A question regarding the purpose of 61.93(a) and the distance limitations on a student pilot solo'ing in the local practice area.


A CFI trains a student in accordance with 61.87. They endorse a student pilot with the endorsements required in 61.87(c)(1)(2) as well as 61.87(n). The student solo's out to the local practice area and performs several maneuvers, but while doing so, goes 30nm from the airport. They return back and land at their home airport.

Did the student pilot violate 61.93(a)(1)(i), which says

Conducting a solo cross-country flight, or any flight greater than 25 nautical miles from the airport from where the flight originated

If this would be a violation, what exact requirements are necessary to meet for the student to just perform maneuvers in a practice area without a distance limitation (i.e. 25nm)? 61.93(a)(1) just says, "must meet the requirements of this section".

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to aviation.SE! I'm not totally sure what you're asking. As you noted, 61.93(a)(1) says "a student pilot must meet the requirements of this section" for solo cross countries or solo flights >25nm, and the rest of 61.93 lists those requirements. I'm not sure what piece of information is missing? $\endgroup$
    – Pondlife
    Mar 19, 2021 at 21:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ My confusion primary stems from the fact that 61.93 does not mention >25nm again, it only references "cross-country flight" (e.g. 61.93c). Are you actually performing a cross-country flight is you're just 26nm from the departure airport? I under the assumption that cross-country flights required another landing... $\endgroup$
    – Grumpapuss
    Mar 19, 2021 at 21:26
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    $\begingroup$ I could be reading too deeply into it, and "missing the forest through the trees". But it does not seem clear what requirements must be met to putz around +25 nm the departure airport. Is it 61.93 (b), (c), (d), or (e)? All the above? Just (c)? Just (d)? They all seem to address cross-country flights where a landing takes place... but none of them reiterate anything with flying +25 nm away and never landing. $\endgroup$
    – Grumpapuss
    Mar 19, 2021 at 22:19
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe get a 25/50 mile endorsement to another airport which was itself within 25 miles of the practice area, and just do a touch-and-go each way? More landing practice for a student never hurts... $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Mar 19, 2021 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ For more gray areas around cross country flights (not pertaining directly to your question) see aviation.stackexchange.com/q/55825/34686 and the many questions that show up on the "related" sidebar. (Sorry, question was poorly written, I should do an edit one of these days... ) $\endgroup$ Apr 4, 2022 at 11:03

1 Answer 1


In my opinion, I think the wording of 61.93(a)(i) is pretty clear. Anytime a student pilot flies more than 25 NM from their home airfield they will need an endorsement.

I don't know where you are based at. At my home airfield, all the practice areas are within the 25 NM radius of the airfield.

If a student pilot gets a little outside of the 25NM radius then I would tend to believe they have violated the wording of the regulations. If the student pilot is performing maneuvers in the practice area and accidentally exceeds that radius I don't believe they violated the intent of the regulation but the student pilot should be cautioned to stay within the defined radius.

This is at the heart of FAA's compliance philosophy. https://www.faa.gov/sites/faa.gov/files/about/initiatives/cp/CP_Brochure.pdf


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