If your desire to enjoy the splendor and beauty of a mountain range doesn’t include special footwear and climbing gear, a GA airplane may be just the ticket you need. But, as author Susan Parson points out in her article “The Zen of Mountain Flying,” the flight environment at higher elevations can be very unforgiving of poor planning.
The article points out several factors pilots need to consider when planning a mountain flight, including density altitude, winds, visibility, and the performance capabilities of your aircraft.
Parson also suggests that unless you learned to fly in the mountains or possess extensive mountain flying experience, you should consider taking a recognized mountain flying course to obtain the knowledge and skills needed to operate safely in this environment.
Done properly, mountain flying can significantly add to your repertoire of aviation skills and memorable adventures. For more on how to acquire the zen of mountain flying, see the article in the May/June 2012 issue of FAA Safety Briefing:http://www.faa.gov/news/safety_briefing/.