Advice for new pilot flying into Colorado Springs

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by GSDpilot, Dec 2, 2020.

  1. GSDpilot

    GSDpilot Filing Flight Plan

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    My home base is KMKC (Kansas City), and I am planning on flying into KCOS (Colorado Springs) next week. I got my PPL last November and have just been flying locally (<150 NM) getting used to my airplane (185 total hours).

    As I am flight planning for next week, it looks like KCOS is pretty windy and gusty. KC is pretty flat and wind is usually manageable. I don't plan on flying in the mountains at all, but does anybody have any advice or a similar experience? Just want to make sure I am not biting off more than I can chew, since this is outside of my comfort zone.
     
  2. Sierra_Hotel

    Sierra_Hotel Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Just pay attention to density altitude and you'll be good. What plane and any passengers? You've got tons of runway and no obstacles for miles. Go fly and have fun.
     
  3. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

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    Visit Garden of the Gods is my only advice.
     
  4. GSDpilot

    GSDpilot Filing Flight Plan

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    Cessna 182 RG, and just me and my dog. Wind is really what was concerning me...
     
  5. exncsurfer

    exncsurfer Pattern Altitude

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    Wow, that place looks unreal.
     
  6. Sierra_Hotel

    Sierra_Hotel Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Sounds like an opportunity for good practice, then :)
     
  7. TCABM

    TCABM Pattern Altitude

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    It’s been a few years, but I remember all three KCOS runways are usually fairly well aligned for the wind.

    [​IMG]

    Yeah thats breezy, but it’s only an 8kt gust with manageable cross wind component. It might be sporty taxiing around, but those winds aren’t normal conditions, either.
     
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  8. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    I'd just watch out for deteriorating visibility/ceilings with the winter weather this time of year. You'll not like see much in the way of winds that you haven't dealt with in Kansas.
     
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  9. Kritchlow

    Kritchlow Final Approach

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    I just looked that up. I completely expected to to find a strip joint.
     
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  10. DrewG

    DrewG Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'd also recommend Cave of the Winds park.
     
  11. charheep

    charheep Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Considering the source, I would too..
     
  12. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That could be a strip club too.
     
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  13. kep5niner

    kep5niner Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Go to Cutter (FBO). No ramp fees, and their full-service fuel price is respectable. Don't hit Pike's Peak. And yes, Garden of the Gods is legit. Your ADSB will light up with all the traffic from Peterson AFB, Ft. Carson, but mainly the Air Force Academy (where they may actually be using ADSB-Out). Stay away from all the re-purposed gas stations...aka hash stations.
     
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  14. codeeno

    codeeno Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you can handle crosswinds in KS - you can most likely be able to deal with CO winds.

    The I fly a lot between KCFO (outside denver) to KOUN (Norman, OK) a lot. The biggest difference I would think you will notice is a lack of engine performance compared of to what you see in KC. When the field elevation is at 5,000 - with cool temps - you are already losing engine performance. So your take off roll will increase and the rate of climb will decrease, compared to what you are used to in KS. So it will seem like it take forever to take off. Or if you go around - or once you take off - your rate of climb will be rather anemic compared to lower elevations.

    As a normally aspirated plane - I LOVE how my plane performs in OK. It's okay up here - but - it's a noticeable difference.

    Otherwise, it's a straightforward trip that you (and your dog) should enjoy

    Dean
     
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  15. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The one thing I would tell you is that there are two sides to that airport. The first time I flew into COS (admittedly this was 40 years ago), I followed a sign that said "TRANSIENT AIRCRAFT" only to find myself in a zone marked "WELCOME TO NORAD." Oops, ask for progressives if you aren't sure.

    THat and have your pencil ready when calling ground for departure. You'll be getting a IFR-ish clearance.
     
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  16. Ed Haywood

    Ed Haywood Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Be sure to consider the elevation at your destination when selecting your enroute cruise altitude. If you depart KMKC at 6500', you will arrive KCOS below pattern altitude. :)
     
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  17. Arrow76R

    Arrow76R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Be sure to check NOTAMS as the COS approach control was out of service for a while (COVID?) but is back now. Ask for runway 17R or 35L as they are on the west side of the airport close to the FBOs. Be sure to tie your plane down SECURELY! Winds today were gusting to 35 kts. If the "BIG" airport bothers you try Meadow Lake (KFLY) which is only 10 miles east. Downside is there is no rental car service there but avgas is available self-serve.
     
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  18. Croomrider

    Croomrider Pre-takeoff checklist

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    When you take off, keep a closer eye than normal on your ASI. If you use outside clues it will look like you are going much faster than you really are. Especially when you turn crosswind or downwind.
     
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  19. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    For me, the situation when winds have prevented me from flying from the Midwest to the Front Range was not actually the winds themselves, but the strong turbulence they can cause as they blow over the mountains toward the plains.

    Fortunately that doesn’t happen frequently, and it can be avoided by checking the turbulence forecast foremost, and checking PIREPS for turbulence.
     
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  20. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    And at night watch out at night, it's easy to mistake the interstate for the runway. The 141 school at BJC where I trained used to do the student night XC to COS.
    During the day time, watch out for the Airforce Academy training especially gliders, just to the north.
     
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  21. kep5niner

    kep5niner Pre-takeoff checklist

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    ...and simultaneous jumpers too.
     
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  22. kep5niner

    kep5niner Pre-takeoff checklist

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    ...and, check TFRs as there have been several flyovers at the Academy, with increased frequency, in an effort to keep up the morale of the cadets. The COVID restrictions they’re continuing to operate under now are tumultuous.
     
  23. Martin Pauly

    Martin Pauly Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I wouldn't worry too much about a wind forecast so far out. And the prog charts for the beginning of next week don't look too bad.

    Also, surface winds would be less concerning to me than winds aloft, which can cause waves and turbulence. I would plan the trip with enough flexibility to go a day earlier or later. Rule of thumb is if the winds over the mountain tops are more than 25 knots, don't fly anywhere near the mountains in a light airplane.

    Oh, and don't forget to look outside and enjoy the view. On a bad day, flying near (or in) the Rockies can be scary, but on a good day it is absolutely gorgeous. Make sure to pick a good day, and I'd plan for a little extra time to fly up and down the mountains before landing. This is a real treat for us Midwest pilots!

    - Martin
     
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  24. Sierra_Hotel

    Sierra_Hotel Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That was a pretty wild ride watching Eagle's Peak on one side, gliders below on the other, and you're shooting the gap down the middle :D
     
  25. Jim Carpenter

    Jim Carpenter Pre-takeoff checklist

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    There's this, from a few years ago:
    Microburst Event - YouTube
    But, that's rare, and, they had gusts to 55 that day. Normally, wind there is do-able, keep a little power on, watch your airspeed, and, think about your mixture, the "Mixture-Full Rich" lines in your checklist are for sea-level.
     
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  26. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The Zoomies have ADSB and are heads down most of the time, which is annoying as h*ll. If you’re not IFR, then make sure you’re on flight following in the area!

    The danger area is due east and northeast of I25 and the Academy. The training areas are east of I25, and not as well marked on charts as they used to be. Which means lots of Cirri traversing east-west by COS.
     
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  27. DoubleD

    DoubleD Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Lean for takeoff.
     
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  28. Arrow76R

    Arrow76R Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Beware the "rotors" off of the mountains with strong westerly winds. A United 737 crashed on final approach to KCOS in 1991 after being rolled by a rotor. A sure sign that signifies staying on the ground or a long way distant is the sight of standing lenticular clouds along the Front Range.
     
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  29. deyoung

    deyoung Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The only thing I would add is that be aware, runways 35L/R (or 17L/R, which I've never gotten) are very far apart, like a mile and a half. If you get assigned one and you're looking for the other to orient yourself, be aware of that. The first time I flew into COS I called the tower to make sure I was where I thought I was, just in case.

    Oh, also -- Cutter, definitely go there, they are the best.
     
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  30. MIA

    MIA Filing Flight Plan

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    Some good advice here. KCOS can be no big deal and it usually is. Happy to PM if you want more detail and happy to coach you.
     
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  31. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    If you're talking about UA 585, a rotor was one of the things considered as the conditions were right for the formation of one, but the NTSB was unable to conclude that one was a factor in this crash. Later crashes involving the rudder control units on 737s, led the NTSB to revise the probable cause of this crash as well.

    https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Reports/AAR0101.pdf
     
  32. NoBShere

    NoBShere Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Checkout the old school arcade in nearby Manitou Springs
     
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