Mountain Flying

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Blue Side Down
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Mountain Flying

Post by Blue Side Down »

Hey everybody- I just thought I'd share a recent experince-

The other day I took a hop from Boundary Bay up through the Hope- Princeton valley and then over Apex to Penticton and up the lake to Kelowna. Man, that was one of the most exciting things I have done in an airplane in a long time (this is coming from an aerobatic flyer, too)- This mountain/ valley flying stuff is really something. From Kelowna I headed up to Vernon for a bit of jumping and relaxing with friends before returning back to the Bay. The scenery in BC is spectacular everywhere you look. You guys and girls who are based out here are blessed. I'm flying the friendly skies back to Ontario tonight... :roll:

Anyways, here's to mountain flying :partyman: :D
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The Dude
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Post by The Dude »

What was your alt over hope-Princeton hump? How bumpy was it? I'm asking because I'm planning on doing it with my girl and she don't like the bumps. :cry:
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SkyKing
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Post by SkyKing »

The Dude,

I've been over there and many other mountains a few hundred feet over the tops, and it's been smooth as glass; other times bumpy as hell 2000' above or more. My suggestion to you is to check the GFA's, Pireps and SIGMETS for the day. Out flow wind days...BAD! Early morning can be a good time to go (less convection), usually smooth on a clear day. When in doubt, call FSS, ask them for their opinion, they're usually pretty accurate.

Keep the rubber side down.
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The Dude
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Post by The Dude »

Thanks SkyKing. The only problem with the pireps is that you get a lot of people crying sever turbulence anytime they hit a few bumps around those hills.
Do you think a normal summer day with the usual convective activity is it worth climbing to lets say 9500 or 10500 as opposed few hundred above in a 172.
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Airtids
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Post by Airtids »

ANY amount of wind results in mechanical turbulence in the rocks. The severity depend on many factors: ruggedness of terrain, airmass stability, windspeed (greater than 30 knots, you can expect turbulence to over 6,000' over the peaks, and mountain waves that will outperform many small singles :shock: ) and size of the associated valleys. However, when done properly and safely (with a bit of education :wink: ), nothing compares to the thrill of flying in this environment, VFR or IFR, up high or down low.
For some really exciting flying, find a school with experienced instructors that offers a good Mountain Course (not a 'Rating') and learn things like minimum radius turns, one-way strips, valley-crawling techniques, and minimum visibility flying. All good knowledge to have to give yourself those extra 'outs'.
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zero
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Post by zero »

Yeah, read up on mountain waves and how to recognize them...danger, danger, stay away!!! Mountain flying can be very exhilirating and very scary on the same day so keep your eyes open and study the terrain and wx continually and you'll live to see another day. Unfortunately I gotta head for N. Ontario on Friday for the season...not so exhilirating.
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swede
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Post by swede »

One thing to remember when you are flying in the mountain valleys, especially in an ac capable of less than stellar performance. Hug the windward side of the valleys - always, the closer you get, the smoother the ride, just depends on how much jam you have for that one. It is worth taking a less than direct route to accomplish this.. 8)
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DHQ
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Post by DHQ »

Yeah, read up on mountain waves and how to recognize them...danger, danger, stay away!!!
Well, don't forget, wave does go UP as well. The -4000ft/min on the backside is a bit of a downer, but you can certainly run along quickly if you can cruise in the leading edge of the wave. Although, if you really want to learn about wave, you should get yourself into a glider.
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+VE R8
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Post by +VE R8 »

Not to worry, have done the flight from YXX to the interior many a time. The wind isn't to hard to watch for, just have to keep your eye on the FD's, know the direction (thus you know which side to fly on). If the winds up top are blowing, and you have unstable air...tighten up your belts! The WX in the rocks can and will turn on a dime! I have taken the low routes and the high (10500ft, only being 500-1000 AGL). The local FSS/FIC know what kind of info to convey when dealing with the rocks. Flying the west is the best VFR flying any Canadian pilot will ever do in Canada...I miss it as I too am in Ontario
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Blue Side Down
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Post by Blue Side Down »

I followed the Hope- Princeton highway through the valley(s) at about 2000' off the deck (bottom of the valley) the whole way there. Got into some really light shear on two occasions, but other than that it was calm. Keep an eye on the weather and go when the winds are light. The hop back was made direct Princeton VOR to Hope at 8500 and was much the same... severe calm. Just keep an eye on the winds.
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The Dude
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Post by The Dude »

Thanks for all the great feedback guys.
Airtide I have my mountain "rating", done on a perfect day. I agree with you that there is nothing more valuable than seeing the ugly stuff with an experienced instructor. Do you have any suggestions in the lower mainland?
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Airtids
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Post by Airtids »

None that actually specialise in this kind of flying, but if you're interested in a great holiday in the interior, I know just the place... :wink: Our airplane (C172 or C182) our yours!
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Shiny Side Up
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Post by Shiny Side Up »

The Dude wrote:Thanks for all the great feedback guys.
Airtide I have my mountain "rating", done on a perfect day. I agree with you that there is nothing more valuable than seeing the ugly stuff with an experienced instructor. Do you have any suggestions in the lower mainland?
Dude, if its an experienced instructor they won't go into the "ugly stuff". The Rocks have claimed enough pilots who thought the weather was "good enough".
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The Dude
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Post by The Dude »

Shiny Side Up, what I meant to say was less than perfect condition. I don't imagine people only fly in the mountains when there is no wind, clouds or turbulence.
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hz2p
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Post by hz2p »

I suppose I'm showing my age, but give me flat land, low density altitude and no frigging towers. The wx isn't always cavu.

For mountains, I want an afterburner. Or two.
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Airtids
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Post by Airtids »

Shiny Side Up wrote:
The Dude wrote:Thanks for all the great feedback guys.
Airtide I have my mountain "rating", done on a perfect day. I agree with you that there is nothing more valuable than seeing the ugly stuff with an experienced instructor. Do you have any suggestions in the lower mainland?
Dude, if its an experienced instructor they won't go into the "ugly stuff". The Rocks have claimed enough pilots who thought the weather was "good enough".
Shiney, I've got to partly disagree with you here. It is in a student's best interests to see the realities of what an operation entails. It is for this reason that I am an advocate of IFR training while IMC, of taking a student out for a SVFR circuit, or showing someone how to navigate through the valleys when the weather is less than ideal, and possibly less than what the student is comfortable with, but at no time less than what the instructor is comfortable with. When I talk about an "experienced instructor", I'm talking about someone who works in this environment on a regular basis, and KNOWS when the weather is "good enough". My intention is certainly not to denigrate any of the fine people who have fallen victim to the unique problems posed by mountain flying, but rather to show that seeing how to operate in "the ugly stuff" is exactly what a student should get from an "experienced instructor".
An "experienced instructor" is not necessarily merely someone who has lots of experience instructing, but someone who has lots of experience flying operationally under a given circumstance and is able to convey the knowledge they have acquired doing that. An "experienced instructor" would never take a student out for a 'valley crawl' exercise in minimum VFR Wx, for example, because they know that operation is suicide. They wouldn't do it with a charter passenger, they wouldn't do it with a student.
I've been doing what many would consider the most dangerous type of flying there is for the past 8 years of my career, and have scared the $hit out of myself more than once. That is my "experience" in this field. What can I therefore convey to my other pilots and my students:? What did I do wrong to place myself in that situation, what do I do now to avoid going back to that situation, and what did I do to save my bacon (provided it was something other than just dumb luck :roll: ). That is exactly what a student is paying for, and the more realistic the training can be, the better.
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ScudRunner
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Post by ScudRunner »

I think flying on the praires would be harder. I need my mountains and rivers to figure out where im going :D. you want to see mountains come up to the Yukon!! 8)
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Shiny Side Up
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Post by Shiny Side Up »

@Airtids - Valid point, I guess it just depends on what one defines "ugly stuff" to be. The best bit of learning one can really get from any mountain flying training one gets is to know what kind of weather gives you a "no-go" day when it comes to taking it through or over the Rocks. I for my part try to instill in them the tendency to err on the side of caution - and I've been justified so far. I can remember at least five different times when a student and I came to the conclusion that it wasn't a good day to go - and on each of those times someone else came to the opposite conclusion and paid for it.
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joe to go
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Post by joe to go »

If you want smooth in the interior, go early in the morning. Usually by about 10 am, convective activity starts and it gets rough. Some of the roughest days have been days with no wind
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Ralliart
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Post by Ralliart »

The same applies to almost eveywhere, winds aside, it's usually always calmest in the morning before daytime heating occurs.
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Airtids
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Post by Airtids »

Shiney,
Agreed. From my standpoint, the best experience a student can get is from going out with an instructor, and NOT completing the proposed route due to weather (even if it is the student's own personal limits that result in the 180). Not only do they get good experience at the 'Go' 'No-go' decision making process, it also gives them the benefit of seeing first-hand how important having an 'out' really is.
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Aviation- the hardest way possible to make an easy living!
"You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can't bomb it into peace!" Michael Franti- Spearhead
"Trust everyone, but cut the cards". My Grandma.

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