I figured I would dedicate this blog post to telling a little about our mountain flying courses. We frequently instruct pilots who own their own airplane, and are from areas without mountainous terrain. One of the first questions that comes up, is how do I get to Eagle Airport to fly with you in my airplane given that Eagle is in the mountains and my reason for coming is that I don’t know how to fly in the mountains. We can and do frequently fly our airplane to the front range to meet pilots. Generally, if you’re coming up for a couple days of training then what we do is fly our plane to an airport east or west of the Rockies, and we just park our plane there for a couple days and then ride back to eagle with our student. There are a couple airports where parking is free or cheap that we generally use. In that type of scenario we charge a flat fee of $200 for the round trip just to cover the gas and time on the airplane. When you’re ready to depart to go back home you would just drop our instructor back at the airport where we left the plane.
In terms of a mountain flying course, we custom tailor the course to a pilot’s experience, goals, and their airplane. In most cases, pilots will spend two days flying with us. Sometimes we have students that want more, others want to simply limit it to a half day or 1 day. So in that regard a pilot can really determine how much time you want to spend.
As we’re planning your training it helps to know a little more about the student… their goals for the course, as well as future goals for your flying. For example some people come to us as a prep for flying to alaska. Are there any any specific airports you want to be sure to visit – resorts you like going to etc. Are you an instrument pilot? How much time, ratings, how much time do you have flying your airplane?
On the typical 2 day plan, we generally start off with a couple hours of ground instruction/discussion on the basics. Following that, we work through a variety of scenarios basically navigating to and from different mountain airports, pass crossings, and mountain corridors. Throughout the training we mix in additional discussions and ground instruction. The goal is not to bore the student with hours upon hours of ground, and instead have an integrated learning experience. At the end of two days most pilots will have landed 10-15 different airports with different challenges, flown most of Colorado’s major mountain corridors, and tackled the major passes generally used to navigate east to west in the central Rockies.
Occasionally we have students that simply want a 1 day, or a half day because they maybe have a 2nd home in a certain area, like Telluride, but live in Texas. In those cases they may only be interested in flying that route with an instructor and learning the most basic knowledge. We’re happy to do this type of training also.
In terms of cost, Our instructors bill hourly @ $75.00/hour for mountain flight instruction in customer aircraft and $40/hour for ground. If you’re flying with us 1 full day or more we provide a 20% discount. The two day courses generally work out to around $700-$1000. In most cases we have a total of 4-5 hours of ground and 10-12 hours of flight.