Mountain Flying Tips

Mountain Flying Tips

Mountain Technique
1. Canyon & Drainage Routes
-Fly the windward side, never up the middle of a canyon.
-Scan for opposite direction traffic.

2. Ridge/Pass Crossing
-Terrain Clearance: at least 1,000 feet AGL.
-Always identify your “escape” paths as early as possible.
-Approach at 45 degrees; exit at 90 degrees.

Descent And Landing Procedures
1. Know the pattern or approach track for the destination field.
2. Determine a safe go-around trang for the destination. Remember, as go-around may not be possible!
3. Fly a stabilized approach at appropriate IAS.
4. Plan the touchdown at 1,0000feet from the start of useable runway.
5. CLOSE YOUR FLIGHT FLIGHT PLAN(& give a final PIREP when you do!)

Calculating Density Altitude
Step 1-Find the pressure altitude by locating the altimeter setting of 29.70in. Hg. and noting the pressure altitude conversion factor. The conversion factor is either added or subtracted from the airport elevation as indicated. In this case, the factor is 205 and should be added. The pressure altitude is 2,750 feet(2,545+205=2,750).
Step 2-Locate the outside air temperature at 70 degrees F at the bottom of the chart and draw a vertical line until it intersects with the pressure altitude of 2,750 feet. (The pressure altitude of 2,750 feet is located about three fourths up between the 2,000 and 3,000-foot lines.)
Step 3-From where the temperature and pressure altitude lines intersect, draw a straight line to the left to determine the density altitude. The density altitude is 4,000 feet.


Important Note:  Take the first step: Attend a comprehensive mountain flying ground school before attempting a mountain cross-country flight!

Preflight Planning
General * Make sure both you and your aircraft are mountain flight candidates.
1.Plan for DAY-ONLY VFR flying.
2.Plan for ETA’s NO LATER than 1300L to mountain destinations.
Preflight Weather Briefing
-Cloud Height and Ceilings must be known for mountain top conditions: 15 miles flight visibility as a minimum.
-Winds aloft: Maximum of 30 knots at 6,000/9,000/12,000 MSL.
-Temperature: surface temps for density altitude calculation; temps aloft for route performance.

Route Planning
-Plan accurate routes with magnetic course and wind correction angle calculated.
-Know elevations and plan for at least 1000 AGL.

Weight and Balance
Preflight weight and balance with takeoff weight no more than 90% of FAA maximum gross weight in the pilot’s operating handbook(POH).

Fuel on Board
Fuel on = planned burn out plus 1 hour or more reserve.

File a VFR Flight Plan
-Only AFTER all limitations are met. If not, cancel, select and alternate route or rent a car.
-This is your “Insurance Policy” Keep it up to date, with postion reports.
Survival Kit: Have a survival kit and warm clothing for all occupants.

Performance Planning
Lean Mixture, as appropriate(EGT~Fuel Flow)
1.Set for taxi/run-up
2.Set for takeoff power
3.Set for Cruise
4.Set for approach

Takeoff Ground Roll/Rate of climb
-Calculated  for existing temperature. (See POH & Density altitude chart)
-Expect excessive ground roll and sub-standard Rate of Climb.
-Monitor VSI and airspeed during all climbs and descents.
-Know the ground track, for a safe departure. Check with FBO/CFI/other pilots.

En-route procedures

Communication Plan
-ACTIVATE THE VFR FLIGHT PLAN, make frequent position reports and PIREPS.
-Know FSS and other comm. frequencies for the entire route.
On all route Segments:
-Fly planned altitude.
-Maintain magnetic buildings, corrected for drift, for each route segment.

San Marcos, TX

1837 Airport Dr. San Marcos, TX 78666
Phone: (858)279-4359

San Diego, CA

8525 Gibbs Dr. Suite 105 San Diego, CA 92123
Phone: (858)279-4359