For many of us, the leash was broken by simply taking up a thermal to sufficient altitude that we were able to blow over the back of a 500 ft. ridge and making it safely to a landing area while not getting hit with rotor. Wow!!! I went x-c!!! How far? Subjective experience was what mattered. The actual number for me on my first one was maybe a couple of miles. For Alegra my wife, her first x-c was in a meet. When feasible, we love to take new x-c pilots with us for their first cross country flight. That way, we may even have an in the air dialog about the new landing area that they will be evaluating and vicariously experience again that first x-c flight. In practice, that rarely happens so if you don't happen to be able to attach yourself to somebody going, don't let it stop you. Just be at safe altitude and in decent conditions for the task you will set for yourself. That task is simply to go and land in a new place.
Preparation for that first x-c has presumably been done already with learning good approach and landing skills and some questioning of pilots who have flown from the site you will fly from. It pays to know in advance what pitfalls can await you in your first exodus from the fold. If you haven't talked to anybody about your proposed trip, the main concerns are "Always be within reach of an acceptable landing area" and "Stay out of controlled airspace". A third item can make life more comfortable, "Land near a road where it will be relatively easy to hitch a ride".
Always give yourself enough altitude that you will be able to reach a field that you are sure will be acceptable and have time and altitude to evaluate the field, wind direction and to set up for landing into the wind. Flying downwind, you will be surprised at the distances that you can travel and ultimately you will use that new, experience based, brain computed, flatter glide path to comfortably add miles to your flight but ---------AAS Always Anticipate Sink and don't take my word for that "flatter" downwind glide. Learn it by taking conservative stepe.
What has to be considered in the choices for landing field?
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