Beginning XC Session 3 – 123 mile Zig-Zag Task

Session 3– 123 mile Zig-Zag Task (3 hours):


Lesson Plan:

Objective: practice cross-country navigation and decision-making, “Plan A/B/C/D”, “3/30/3/30″ multitasking.

Discussion Topics:

  • Efficient cross-country flying
  • Terrain management


  • Plan A, B, C, D….
  • Doug Jacobs “3/30/3/30″ task management philosophy
  • Introduce:
  • Terrain management – know your ‘outs’
  • Flying efficiently

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)
  • Awareness of terrain issues, and management options (where are the ‘outs’), especially on final glide.

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 Sessions 1 and 2.  Review “Plan A/B/C/D” and Doug Jacobs’ “3/30/3/30″ mnemonic.  Review the basic cross-country strategy of going straight and only stopping in good thermals. Introduce the idea of ‘terrain management’ in XC flying.  Reiterate the need to keep adequate landing options in range at all times, especially on final glide.

Flatland 123 mile ZigZag Task (2 hours)

The 123 mile ZigZag task is set in the Slovenia scenery, as it is included with the initial Condor installation. The task starts out at Murska Sobota as usual, but ends up at  Novo Mesto instead.  The last leg of the task is mostly downwind, but over hilly terrain where landing options are distinctly reduced compared to the first two session’s tasks.  This gives the instructor the opportunity to challenge the student to keep safe landing options in range, while continuing to fly efficiently. The flight is planned for about two hours, which allows about 30 minutes for post-flight debrief.


Other Notes:

The finish airport is hidden behind higher ground for almost the entire final glide.  This can (and should!) induce some uneasiness in the student, as landing options straight ahead on final glide are poor.  The instructor should challenge the student to ‘think outside the box’ on final glide regarding landing options should the final glide go bad on them (hint – look left of course – south).

One ‘ghost’ flight has been provided in the ‘Flight Files’ ZIP file.  This was flown by an experienced XC pilot to provide a performance measurement yardstick.  The IGC file is also provided for SeeYou analysis if desired.

See Also:



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