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Aug/Sept 2000

Table of Contents
Green River, UT
Flying to Seldom Used Airports
Planning Makes a Difference
Dream Plane
The Spartan Executive
The $100 Hamburger
The Flight Deck Restaurant, North Las Vegas, NV
Back To Basics
Flying in the High Country
Hangar Flying:
High Field Departures
SWAV News Update

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SW Aviator Magazine
3909 Central NE
Albuquerque, NM 87108
Phone: 505.256.7031
Fax: 505.256.3172
Planning for a High Field Elevation Departure
by Jim Van Namee

Every year as summer turns to fall, we hear about the aircraft that have become victims of the mountains. Many of these accidents could be avoided if more care were taken on the ground. Flying out of high altitude airports is not in itself inherently dangerous. However, some additional knowledge, experience and preflight planning are necessary to make these flights uneventful.
Below is a brief checklist of items that I find useful to take into consideration when planning a flight from a high elevation airport.


Don’t Refuel Until Just Prior to Departure

Determine Pressure Altitude (PA)

Determine Density Altitude (DA)

Determine Obstructions and Rising Terrain in Vicinity

Determine Runway Length and Slope
Departure Airport
Destination Airport

Determine Weight & Balance (W&B)
Passengers; Baggage; Water; etc.
Fuel = 6#/gal. & Water = 8#/gal.

Determine Aircraft Performance
Takeoff over a 50’ Obstacle and Landing Distance
Vx & Vy After T/O at Current DA
Vx & Vy to Clear Obstructions at Their DA q Add a "Fudge Factor"

Recompute W&B as Necessary
Leave Behind Whatever it Takes to Lighten A/C, or;
Wait Until Conditions Allow For Safe Flight

Recompute Aircraft Performance as Necessary
Add a "Fudge Factor"

Fuel Aircraft Accordingly – Supervise the Refueling

Determine Weather & Winds (FSS @ 1-800-992-7433)
At Departure Airport
Over Obstructions
En-route; Destination; Alternate

Consider Downhill T/O if Appropriate
Lean Mixture For Maximum Power During Engine Run-up
Review T/O, Vx & Vy Speeds
If Not Within 75% of T/O Speed at Runway Halfway Point – Abort

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The material in this publication is for advisory information only and should not be relied upon for navigation, maintenance or flight techniques. SW Regional Publishing, Inc. and the staff neither assume any responsibilty for the accuracy of this publication's content nor any liability arising out of it. Fly safe.