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Back Country Flying Ground School

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03) Mountain Flying Differences

Length: 50 minutesAuthor: Jeffrey FoucheComplexity: Standard

Air is thin – affects all a/c performance
Air is moving – up, down, sideways
Maneuvering in close proximity to terrain.
Wind Changes
Maneuvering during arrival and departure may be required to reach a safe cruise with adequate margin.

04) Visualizing Lift

Length: 21 minutesAuthor: Jeffrey FoucheComplexity: Standard

Wind will flow like water does in many ways – to see it, ask “how would water flow over this terrain?

Surface Wind >20kts = caution
Mountaintop Wind >30kts, consider delay or reschedule
Wind velocity may double or more over ridges, through passes, or in deep steep valleys due to Venturi effect
Cloud shadows are not trustworthy for estimation of wind direction at low altitude
Strong winds blowing perpendicular across a ridge can create lift even above the ridge top

05) Mountain Waves

Length: 7 minutesAuthor: Jeffrey FoucheComplexity: Standard

Visualization – lenticular and rotor clouds
Clouds are a good guide, dry waves require visualization

07) Flying Canyons

Length: 14 minutesAuthor: Jeffrey FoucheComplexity: Standard

Flying Canyons
Fly the sides, not the middle.
Avoid shadows.
A narrow canyon is one that is narrower than twice the turn radius.
Canyon Turn
Fly down, not up.

08) Route Planning

Length: 40 minutesAuthor: Jeffrey FoucheComplexity: Standard

12-Hour Weather Surface Prog Chart

Route selection, considering weather, terrain, a/c performance and equipment, oxygen requirements…
Kinds of mountain enroute cruise
Climb to 2000 above the nearest or highest terrain, set sail. Or;
Through and between valleys and mountains
Compute ground speed in-flight. Guideline: for a climb leg, add 1 minute for each 1000 ft of climb.
File and maintain a flight plan – best free insurance.

09) Airplane Operations

Length: 13 minutesAuthor: Jeffrey FoucheComplexity: Standard

Long Descents are done power-on, at least initially
Thermal Shock
Detuning – operation outside normal limits (rapid throttle movements, high engine speed with low MP, excess speed or power)
Lean based on density altitude
Adjust for takeoff and landing

11) Aircraft Preparation

Length: 13 minutesAuthor: Jeffrey FoucheComplexity: Standard

Airworthiness review of owner-flown aircraft
Risk Assessment (PAVE checklist)
Fuel for planned flight plus 50%
Check the weather! Marginal VFR a no-go
Study charts
Carry survival gear
File a flight plan