FAR 61.129(a)(4)(i) Commercial Solo Long XC Requirements
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Hi,
I am preparing for the Commercial Solo Long XC flight per FAR 61.129(a)(4)(i) and I need help interpreting the requirements.  As part of the long XC, I am considering using it as an opportunity to visit relatives.  I want to ensure my flight planning and execution will meet the requirements.  Below are several scenarios I am considering.

Common to all scenarios
  1. Airport A is original point of departure and final destination
  2. Airport B is > 250nm from airport B
  3. Airport C is > 50nm from both airport A and B
  4. Total distance is > 300nm
  5. Family is at Airport B
  6. All segments of the long XC are flown solo
Scenario 1:  Baseline Plan
  • XC Flight Plan:  A-B-C-A
  • Description:  Fly the XC flight as planned.  At airport B, I meet family for a few hours.  Then I continue the XC flight as planned and return the same day.
  • Requirements:  I interpret this as meeting the requirements of FAR 61.129(a)(4)(i).
  • Logging:  I would log the flight as one entry with the note is meets the requirements of 61.129(a)(4)(i).

Scenario 2:  Overnight at B
  • XC Flight Plan:  A-B-C-A
  • Description:  Fly the XC flight as planned.  At airport B, I meet family and stay overnight.  Then the next day I continue the XC flight as planned.
  • Requirements:  I interpret this as meeting the requirements of FAR 61.129(a)(4)(i) as there are no stated requirements the XC must be on the same day and nothing states the original point of departure changes from one day to the next.
  • Logging:  I would log the flight as two entries with the note that each flight meets the requirements of 61.129(a)(4)(i).  I would indicate A was the original point of departure and there was an overnight stay at B.  The second entry I would note C is > 50nm from both A and B, and that A is the final destination.
Scenario 3:  Local Flight with Relatives at B to D
  • XC Flight Plan:  A-B-C-A
  • Local Flight Plan:  B-D-B
  • Description:  Fly the XC flight as planned.  At airport B, I meet family and take them flying locally.  The local flight involves a landing a different airport D that is < 50 nm from B.  Then I continue the XC flight as planned.
  • Requirements:  I would interpret this as meeting the requirements of FAR 61.129(a)(4)(i).  The local flight is < 50nm and does not invalidate the XC Flight Planning.
  • Logging:  I would log the trip as 3 flights.  Flight 1: A-B, Flight 2: B-D-B, and Flight 3: B-C-A.  I would note that flights 1 and 3 were flown to meet the requirements of 61.129(a)(4)(i).  I would log flight 2 as a general flight and since it's < 50nm it doesn't count as a cross country.
Scenario 4:  Local Flight with Relative at B
  • Flight Plan:  A->B->C->A
  • Local Flight Plan:  B->B
  • Description:  Fly the XC flight as planned.  At airport B, I meet family and take them flying locally.  We take off and land at airport B.  Then I continue the XC Flight as planned.
  • Requirements:  I would interpret this as meeting the requirements of FAR 61.129(a)(4)(i).  The local flight is < 50nm and does not invalidate the XC Flight Planning.
  • Logging:  I would log the trip as 3 flights.  Flight 1: A-B, Flight 2: B-B, and Flight 3: B-C-A.  I would note that flights 1 and 3 were flown to meet the requirements of 61.129(a)(4)(i).  I would log flight 2 as a general flight and since it's < 50nm it doesn't count as a cross country.

I know that Scenario 1 is the safest scenario and is my baseline plan.  Any help in interpreting these scenarios would be appreciated.  If these are questions better suited for the local FSDO, please let me know.

Thanks in advance.

Steve
3 Replies
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Thank you for you feedback.  I also contacted the local FSDO and I'm waiting to hear back.
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Hi Steve,

I agree with Ron that all 4 of your scenarios would be fine to meet the requirements of the commercial long XC (FAR 61.129(a)(4)(i)).

Scenario 1 and 2 are going to be the easiest and most straightforward.

Scenario 3 and 4 are going to be tougher and require you to be very clear in your logging. You may even want to make a note in the remarks section explaining exactly what you did.

Another thing that came to mind when reading your question, insurance and school policy. If this is your aircraft this is probably not an issue, but if this is a rental aircraft there might be. Some schools require you to submit a passenger manifest for each flight (other than straight training flights), and some do not allow the carriage of anyone other than required crew on training flights. Like I said, if it's your plane no big deal; if it's not you should verify that carrying family members in the aircraft as you propose would be allowed or even something they're insured for. Insurance is one of those things you want to have an abundance of caution on. 

I'm glad to see that you're looking at this as a fun trip where you can do some things you want to do, rather than just a requirement towards the rating that you just need to get through. That's what keeps it fun and helps keep you from burning out. Have a safe flight when you do go 👍.
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1037 Posts
These are legal questions, not Flight Standards.  There are several FAA legal interpretations on point.

https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/agc/practice_areas/regulations/Interpretations/?year=all&q=Cross-country+point+of+departure&bSubmit=Search

By my reading of those interpretations, all four of your scenarios are kosher.