October 2001 Issue

Repelling Terrain

Rising terrain is a problem in the mountains, but it can cause a mountain of trouble in unlikely places, too

There are large parts of this country where the terrain can impede your climb-out after takeoff. Sometimes it can even be a factor during en route climbs.

It takes just a quick glance through the NTSB database to find dozens of accidents in which the aircraft was unable to outclimb rising terrain. Those accidents reveal a number of common factors involved with this type of accident, in addition to the rising terrain. High density altitude carries much of the blame, to be sure, but so does restricted maneuvering area, adverse winds, heavy aircraft weights and relatively low power-to-weight ratios.

When most people think of rising terrain, they picture mountain peaks that rise nearly 1...

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