Posted: 9/16/2009 23:53:55
I read the forum today about routes across the rockies...very informational to all those who contributed.
When is the best time of year to make this trip weather wise?
Posted: 9/18/2009 10:08:41
I live and fly in the Rocky Mountains, flying out of Helena, MT (KHLN), and I fly year around in my Rans S6S E-LSA. I am a long time but low time private pilot with no instrument rating now flying under the sport pilot rule. I came to Montana from the flat lands of eastern South Dakota and I must admit some apprehension when I first started flying the mountains. Fact is, I still have plenty to go around. I now call it "caution". 10 and 12 thousand foot mountains can be intimidating. The flight instructor who brought me current, Neil Salmi, introduced me to mountain flying. Then a great confidence builder was visiting with and reading a book authored by Sparky Imeson. Sparky is not with us anymore but his book "Mountain Flying Bible and Flight Operations Handbook" is still available. I personally do not believe that there is a "best time of the year", just different times of the year that require unique awareness. If you are going to do the Rockies low and slow, which is my favorite way, read Sparky's book and spend an some time with an instructor who has in air experience in mountain flying. You won't always find one in your home town if you live in the flat lands. Once you fly the Rockies without white knuckles, you will always come back.
Posted: 9/18/2009 14:47:51
Thanks for your input. I fly a C172 in california here and I want to do a true cross country to the east coast. I have talked to several who have done it, and just looking for more info. I have heard that Fall is good because the winds are overall pretty calm, is there validity to this?
Posted: 9/18/2009 17:05:03
There is validity to that. Fall is my favorite time. Not too hot, not too cold and density altitude is less of an issue. Wish I could follow you across country. Would be the trip of a lifetime.
Posted: 9/18/2009 22:38:02
If I were to leave tommorow then I would follow the I-40 through AZ/NM, but I have heard that following the I-80 Is a fun route. I would like to do both, one on the way out and one back home. My inspiration for this trip comes from two guys who did it last year... see www.flyboylogbook.com Check out the logbook tab!!!!
Posted: 9/21/2009 06:44:53
I would suggest that the routing is somewhat season dependent. I have flown in the intermountain west for a number of years and would prefer early fall or early-to-mid spring. For the next month or so the diciduous trees will be bring out their fall colors along the I-80 route and it is beautiful to behold. I strongly suggest checking on the weather/winds frequently. If the winds are forcast for over 25 kts in the mountains you don't belong there in a small plane. I also agree that reading Sparky's book first, is a real good suggestion. You might also consider, when doing your flight planning, on checking out the FBO comments on the AirNav web site. It gives you a feel for what the airport looks like, runway info, fuel prices, and how friendly and helpfull the FBO staff is (or isn't).
If you start wondering if you should be doing a go-around,you should.
Posted: 1/1/2010 15:13:15
There is an excellent book called Flight of Passage about two young brothers (17 amd 15) that rebuilt a Piper Cub over a winter and then flew it from Pennsylvania to California and back. In the book they describe their flight over the Quadalupe Pass in early July. A harrowing excerpt and the book is an excellent read.
Posted: 1/19/2010 09:59:27
I've read "Flight of Passage", a great story and there is another one in the same line called "Flight of the Gin Fizz" by Henry Kisor. He flew a C-150 from the Chicago area out to California.
While I haven't piloted a plane on that long trip, I was a crew member back in the early 70's and flew in a C-119G from Milwaukee to the "boneyard" in Tuscon, AZ. We generally flew cross countries below ten thousand, since we were not pressurized and Air Force regs required all crew members to be on OXY above ten thousand. The day we flew that mission the weather gave us a stiff headwind, about 35kts out of the west. We flew southwest and stopped at Webb AFB in El Paso for fuel. Then across New Mexico and on to Davis-Monthan AFB in AZ. We did don the oxygen masks shortly after departing El Paso and flew to western New Mexico before descending. What I remember most about that flight was following another aircraft with a smoking engine across Arizona while we skimmed above the mountain tops. The flight was in late November 1970, and it took nine hours to complete, ending in a GCA approach in CAVU conditions. The aircraft commander wanted to see if he could still do one! This was my last flight in a C-119, we flew back to Milwaukee in 4.5 hours in a C-130 at twenty thousand plus and no masks!
Long cross-countries are great adventures, hope you enjoy yours!