Cross Country Magazine Tuesday Tip

This week's tip is from Thermal Flying by Burkhard Martens

Cross country flight planning for beginners

Pilots who want to fly XC must be able to thermal correctly, and not just in big smooth thermals, but in small rough ones triggering from close to the ground.

It's also important that you shouldn't be afraid of landing out. This is something that can be practiced. For example, on your local hill choose a different field to land in and land there.

With a paraglider this is not much of a problem, but it can be harder with a hang glider. I have met hang glider pilots who have driven their planned XC route before flying it, just to check out the out-landing possibilities.

Lastly, don't worry too much about getting home again. I never do – I know that somehow and sometime I'll get there.

The three most important rules for flying XC are:

1. The secret to success is to fly high, higher and higher still. Take every climb you can rather than flying low and fast.

2. Always fly at best glide.

3. If you find a thermal, use it and don't give up on it.

Lastly, know where you are going. Look at track logs online, talk to other pilots. Build yourself a route in your head, map and GPS. Plan your valley crossings and think about where you might get stuck or slow down.

And finally, remember to enjoy it – it's all about having fun!

Map reading

Understanding the Sky Thermal Flying is available to buy at