I am  the worst at picking visual checkpoints.  Every time I did my cross country flights I ended up relying on the GPS  or ForeFlight.

Where is it? I wrote on my flight plan 'where those two roads intersect.'

Where is it? I wrote on my flight plan ‘where those two roads intersect.’

In preparing for a stage check I did some research on what makes for a good visual checkpoint, and thought I’d share some of the pointers I found.

Keep in mind that I am not a CFI,  so before applying anything I share with you in your flying,  verify everything with your instructor.

I found a video addressing this topic over at MzeroA.com. According to Jason Schappert these aren’t very good check points, and of course, before watching the video I tried using all of them:

  • Cell towers
  • Private Airports
  • Small bodies of water
  • Cities

Things Jason thought were good checkpoints:

  • Airports
  • Large Roads
  • Rivers
  • Large Landscape Changes

I’d also like to add prisons to the list,  they are on sectionals, and have some easily identified features. Think guard towers, and razor wire.  Also, with approximately 2,220,300 people in prison in the U.S.  (I know, this isn’t the appropriate forum for politcs)  there has to  be prisons everywhere when flying in the states.

Something Jason doesn’t mention in the video is the distance between checkpoints.  My primary instructor suggested every 15nm, but if you shorten that down to 7-10, it may be a bit easier to go from point to point.

That’s pretty much the gist of the video,  but it just wouldn’t feel right not giving Jason that backlink.  So go check out the video here.

What distance between checkpoints do you suggest? Share with us any other checkpoint ideas, especially if you’re in the New York Sectional area.

Fly safe!

-Tony