XC below 3,000 AGL

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Spinwmts
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XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by Spinwmts » Tue May 22, 2018 9:37 am

Hi all, I'd like other pilots advice on the following:

The other day I was on a short XC with some pretty bad TB (shocker in the spring) at the cruising altitude I had picked which was 5,500 ASL. However, I found that at 2500 AGL the sailing was much smoother. So with only 50 NM to go, regular calls on 126.7 and checking the VNC to ensure obstacle clearance, I decided to continue at this relatively low cruising altitude .

So I'm just wondering what your thoughts are about cruising on a XC at the lower altitudes than 3,000 AGL where the hemispheric rule does not apply? My major concern is traffic avoidance as the rule is not in effect so traffic can be coming and going at all direction.
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by Cessna 180 » Tue May 22, 2018 9:48 am

At my previous gig, we did 1000nm in a day at 300agl or lower. You'll be okay at that altitude. There's no obstacles save for mountains and rising terrain at 2500agl. Keep your eyes open for traffic. Radio calls and cruising altitude orders aren't going to save you from that anyways.
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Zaibatsu
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by Zaibatsu » Tue May 22, 2018 9:52 am

Perfectly fine. I used to do even thousands below IFR safe altitudes

Just don’t make a position report or you’ll have puppy mill pendants telling you that you’re at the wrong altitude (even though cruising orders don’t apply below 3000 AGL).
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SR22
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by SR22 » Tue May 22, 2018 10:34 am

In those circumstances I'll often fly at 2,300 or 2,800 to avoid those that feel they have to be at 2,500
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Skyhunter
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by Skyhunter » Tue May 22, 2018 10:56 am

Flew from Kingston to Moose Jaw at 250' once. Climbed to circuit Altitude to land in YAM and YQT for gas. Look outside and don't hit shit.
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by lownslow » Tue May 22, 2018 11:16 am

Apart from the risk of hitting stuff (minimal if you use your eyeballs) the other thing about a low cruising altitude is that it will restrict your options if the engine quits. Don’t get me wrong, I often go places at 500agl or less, just be aware of that before you do it yourself.
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by PilotDAR » Tue May 22, 2018 11:23 am

I've flown my second plane more than 500 hours, and on several thousand mile XC's. I've only had it once to 5000 feet in all those years.

To best avoid traffic, watch where you're going! In an airport environment, listen lots, and broadcast at the required positions. Asking someone to report on 126.7 because you think that they could be in conflict with you ties up radio time, preventing the communications 126.7 is intended for. I get bored listening to all the location chatter on 126.7, so I don't have that frequency tuned, unless I need to call FS, or it's otherwise required. I just watch where I'm going. Flight Service once told me that "VFR" stands for visual flight rules, not vocal flight rules.
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Schooner69A
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by Schooner69A » Tue May 22, 2018 12:21 pm

"...not vocal flight rules..."

I like that. I think I'll add that to my snarky response to the "conflicting traffic..." mutts.
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Chris M
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by Chris M » Tue May 22, 2018 12:38 pm

SR22 wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 10:34 am
In those circumstances I'll often fly at 2,300 or 2,800 to avoid those that feel they have to be at 2,500
Likewise. People love even 500's for some reason so I usually aim right between them when I'm flying at lower altitudes unless I have a reason otherwise.
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youhavecontrol
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by youhavecontrol » Tue May 22, 2018 1:35 pm

It's fine and a lot of fun as long as you know the risks:
-less options/time during emergency
-more difficult to navigate visually
-greater risk of bird strikes
-noise complaints (depending on where you live)
-obstacle clearance (obviously)
-poor nav aid/radar/radio reception at times (especially emergencies)

Also, remember to pay attention to the rules regarding overflying other aerodromes, parks, farms and wildlife sanctuaries.
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by Heliian » Tue May 22, 2018 2:43 pm

Aside from not ploughing through zones at the wrong altitude, watch out for us low level people in helicopters and float planes. We live down low.
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Spinwmts
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by Spinwmts » Tue May 22, 2018 3:13 pm

Thanks e1 for the input and perspective. I agree keep those eyes open is rule one (regardless of altitude)... So much more to see at the low altitudes as well.
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by 7ECA » Tue May 22, 2018 3:18 pm

Skyhunter wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 10:56 am
Look outside and don't hit shit.
Good advice for any altitude.

As an aside, you're often safe in the Lower Mainland flying in the "devil's triangle" between Blunder Bay - Schitt Meadows - Abbyford, if you fly at 2,500'. Lots of schools have scared their students about the dangers of busting terminal airspace, so they seem to mostly fly lower than 2,500. :roll:
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by gwagen » Tue May 22, 2018 7:20 pm

7ECA wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 3:18 pm
Skyhunter wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 10:56 am
Look outside and don't hit shit.
Good advice for any altitude.

As an aside, you're often safe in the Lower Mainland flying in the "devil's triangle" between Blunder Bay - Schitt Meadows - Stabbotsford, if you fly at 2,500'. Lots of schools have scared their students about the dangers of busting terminal airspace, so they seem to mostly fly lower than 2,500. :roll:
fixed it for you^^^^^
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by oldtimer » Tue May 22, 2018 7:30 pm

Once did Empress Alberta to the Messina NY border crossing south of Ottawa @ 100 ft. and 110 knots in a Cheyenne and it was a hoot. Did it in two legs. Empress to Marathon on day one then high level to Ottawa for the night. Next day from the Messina border to Marathon. Our company was chartered by a pipeline builder to fly the pipeline route so they could bid on a new line being considered. Had a video camera pointed out a side window. Only problem was when we busted through the Southport ( Portage La Prairie) control zone without clearance but when we advised them we were following the pipeline, they were OK with that because an Aztec used to fly the route on a regular basis. My co-pilot had a problem wrapping his tongue around Petawawa but they cleared us through at our low altitude. That was all good until my co-pilot noticed the howitzers all lined up on the right side of a field so then I pointed out the targets the howitzers were pointed at on the left side. We, by the way, informed TC and they were OK with this one time only flight because we had a definite useful purpose.
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by JasonE » Tue May 22, 2018 7:33 pm

I often fly a J3 below 3000 feet cross country! Sometimes without a radio even :) It depends on the machine, and circumstance. Yesterday I flew a Comanche cruising at 8500 feet.
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by Cessna 180 » Thu May 24, 2018 10:56 am

oldtimer wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 7:30 pm
Once did Empress Alberta to the Messina NY border crossing south of Ottawa @ 100 ft. and 110 knots in a Cheyenne and it was a hoot. Did it in two legs. Empress to Marathon on day one then high level to Ottawa for the night. Next day from the Messina border to Marathon. Our company was chartered by a pipeline builder to fly the pipeline route so they could bid on a new line being considered. Had a video camera pointed out a side window. Only problem was when we busted through the Southport ( Portage La Prairie) control zone without clearance but when we advised them we were following the pipeline, they were OK with that because an Aztec used to fly the route on a regular basis. My co-pilot had a problem wrapping his tongue around Petawawa but they cleared us through at our low altitude. That was all good until my co-pilot noticed the howitzers all lined up on the right side of a field so then I pointed out the targets the howitzers were pointed at on the left side. We, by the way, informed TC and they were OK with this one time only flight because we had a definite useful purpose.
hmm seems like the exact same pipeline I used to fly... the aztec was what the pipeline builder used to own before they contracted the inspections :D.
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by Spinwmts » Fri May 25, 2018 10:29 am

Just Curious for these low level XC if you did file a flt plan, would you a give them an alt = 1000 agl and would they give you shit for using such a low altitude?
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by Spokes » Fri May 25, 2018 10:33 am

Give altitude as VFR.
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Spinwmts
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by Spinwmts » Fri May 25, 2018 11:54 am

Spokes wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 10:33 am
Give altitude as VFR.
Thanks, just learned something :)
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by Skyhunter » Fri May 25, 2018 12:02 pm

I also used to just put "low level." Back when FSS stations were still at a lot of airports in Canada and you filed with the FSS operator on duty there in person, once put low leve/M 0.95 on a flight plan from Saskatoon to Cold Lake. He tried to tell me I couldn't do that. After a little "polite" discussion it was filed as I requested.
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by Cessna 180 » Fri May 25, 2018 9:31 pm

Spinwmts wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 10:29 am
Just Curious for these low level XC if you did file a flt plan, would you a give them an alt = 1000 agl and would they give you shit for using such a low altitude?
i never filed flight plans (company flight following), but you can just put "VFR" in the altitude block. when talking to control towers/fss, i would start my radio call as cessna 172 Gxxx, low level pipeline inspection.
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Zangolas
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Re: XC below 3,000 AGL

Post by Zangolas » Sat May 26, 2018 5:14 pm

Its also getting to that time of year when all the spray planes start flying at low levels in the prairies.
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