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Mountain Flying

Prepare to fly in New Mexico and the mountain west!

Flying in the mountains, especially the spectacular Rockies of the American West can be an exhilarating experience for any pilot. The multitude of high elevation public and private airports provide easy access to incredible historical, cultural, and recreational opportunities.

However, it can also be hazardous for those unaware of the unique variables encountered in mountain flight and the adverse effects on aircraft and pilot performance.

Truchas Peak
Accident statistics show that pilots without the skills and knowledge needed for safe flight over mountainous terrain often get themselves into situations which are beyond their ability to handle safely, often with disastrous results. The Mountain Flying Clinic was developed by the New Mexico Pilots Association to address this situation.

For mountain flying resources including a Koch Chart, Leaning Procedures, tips and other useful references, check out our library.

Mountain Flying References

All Safety & Mountain Flying Documents

NMPA Mountain Flying Clinic
Santa Fe, September 27 - 29, 2019

                REGISTER NOW for 2019

The clinic prepares students to safely execute mountain flights by walking them through scenarios involving high elevation mountain airports, mountain passes, mountain weather, and common mountain flight situations. These scenarios illustrate the factors affecting the safety of mountain flight and the proper way to flight plan in order to mitigate these risks.

The clinic fully prepares pilots for the optional mountain cross-country flights in the “high country,” counts as the ground portion of a biennial flight review, qualifies for FAA WINGs credits, and qualifies you for a discount with many insurers.

The eight-hour ground school is taught by skilled New Mexico flight instructors who live and fly in the mountains for both business and recreation. Over the years, the clinic has evolved into one of the premier safety training courses of its kind. 


Ground School

The ground school covers the basics necessary for safe flight in mountainous areas, including:

• Mountain weather
• Flight planning
• Communications
• Density altitude
• High altitude aircraft and pilot performance
• Mountain airport arrivals and departures
• Enroute navigation
• Risk management and survival
• Proper leaning procedures

         NMPA Mountain Flying Clinic 2016

Mountain Cross Country Flight

Though not a required part of the clinic, the optional cross-country flights are an excellent introduction to flying in the high country. The first route takes you and a highly experienced mountain flying CFI through six mountain passes and up to six mountain airports (all above 6000’ MSL with paved runways). Flights provide practical reinforcement of the ground school lessons.

The Saturday route takes 3 to 4 hours to complete, depending on the aircraft. Completion of both the ground school and cross-country flight will fulfill the phase requirements of the FAA's WINGs program and can also meet the requirements for a Flight Review under Part 61.56.

Pilots successfully completing the first optional flight will be offered the option of a second, customized “roll your own” flight. Potential destinations in the southern and central Rockies include Leadville, Raton, Pagosa Springs, Trinidad, Creede, Telluride, Aspen, Durango, Kremmling, and/or Eagle. Pre-flight briefings generally start around 0700, and, depending on weather, debriefs are completed around noon.

For questions contact Dave Jesurun.

PIREP - Mountain Flying by Jeff Skiles

Read Jeff Skiles' article in EAA's Sport Aviation magazine, after attending NMPA's Mountain Flying Clinic.

PIREP - Mountain Flying School
Read Grant Besley's 2011 article, Mountain Flying School",  published in FlyLow magazine.

REGISTER NOW for the 2019 NMPA Mountain Flying Clinic . Registration page includes info on participant costs, pilot and aircraft requirements, and other clinic particulars. Contact the clinic coordinator, Dave Jesurun, if you have additional questions.

2019 Clinic Flyer and Registration Details - CLICK HERE
2019 Clinic Flyer and Registration Details - Click HERE