July 2007 Issue

High And Hot

Sugarloaf Mountain is a popular visual checkpoint for pilots here in central Maryland where Iím based, but with its peak rising just 800 feet above mostly flat farmland it barely qualifies as a mountain. After a recent tour of the Southwest in my flying clubís Cessna 182RG, I have a new appreciation for really big mountains, density altitude and the tricks they can play with our little airplanes. Also from that trip comes a tale of how a group of flatland pilots from the East coast did the planning, the navigation, the weather-checking and the aviating over unfamiliar territory and lived to do it again. Itís also a primer on how even low-time pilots flying basic, non-turbocharged airplanes can, with a little planning and lots of flexibility, tackle these and other challenges without becoming a statistic.

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