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.
HIGH ELEVATION PREFLIGHT PLANNING CHECKLIST
Dont 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
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
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
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.