Crash in Angel Fire

Discussion in 'Aviation Mishaps' started by Alexb2000, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. Spencer Hamons

    Spencer Hamons Filing Flight Plan

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    Yes, Taos is much easier to get in-and-out of, but the geography of Angel Fire is prettier, and for those looking to ski, golf, or mountain bike, the resort is only 2 miles from the airport. Plus, if you want to get one of the top 5 high altitude airports in the country on your list, Angel Fire will fit that bill. When I had my normally aspirated Cherokee 180, I kept it over in Taos and flew in-and-out of Angel Fire when the conditions where right. I upgraded to a Turbo Saratoga about a year ago, and now I can home base out of Angel Fire (which is great since my house is 3 miles away). Now I can get to my airplane easily and flying is much more accessible and realistically useful than when I had to drive an hour over the mountain pass to get over to Taos just to use my plane. There aren't many full-timers here that are pilots, but we do get a lot of transient fliers in here coming for the recreation. It is absolutely doable with the right planning, but it isn't a place you fly into on a whim, without planning it out a bit. If you want to give it a shot sometime, PM me and I'm happy to give you the low-down.

    Spencer
     
  2. Spencer Hamons

    Spencer Hamons Filing Flight Plan

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    We typically don't make a traditional departure with a crosswind to downwind turn, just because the valley near the airport is so narrow, a traditional traffic pattern would put you so close to the mountains that you wouldn't have much room to maneuver if you caught a downdraft. I had this discussion with another pilot who wanted to fly the pattern, and my comment was, "follow the rule that you don't turn crosswind until you are 500 feet AGL". He was completely surprised how long it took him to get to 500 ft AGL. To answer your question about departing runway 17 to the South, we typically don't use that departure unless we do have the unusual southerly winds, but when we do - most will typically fly straight out to depart the valley out of the south. If you do want to depart to the south and stay in the pattern, then a standard left-hand pattern prevails, although you may HAVE to turn crosswind before you reach 500 feet AGL as the valley narrows considerably once you pass the departure end of the runway. For example, right at the end of the runway, the valley is 2 miles wide. Fly one mile south of the departure end of the runway, and the valley narrows to 3,000 feet wide. What gets pilots all the time is that the terrain doesn't look like it rises that much when looking down runway 17, because the runway itself rises at a slight incline.

    I like your whitewater rapids analogy BTW.

    Spencer
     
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  3. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    Thanks for sharing Spencer.

    I have inlaws that have been gathering in Mora NM annually for the last 40-50 years during Independence Day and often thought about flying close to there (from Indiana). Never really thought I would fly past Las Vegas NM, as I’m just too inexperienced...I question my own courage sometimes, but this helps me not feel like such a “wuss”.
     
  4. Spencer Hamons

    Spencer Hamons Filing Flight Plan

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    Flying in from Las Vegas is one of the best ways to try out the flight. You can skirt the eastern side of the mountain range and there is a valley that allows you to fly at 10,500 and run right of the valley to the southern end of Angel Fire. The biggest worry is winds, because if the winds are strong from the west, you will be on the lee side of the range and you can get bad turbulence and even mountain wave rotor winds. Try it early in the morning or late in the evening for a smoother flight. The FBO does have a crew car too, so you can grab a bite to eat or just look around the area if you want. PM me if you like when July comes around and I can get on a Zoom session and walk you through it if you like.

    Spencer
     
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  5. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

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  6. Spencer Hamons

    Spencer Hamons Filing Flight Plan

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    Gotta love the news media. You would think that when the media was going to write something like this, they may run it past the outlet's helicopter pilot or at least someone with a clue before they publish.
     
  7. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Had an awesome ski day @ axx last Saturday; one of those rare, calm days!

    I have been there in a C150/150; sure helps to visualize where the lift/sink is going to be!
    I always take off to the north, pretty quickly turned towards the updraft side of the valley (almost always the E side) and hugged that side heading N, then circled over the lake for enough altitude to get out of the valley.
    Will check out your vid later.
    What happened to the guy who had an aerobatic plane based there, did weekend ’airshows’?
     
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  8. Spencer Hamons

    Spencer Hamons Filing Flight Plan

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    No one here now with an aerobatic plane, but I didn't start home-basing out of AXX until I bought my Turbo Saratoga about a year ago, so likely before my time here.

    When you watch the video sometime, I describe your approach to taking off out of here exactly.

    Spencer
     
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  9. 3393RP

    3393RP En-Route

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    I had forgotten the details of the winds at takeoff.

    As happens all to often, I shake my head and wonder what in the world the pilot was thinking.
     
  10. idahoflier

    idahoflier Line Up and Wait

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    Nice video, hopefully people will make use of it!
     
  11. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

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    I don’t like to walk outside in those windy conditions!!!
     
  12. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

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    Skiing at Angel Fire was one of my favorite memories of New Mexico. The snow is great on the slopes, and once you get to the lodge at the bottom you can take off your jackets and gloves..

    But one of my scariest takeoffs was also at AXX. I had one other passenger and ski equipment in a Cherokee 180. I made a right turn out from runway 35 so that I can circle over the airport and gain altitude, but the rising terrain immediately after takeoff was way too close for comfort. This was 20 years ago.
     
  13. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    Here's the ridge we're talking about, I think. Pictured also is my rental Cherokee 93W that another student flew into a hangar later.

    20110507_axx_ground.jpg
     
  14. woodchucker

    woodchucker Cleared for Takeoff

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    Was it due for mx or .... ?
     
  15. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    No, he just drifted it off the runway on his solo flight. It was at Belen, not Angel Fire. I'm just saying that you can't find the registration for that airplane anymore.
     
  16. djmcfall

    djmcfall Filing Flight Plan

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    Was taught a long time ago the best place to go for good solid information is the local pilots. Here in Idaho we recommend new (to the area) pilots coming to the Idaho mountains, go get Mountain training from one of the several mountain and canyon flying schools, but even then go with an experienced CFI or even a local mountain pilot into each strip before you head out on your own. You offer many good tips for operating at your particular airport. I might add when flying on the updraft side of the valley, don't forget all lights on (anti collision, and pulse or landing) and watch for conflicting traffic, and always make position reports. We try to fly the right side of the canyons to avoid traffic, but sometimes you have to fly the left side to avoid turbulence or catch up drafts, as you so well pointed out in your video. Without knowing it you may have saved a life or two over time, Thanks!