What are your basic mountain terrain flying considerations?

Here’s basic guidance on flying mountain terrain by Loren French, with Alpine Flight Training. He teaches an introductory mountain flying course aimed at piston-engine pilots navigating below 12,000 feet in VFR conditions.

Basic mountain flying considerations

Colorado Rocky Mountains, blue sky and scatter clouds, photo wikiWings
Colorado Rocky Mountains, blue sky and scatter clouds, photo wikiWings
  • Don’t try to out climb rising terrain
  • Climb to altitude before attempting to cross passes and ridges
  • To cross passes and ridges fly a 45 degree angle
  • Box canyons: Before entering a valley or canyon have sufficient altitude to clear the highest terrain
  • Understand your turn radius to airplane speed
  • Fly the windward side of ridges and not the downdrafts on the leeward side
  • When tracking parallel with a valley It’s usually best to fly the updraft side of the valley
  • Plan your abort landing procedures in advance

What are your basic mountain flying considerations?

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