Watch. Experience. Learn.

 Experience long-range IFR and VFR flying like never before with a left seat view of this journey from New Jersey to Southern California that both teaches and inspires.

Watch this:  Mark Robidoux introduces Real World Coast to Coast with Keith Smith.

Use the toggle in the lower right corner of the player toggle.png to expand to full screen. 

"Real World" - Experience Is The Best Teacher

The goal of Real World Coast to Coast is to place you in the left seat and let you experience every aspect of these challenging cross-country flights first-hand, from the pilot's perspective. 

Follow Keith Smith (bio below) through seven flights that are captured on HD video cameras. You'll also watch him plan each flight with a detailed briefing (using ForeFlight) and then debrief after landing.

As you fly along, Keith talks you through each task and procedure as he completes it. You'll hear all of his ATC interactions so you'll know the proper phraseology to use on both IFR and VFR flights. There are no shortcuts! You follow the flights in near real time from engine start to engine shutdown.

Sample video:  The very first leg was quite a handful: Heavy rain, turbulence and poor radio reception in IMC really max out the workload.

The view over Keith's shoulder reveals terrific insights. You see exactly what he sees and hear exactly what he hears. Watching Keith sweat it out on these flights gives you a window into procedures, techniques, ATC interactions and critical decision-making you can't get any other way. 

You'll find yourself glued to the screen as the scenarios unfold, trying to anticipate what will happen next. Keith makes mistakes and not every flight goes as planned—because it's real, unscripted flying! That's what makes this program unique.

Here's What You'll Experience:

  • A series of challenging IFR and VFR flights
  • Long-range, cross-country flight planning
  • ATC Communications - IFR and VFR
  • A variety of reroutes and diversions
  • High-altitude mountain crossings
  • Radio communication problems in IMC
  • IFR legs through complex NY and LA airspace
  • VFR over the Grand Canyon at dusk
  • A high-density-altitude landing and departure
  • Fun at LAX: STAR in, SID out (and a flat tire)
  • Heavy use of ForeFlight, Stratus and ADS-B
  • Turbulence from winds, mountains, and heavy rain
  • Various "special flight rules area" transitions
  • Fatigue, hunger, stress, and potential hypoxia
  • Breathtaking scenery across the USA
  • And much more!

Meet Keith - The Guy You'll Be Flying With

keith3.pngThe Real World Coast to Coast program was developed by the PilotWorkshops team and led by Keith Smith. Keith is a highly accomplished instrument pilot and founder and developer of PilotEdge, the award-winning network that provides real (human) ATC interactions for pilots flying and training on flight simulators. 

Keith also starred in our previous Real World programs (Real World IFR and Real World VFR), so we brought him back and gave him a new set of flying challenges—this time on a flight from his home in New Jersey to Southern California.

In addition to creating the PilotEdge network, Keith has personally logged more than 9000 hours on his network providing virtual ATC services to pilots across thousands of simulated instrument flights. It's fair to say that Keith's passion for all things ATC borders on an obsession. With such a passion for ATC interaction and years of working the other side of the picture on the virtual scopes, Keith provides a focus on radio interactions and airspace awareness not usually seen in the piston General Aviation world. 

Keith flys his Lancair 360 in the Real World Coast to Coast flight videos. He has logged over 700 hours in this airplane and routinely flies it for long-range travel in a wide range of weather conditions at airports ranging from 1800 ft non-towered strips to JFK, LAX, Atlanta Hartsfield, DFW and everything in between.

Keith is not an instructor, instead, he gives you the perspective of a highly accomplished pilot flying in the system. His focus is on managing these challenging flights from a PIC perspective (single-pilot) in the left seat rather than providing flight instruction from the right seat. This further enhances the "Real-World" feel of these videos.

Sample video:  Land at LAX between a 777 and a 737, with an Airbus just off your left side. 

You'll See It All: Briefings—Flights—Debriefs

If you've wanted to use your airplane for long-range business or personal travel but lack the experience, this program gives you the confidence needed to take your flying to the next level.

Briefings: Keith conducts a detailed briefing before every flight—and we caught them all on camera, including a complete screen-capture of his iPad running ForeFlight! This is one of the most instructional aspects of the entire program. Watch him brief all critical aspects of the flights—the weather, route, winds, NOTAMS, airports, airspace and more. By watching him brief this many consecutive flights, you'll learn to look at an overall flight and quickly drill into the areas that require a more detailed investigation. This kind of briefing efficiency will help you feel comfortable tackling longer trips.


Flights: The flights were recorded in real-time using two HD video cameras mounted on Keith's head and chest to show his view outside and on the instruments. We also captured his iPad throughout the entire flight so you can see what Keith is seeing in ForeFlight in the air.

This gives you the ultimate "first-person" feel as you are riding along with him, hearing all of his ATC communications as well as his commentary on what's happening throughout the flight. Having only two cameras allowed Keith to make the trip alone, without a camera crew...adding to the real-world feel.


Debriefs: Keith debriefs every flight on camera, providing a self-assessment of his performance and an occasional confessional when things don't go as planned. These debriefs are shot immediately after the flightsat the airport, FBO, hotel room or on the ramp. This is a great way for Keith to recap the critical teaching points and lessons learned on each flight.

debrief.pngKeith debriefs an epic flight with the mountains of Taos, NM in the background.

Trip Details and Flight Information


Leg #1: "Lincoln Park, NJ to Columbia, SC"


From/To: N07-KCAE
Nautical Miles:
Briefing: 43 min
Flight Video: 2 hrs, 5 min
Debriefing: 19 min


  • Tough start to the trip - IFR flight, long stretches of IMC
  • IFR flight plan timed out prior to takeoff
  • Friendly controller re-entered flight plan for us
  • Multiple deviations and re-routes for weather
  • Constant negotiations for lower altitudes due to strong headwinds
  • Radio issues due to low altitude, precip and electrical issues
  • Relays through other aircraft to communicate with ATC
  • Heavy use of ADS-B information to ensure best outcome
  • Last minute ILS approach with pilot fatigue becoming a factor
  • Exhaustion from hand flying this difficult 3+ hour IFR flight

Leg #2: "Columbia, SC to Manila, AR"


Nautical Miles:
Briefing: 18 min
Flight Video: 25 min
Debriefing: 7 min


  • A nice easy VFR leg in good weather; flight following
  • Intersection departure
  • Class C operations out of KCAE
  • Winds over mountain range create a turbulence concern
  • A brief shot of severe turbulence
  • Multiple climbs hunting for a smoother ride
  • Navigation over special use airspace (alert area)
  • Extensive use of pilotage to back up GPS
  • Non-towered operations into KMXA

Leg #3: "Manila, AR to Stillwater, OK"


Nautical Miles:
Briefing: 18 min
Flight Video: 1 hr, 19 min
Debriefing: 7 min


  • VFR flight in good weather; flight following
  • Conga line of arrivals into nearby airport
  • Radio congestion - can't get a word in
  • Interesting radio transmissions heard on guard - 121.5
  • Constant vigilance for landing options over hostile terrain
  • Massive brush fire requires decision, then diversion
  • Fatigue compounded by hunger and dehydration
  • Negotiations with tower at Stillwater
  • Low pass at dusk followed by precision pattern 

Leg #4: "Stillwater, OK to Taos, NM"


Nautical Miles:
Briefing: 23 min
Flight Video: 1 hr, 32 min
Debriefing: 7 min


  • Shortened runway at TAOS requiring detailed performance planning
  • High-density-altitude takeoff simulation at SWO
  • Disagreement between another pilot and ATC; learning ensues
  • Working with ATC to get ride reports for mountain passes
  • Detailed use of profile view in ForeFlight for terrain clearance
  • A climb to 13,000+ over hostile terrain
  • An iPad overheat (no ForeFlight, Stratus) during critical period
  • Self-diagnosis for warning signs of hypoxia
  • High-density-altitude landing at Taos
  • Stunning visuals on this leg! 

Leg #5: "Taos, NM to Las Vegas, NV"


Nautical Miles:
Briefing: 14 min
Flight Video: 1 hr, 37 min
Debriefing: 19 min


  • Engine runup (for leaning) results in seriously hot engine 
  • High-density-altitude takeoff from Taos
  • Grand Canyon special flight rules area
  • More stunning visuals
  • Potential diversion to Grand Canyon Airport in fading daylight
  • Contingency planning throughout due to night over terrain
  • Bravo clearance with negotiated higher altitude for safety 
  • Terrain avoidance with synthetic vision
  • Flat tire for preceding aircraft causes last minute runway change
  • Confusion on taxi... "It's not over until you're at the ramp."

Leg #6: "Las Vegas, NV to Los Angeles, CA"


Nautical Miles:
Briefing: 28 min
Flight Video: 56 min
Debriefing: 9 min


  • Complex IFR route planning through busy airspace
  • Detailed IFR planning pays off
  • STAR into LAX
  • Complex combination of vectors and procedures
  • Rapid-fire ATC instructions - this frequency is hopping!
  • Top of descent planning to meet crossing restrictions
  • ATC referencing ILS-related fixes on a visual approach
  • High speed arrival at LAX, 180 knots assigned
  • Epic taxi at LAX - three runway crossings!
  • Flat tire shuts down taxiway for two hours

Leg #7: "Los Angeles, CA to Carlsbad, CA"


Nautical Miles:
Briefing: 10 min
Flight Video: 1 hr, 6 min
Debriefing: 11 min


  • Final leg on this amazing journey!
  • IFR departure; pilot-nav SID with vector
  • Delay due to flat tire, forces brief and file from airplane
  • SoCal TEC routes, including a re-route on the ground
  • Route along Pacific coast - more stunning visuals 
  • LOC/DME approach for practice (glideslope is out on the ILS)
  • IMC due to sun glare off the Pacific - only in California!
  • Negotiate a circle-to-land Runway 6 to avoid landing into sun
  • Short approach due to opposite-direction aircraft

Comments from an IFR Pilot:


Real World Coast to Coast Q&A

Q: How do I access the Real World Coast to Coast videos?
A: Your videos are available online via a secure, password-protected website. You can watch the videos on any deviceWindows PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android. The website has a simple menu structure so you can easily find the segment you want to watch and start it with the click of a button. 

Q: Will my online access ever expire?
A: No. Once you register your login credentials, they will never expire. You will always have access to the program. (We still provide online access to programs we initially offered in 2006.) You'll also get the USB drive for backup.

Q: Can I download these files onto my iPad?
A: Yes. You can move the video files from the USB drive to your iPad using your computer and iTunes. We provide step-by-step directions. Of course, you can view the videos online on your iPad with an Internet connection, so downloading them is optional.

Q: Can I access the videos from more than one computer or device?
A: Yes. With your login info, you can access the site from any device as often as you want. 


Free Bonus: USB Flash Drive

Order Real World Coast to Coast today and in addition to instant online access, you'll also receive a USB flash drive containing all the video files in MP4 format at no additional cost. These files can be easily viewed on any computer or laptop, and they can be imported into an iPad so you can view them even if you are not online. 


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If you aren't completely satisfied, we'll give you a full refund. No questions asked!

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WINGS Approved!

You can earn 6 WINGS credits for completing Real World Coast to Coast: 2 basic, 2 advanced and 2 master. A simple online form for requesting credit is included on the website.

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- Instant online access as soon as you order
- Unlimited access; does not expire
- Bonus: USB flash drive with all videos (MP4)
- Free shipping
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