Mountain Flying

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Sparky’s 10 Commandments for mountain flying

  1.  Regardless of the operation – flying over the mountains,
    flying in canyons, or flying near ridges - always remain in
    a position where you can turn to lowering terrain.
    This requires a 45-degree angle approach to the terrain.
  2.  When flying upslope terrain, do not fly beyond the
    point of no return. This is the point (approximately 500-
    feet AGL) where, if the power is reduced to idle, the airplane
    can still turn around without impacting the terrain.
  3. On a short runway, if 71 percent of the takeoff
    speed is obtained at the halfway point, the airplane
    will takeoff in the space remaining.
  4. Never enter a canyon if there is not room to turn
    around.
  5. Regardless of altitude, always fly the approach for
    landing at the normal sea-level approach indicated
    airspeed for the airplane; not slower and not faster. A 10-
    percent increase in approach speed causes a 21-percent
    increase in landing distance.
  6. Thoroughly study weather trends and conditions
    before takeoff. Delay the flight during marginal weather.
  7. Approach ridges and mountains at a 45-degree
    angle to allow an escape route if strong turbulence or downdrafts are encountered
  8. Do not thermal shock (power-off descents) or detune
    (rapid throttle movements) the engine.
  9. Prepare an emergency survival kit and keep it in the
    airplane where it is accessible.
  10. Avoid becoming complacent. Do not fly by rote,
    ignoring the warning signs of weather, terrain or wind.