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Diverting to a different airport

When Point A to Point B won’t work

In the cross-country phase of your flight training, planning a flight and flying a flight are the goals.
Click on image for high-res picture. Illustration by Charles Floyd

With the help of your flight instructor, you choose a destination and complete your preflight planning to ensure you have all the available information you need, your airplane has sufficient fuel for the trip, and the weather is within your tolerances. With a flight instructor by your side, that’s usually what happens.

After you’ve earned your certificate, the occasional flight may throw you a curve. Headwinds that weren’t forecast can cause you to burn more fuel than you had planned. A passenger can become airsick halfway to the destination. A mishap at your destination airport can close the only runway. Crosswinds at your destination could prove to be more than your skill level and the airplane’s design limit can handle. What to do? Find another place to land. Here are the elements of a diversion under visual flight rules.

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Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman

AOPA Technical Editor
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who is part-owner of a Cessna 182Q.

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