CAT-1: Question about Mountain Passes & Flight Following

Questions and comments about the PE Pilot Training Program

CAT-1: Question about Mountain Passes & Flight Following

Postby redge » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:40 pm

I think that this exercise is best completed by flying from Océano Airport to the intersection of U.S. Route 101 and California State Route 166, and then following SR 166 and the Cuyama River to New Cuyama Airport (L88). This takes perhaps four more minutes than the two more direct routes, but in my view more than makes up for that by being significantly safer and having a lower risk of weather that is inconsistent with Visual Flight Rules. It's also pretty much impossible to get lost following U.S. Route 101, which is a six lane divided freeway, and SR 166, which is the one and only paved road, and a highway at that, that crosses Los Padres National Park. This route also sets up Santa Maria (KSMX), in the event of a problem before, or indeed after, the turn east to New Cuyama, as an alternate airport.

The route essentially comes down to flying through a mountain pass, although at an elevation high enough that one's ability to manoeuver/turn around, or deal with adverse wind, is not compromised.

Does anyone have thoughts on how high one has to fly in relation to mountains/peaks on the two sides of a mountain pass to make a request for flight following, dependant as it is on radar, sensible?

Thanks
redge
 
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Re: CAT-1: Question about Mountain Passes & Flight Following

Postby Keith Smith » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:50 am

Redge,

If you're asking about flight following as a general curiosity, I'm not sure at what altitude the real world radar coverage does or doesn't work there. However, if you're asking specifically for doing this on the CAT-1 flight...the rating specifically says not to do it. What you're talking about it covered in the CAT-5 flight.

Moderator note: I moved this to the Pilot Training Program forum since it's specifically about the CAT-1.
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Re: CAT-1: Question about Mountain Passes & Flight Following

Postby redge » Fri Jan 04, 2019 8:49 am

The question occurred to me in the context of the CAT-1 exercise and I explained my approach to that exercise as context. I asked this as a general question, thinking that there might be some people from out west, or from elsewhere but using this service, who would know the answer. If one flies general aviation aircraft in mountainous areas, this is probably pretty basic knowledge. That's OK, I can ask about this on Pilots of America or similar.
redge
 
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Re: CAT-1: Question about Mountain Passes & Flight Following

Postby Keith Smith » Fri Jan 04, 2019 12:31 pm

redge wrote:The question occurred to me in the context of the CAT-1 exercise and I explained my approach to that exercise as context. I asked this as a general question, thinking that there might be some people from out west, or from elsewhere but using this service, who would know the answer. If one flies general aviation aircraft in mountainous areas, this is probably pretty basic knowledge. That's OK, I can ask about this on Pilots of America or similar.


If it's in the general context of mountain flying, no problem. It's all going to depend on where the radar site is in proximity to your location, and the terrain in between those two points. There's no hard and fast rule that says once you're xxxx feet above the ridge that you're going to be in radar coverage. I have done a little bit of flying in mountainous terrain and noticed exactly that inconsistency. In one case I had radar coverage far lower than I thought I would get in the Rockies, and then when I was in New Hampshire and Vermont, the radar coverage cut out much sooner than I would've thought, given that I was 3000-4000ft AGL over relatively flat ground. It all depends on where the radar is.
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