Flying into Vail (KEGE) from the Southeast

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by SCCutler, Jul 30, 2017.

  1. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    Wife wants to fly to Vail (KEGE) - from Dallas, there is a lot of terrain as one gets close.

    Any suggestions on best routing to get to KEGE from the southeast without excessive altitude; would prefer to avoid O2 if at all possible.
     
  2. DoubleD

    DoubleD Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Never flown to Eagle, but to Aspen from Austin a number of times. Head up to the vicinity of Trinidad, CO, then over the pass just west of La Veta (around 9000'). Then up the Saguache Valley and over North Pass (10149') to Gunnison. Fly west and then northwest over the highway to Grand Junction. Pick up I-70 there and east over Rifle and into Eagle. You can cut the corner short of Grand Junction as much as you choose. This can all be done at 12,500 or below, with North Pass being the highest point in the trip.

    This is all VFR, of course. IFR MEAs are all in the O2 altitudes. I wouldn't think of making this trip in the winter, when winds are up and weather more iffy.
     
  3. DoubleD

    DoubleD Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Let me add, this is one of the most spectacular trips you will ever take.
     
  4. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Fly into Grand Junction, rent a car.
    Fly into Rifle KRIL, rent a car.
    Fly into Rifle, follow I70 east, be very careful.

    If you are not familiar with Density Altitude, be even more careful.
    If you're not comfortable with non-flatland terrain, take the more flat route.

    LaVeta pass is 9k, fly it at 12k and the peaks will still be above you. Nate, I and others prefer Mosca Pass, same altitude, wider, less time " in the pass ", and you end up over Great Sand Dunes Natl Monument. But, if you follow the road over to GJT, you'll be in mountainous area where you don't have as many options. Go take a look at the Denver sectional.

    I'd recommend a more southerly route, heading toward KSAF then up to GJT or RIL then east to Vail.
     
  5. Luigi

    Luigi Line Up and Wait

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    Once you make it to Grand Junction or Rifle, ASE or EGE is not at all hard. Best early in the day, PM winds can pick up along with monsoonal flow in August. You can also fly to Montrose area and come up McClure pass to Carbondale, then easy hop over cottonwood pass to EGE.
     
  6. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Montrose, McClure pass, over Carbondale, Cottonwood pass, EGE is a good route early in the day. With the terrain rising like it does McClure will have clouds in the afternoon if there is much moisture.

    Glenwood is not an alternate unless you're on your game for nailing your spot on landing and familiar with getting max power at high DA for departure. Rifle is much easier.

    If you're in the hills be on the ground by noon. You'll see the cumulus building and understand the advise.

    There is a route, the really long way around, that will let you stay low. I know of at least one pilot from Texas who would still be alive (along with his family) if he'd taken it. Rocks are nothing to mess around with when there is weather and you are in a spam can.
     
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  7. Luigi

    Luigi Line Up and Wait

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    What is the OP flying? I know the area well as I am based at ASE.
     
  8. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Not sure this will help but the 3 times I aborted an entry into the mountains there was:
    -'holy crap' moments within 20miles of the valley/pass. Very uncomfortable turbulence in which pax were 'concerned'. You just know, when that happens, that it's time for plan B. Even if you were alone and 'could make it' - one considers pax comfort at all times.
    -again, 20mi before entering mountainous terrain, sustained 1500fpm sink (and I have 300hp). Buh-bye.
    -once this summer, I bypassed a planned mountain airport stop because the DA was 9K and I was heavy, the one-way runway did not favor a comfortable arrival.
    Of course there were many times I scrubbed before going to the airport.
     
  9. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    He has some flavor of Bo.
     
  10. murphey

    murphey Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    If you can get here this weekend (Aug 5), Colorado Pilots is running the High Alt Airport/Mtn Flyin ground school (all day) and flying the next day with an experienced mtn CFI. Or stop in either New Mexico or Denver at your convenience and work with an experienced mtn CFI. New Mexico Pilots Association specializes in general mtn flying in the west with specifics about NM flying, CPA does the same but with specifics about CO flying.

    The CPA route is KAPA/KBJC (either one) NW to Granby, Steamboat Springs, Vail (but not a stop unless you want to pay the fee), Glenwood Springs (one-way airport), near Aspen, backtrack north around to Leadville (with a stop to get your certificate that you landed at the highest paved airport in CONUS), down thru the valley, turn east and back to whence you came. Counts as a BFR, too.

    Check either group's website for details

    www.coloradpilots.org
    www.nmpilots.org

    Nate, Clark, a few others and I can recommed experienced mtn CFIs in the area if you prefer to do that.
     
  11. Plano Pilot

    Plano Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I went up there from KADS about a year ago. IFR routing sucks TEX5.ROLLS AVVVS RLG
     
  12. Luigi

    Luigi Line Up and Wait

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    If the Denver winds @ 12000 are greater than 25 Knots you start to see some pretty good turbulence, but you don't get the 2000 ft. up and downdrafts too often, and they can be managed, slow down to maneuvering speed an ride it out.
     
  13. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

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    I am flying a normally-aspirated V35A Bonanza (285 HP). I have reasonable high DA experience, some in mountains, have a great deal of respect for the process, and I have no interest in doing this except as a VFR flight.
     
  14. Luigi

    Luigi Line Up and Wait

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    Fly to SAF for the night, get up early fly Taos La Veta Pass Montrose McClure Pass Carbondale EGE, usually fairly benign. Check the winds a few days out, watch for cold fronts.
    Why EGE and not ASE? Aspen airport closer to town, and town is more fun IMHO
    Self serve fuel in EGE is $4.15 now, I fly over from Ase to top off after trips way cheaper than ASE
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2017
  15. Plano Pilot

    Plano Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    He said the wife wants to go to Vail, if momma ain't happy no one is happy:)

    KEGE is closer to Vail.
     
  16. Luigi

    Luigi Line Up and Wait

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    ASE is closer to the town of Aspen, EGE is a little further from Vail. Yes, I know all about keeping Momma happy!