Some airports set a pilot’s heart racing.
Our friends Steve and Molly recently invited us for a hiking weekend in southwest Colorado.
This would be our first summertime visit to 9,070-foot-elevation Telluride Regional Airport (KTEX). Telluride is surrounded on three sides by 12-14,000-foot mountains, but we could approach from the west at 11,000 feet.
Like most Telluride traffic I planned to land on Runway 9 and depart Runway 27 to avoid maneuvering in the dead-end canyon east of the airport. That required good visual flight conditions, and light winds to preclude downwind takeoffs or landings and dangerous downdrafts tumbling over the surrounding mountains.
Given suitable weather, my main concern flying our non-turbocharged Cessna 182 was safely departing such a high-elevation airport in summertime.
Temperatures of 48°F to 75°F sound pleasantly cool, but at 10-12,000 feet density altitude we’d be lucky to get 65% of sea-level power at full throttle, and 300 fpm climb…
**Continue reading Greg’s entire column, “MOUNTAIN AIRPORT” **.
Read my detailed planning process for flying into this challenging airport.
Photo: Final approach to Runway 9, Telluride Regional Airport, Colorado.
(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)
If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!