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Dumb question about high altitude airports

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Tonight for the first time I flew out of my hub (KLAX) to a high altitude airport, Colorado Springs (KCOS.)Did I remember it was high altitude? No. It was dark, it was raining and only when the horizon seemed to be getting too high and I saw the outline of TREES did I say to myself "Hmmm, 5000 feet might be about more like 50 feet even if you've got your barometer set properly."I'm not sure how I'm supposed to compensate for flying to places where sea level and ground level are no longer associated with one another. Is the altitude of the airport all I need to keep in mind?Thanks

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You should always know the altutude of your destination, as well as runway lengths. It should be part of your flight planning. A radar altimeter helps too.

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Rob:Flight planning is one of the most important aspects of flying. Remember that a flight plan is not just how to plan to get from point a to point b, it is a plan for your safety and survival.You need to know everything about your departure airport, enroute and especially your destination airport. You should be aware of any terrain or obstacles that you will encounter in your decent and approach path, etc.There are tons of free airport charts available on the Internet and they should be used religiously if you are not using a panel with a FMC that can read SIDS and STARS which generally keep you out of the dirt. Also, even under positive control you still need to be aware if ATC is placing you in a dangereous situation.A radar altimeter is a great tool to have but is not necessary IF yo plan your flight correctly. HTH,Mike T.

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In addition, you should score yourself a set of sectional or WAC charts (there are also FS add-on products which have digitized versions of these charts) and familiarize yourself with the surrounding terrain and the minimum altitude restrictions. You can find approach plates for US airports at:http://edj.net/cgi-bin/echoplate.pl/These will give you an idea of the surrounding terrain and safe flight patterns going in and out of an airport.Watch that mountainside next time...she's a doozie ;-)J

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.... starts with knowing where you are going, knowing what you might encounter in terms of raised terrain, and planning how to get there.This is not talking about flying OVER mountains in a 747 at 30.000 ft, but trying to get anywhere in a small GA aircraft, probably flying very close to the ground (either below you or next to you ;-) )Getting a good map (even a road map) is the first thing you need to do to plan your flight. Yes, knowing the altitude of your destination is important. But also knowing what might be in between, knowing your aircraft's capabilities (not all engines/aircraft fly well at higher altitudes). And don't forget runway lengths. These are often short in mountainous places!Some good aviation charts are obviously great to have, but you can also plan your route on-line nowadays. There are some good real aviation sites that offer this capability.And finally, in the mountains the weather is of even greater importance than elsewhere. If the ceiling comes down and the ground goes up... you might find yourself in trouble pretty quickly all of a sudden ;-)Plan, know and plan !! :-outta Francois :-wave[table border=0 cellpadding=10 cellspacing=0][tr][td valign=bottom" align="center]"At home in the wild"[/td][td valign=bottom" align="center][link:avsim.com/alaska/alaska_052.htm|Don's Alaskan Bush Charters]"Beavers Lead the Way"[/td][td valign=bottom" align="center][link:www.avsim.com/vfr_center/mainpages/vfr_flights_main_page.htm]VFR Flight Center]"Looking Good Outside"[/td][/tr][tr][td valign=top" align="center]http://bfu.avsim.net/sigpics/logo75b.gif[/td][td valign="top" align="left" colspan=2]http://www.fssupport.com/images/moose2.gif[/td][tr][/table]________________________Francois A. "Navman" DumasAssociate Editor &Forums AdministratorAVSIM Online![/bemail: fdumas@avsim.com________________________

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Thank you all very much for the info. I guess I've just been lucky so far but now that I'm taking longer flights to more distant places I need to do some genuine pre-flight preparation.

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A good flight planner can also be a real help. I use FSNavigator to plan most of my flights. It is very flexible and powerful, with the complete database of nav aids and airways included in MS2002. It can even be used as an FMC if you like for planes not equiped with the computer. Once you have planned your flight, you can print both the flight plan (all waypoints with altitudes, headings, speeds, vertical speeds, and even estimated time and fuel useage) as well as any part of the flight in map format as well. I use this in combo with approach plates and must say that there is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment you get when you've flown an entire flight plan IFR in mostly mucky, wet conditions, and lo and behold, there is the runway right in front of you when you break through the clag a few hundred feet above your decision height. You will also find that using approach plates will make landing easier. The approach plate not only gives horizontal instructions, but also vertical, so you know what altitude you need to be at when you join the localizer for a safe approach, reducing significantly the odds that you will be either way to high or way to low. Hope this is helpful. Colin

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If you do a lot of flying in the USA you can buy for about $30 a complete set of the US Airport Facility's Directory books. These little green books issued by the FAA list every airport in the USA and all info about them including alt, flight patterens, radio freq, ILS/DME support, etc. They have been most helpful for me in planning a trip. They get updated every three or four months, but for FS2K2 use you dont need to use the latestest one unless you want you.FYI: If you like flying into KCOS check out my AFCAD update....http://ftp.avsim.com/library/esearch.php?C...afcd&DLID=21382[div align=center][link:members.cox.net/fstimes/wetimage.html]Click Here For Weather Image of the Day!

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Also, a small point..when flying into high altitudes always set your plane to INDICATED air speed. No matter how fast you are going over the ground, the wing only sees indicated air speed. (a great area to practice is in western Wyoming and Montana)

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Here are some links for you:You can check airport information including rwy lengths, elevation, and frequencies for all US airports here:http://airnav.comThis place has airport information for most places in the world. They also have a simple route calculator that will show you an elevation profile of your route. They also have links to other flight planning sites.http://www.landings.com/A nice flight planning site, it is free but requires registration.http://www.fltplan.com/

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