April 2016 Issue

Oxygen Tanks: You Need Them

Supplemental oxygen can be vital for seeing and thinking straight, even at lower altitudes.

Flight plan filed, weather briefed, plane packed, preflight complete—I was nearly ready for a 350 nm trip I fly every other month. This trip, the weather was mostly clear, but it was winter, and I would be flying at night over the mountains with only a thin crescent moon to light my path into rising terrain. I had no less than eight flashlights and a glow-in-the-dark battery holder with spare batteries just in case. My winter emergency kit, tucked behind my seat, included winter mountaineering gear, winter clothes, a stove, fuel, tent, sleeping pad and a sleeping bag good to -20 degrees. I felt prepared, even for the worst.

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