December 2000 Issue

Molehill or Mountain?

USAF C-130 crashes into the Rockies after virtually ignoring pre-takeoff planning

Telluride, Colo. Missoula, Mont. Kalispell, Mont. Jackson, Wyo. Aspen, Colo. Hayden, Colo. Sun Valley, Idaho. Welcome to the high and clean air of the Rockies.

Even if you haven’t been to Jackson, you’ve undoubtedly seen the pictures of the Tetons. Yes, they are very real, very gorgeous – and very high. The valley that houses the airport at Jackson is surrounded by high mountains that quickly reach over 13,000 feet. During a daylight approach in good weather, Jackson is gorgeous.

However, add night or bad weather and a place like Jackson is enough to make your blood chill. Back when I flew air ambulance, a co-captain friend of mine said he would hold his breath on the departures out...

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