See Also:



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