Crossing the mountains suggestions.

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Clearwater
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Crossing the mountains suggestions.

Post by Clearwater »

We were thinking about flying the M5-210 Maule from Northern Minnesota out to Napa Valley, CA. I’ve absolutely no mountain flying experience. Any suggestions on how to do it? Other than drive.
Bruce
If I ride the wings of morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. Ps 139

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norcal64d
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Re: Crossing the mountains suggestions.

Post by norcal64d »

This is a pretty good write up for if you are crossing the mountains in Colorado, but thats pretty far south for your route. I have only been flying my Maule in the Colorado mountains for a year now but what I have seen is fly early in the morning when performance is best before any afternoon storms or turbulence comes up and don't attempt to cross mountain passes when the winds aloft around 12000ft are greater than 25kts. Keep in mind the climb gradient of your airplane at high altitude, you might only get a couple hundred feet per minute climb up high but as long as you give yourself plenty of lead time to start the climb, its enough. Also, watch the temps on a warm day at high altitude if you're climbing.

If you're doing it in pretty soon here I am in Colorado Springs, CO till the end of August with tools and such if you need anything.

Based on a quick look at your route, it looks like you could go past Jackson Hole without crossing the highest passes of the continental divide, so that would help.
https://backcountrypilot.org/knowledge- ... tal-divide

Dale Smith
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Re: Crossing the mountains suggestions.

Post by Dale Smith »

I am about 30 miles from there. If you make it out this way let me know, maybe we can hook up. There is a lot of good info out there about flying in the mountains. I agree, do it in the morning. Keep an eye on the winds aloft. don't be on a schedule where you feel the need to get somewhere by a certain time. Enjoy the adventure and where it takes you!

Hope it all works out!
No great story started with a good idea...

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andy
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Re: Crossing the mountains suggestions.

Post by andy »

In 2016 I flew my Maule from Hickory NC to McCall ID across the Rockies. I took different routes going there and returning because I wanted to do some sightseeing. When I got into the high country west of Sydney NE, I flew to Logan UT at 11,300 ft over some 10,000 ft mountains. Then I headed to Boise ID and north to McCall (KMYL). Coming back I flew north to Missoula MT - southeast to Helena MT - north of Bozeman/Yellowstone over the Crazy Mountains and then to Sheridan WY.

Depending on your engine hp, fuel delivery (carbureted vs. fuel injected) system, and weight you shouldn't have any trouble getting to 12,000 ft but I would plan for 10,000 so you don't have to worry about oxygen. There were only two places along either route where I had to fly higher than 10,000. The highest was SW of Logan UT for a short time crossing the mountains with enough clearance to avoid ridge line turbulence.

The AOPA mountain flying online course is pretty good if you're an AOPA member. Useful tips:
  1. Calculate density altitude before every takeoff. Here's a chart: https://www.maulepilot.com/densityaltitude.pdf
  2. Fly in the morning when it's cool, density altitude is lower and winds are lighter
  3. Takeoffs will be longer and climbs will be slower at higher density altitudes
  4. You may have to lean your engine to get maximum power when taking off at a density altitude above 5,000 ft
  5. Pick an abort point about halfway down the runway. If you aren't airborne by then, abort the takeoff and wait for cooler temperatures, a good headwind or a lighter load.
  6. Approach mountain ridge lines at a 45 degree angle and be ready to turn away toward lower terrain if you encounter serious turbulence or downdrafts
  7. Clear mountain ridges by 2,000 feet if possible to avoid the worst turbulence
  8. Follow roads or rivers across the mountains to avoid box canyons
  9. Don't fly through mountain passes when the wind is more than 25 kts
  10. If you fly in canyons below the ridges, slow down to canyon cruising speed with one notch of flaps, use the right side of the canyon and know how to do a minimum radius 180 degree canyon turn
  11. If you land on a one-way airstrip (with high terrain off the other end), select an abort point well before you reach the airstrip in case things aren't going well. Go-arounds are often not possible.
  12. Always have an emergency landing area selected in case your engine quits
Andy
1986 MX7-180

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Clearwater
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Re: Crossing the mountains suggestions.

Post by Clearwater »

Good backcountry article and thanks for the advice everyone,
I’m still not sure how to get from Grand Junction to Napa flying, but I think I’m going to drive this one. We have to be back on the 20th, don’t want to get stuck or feel pressured.
Thanks
If I ride the wings of morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. Ps 139

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