Having just returned from a month flying my SR22 among the 14,000-foot peaks of Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, I know I could not have accomplished it safely without first completing the Colorado Flying Eagle mountain flying school with instructors Vern Foster, Bill Marshall, and Don Dolce. I give my strongest recommendation to this team.
As a pilot born and raised at sea level, I had no real clue about mountain weather systems, my aircraft performance at high elevation, or how to survive an off-airport landing in cold, rugged terrain. In fact, upon my initial arrival at DenverÂ’s Centennial airport, I landed with a full rich mixture and nearly stalled on a taxiway.
These guys took control, beginning with a 10-hour ground school that made me feel confident that there is no such thing as a dumb question. (Â“The pilot who doesnÂ’t ask a dumb question is a dead pilot.Â”) The PowerPoint curriculum was complete with books, a video, charts, and 200-page bound syllabus.
Ground school was followed the next day by a five-hour cross-country training flight with Don Dolce landing at six high elevation airports including Aspen and Leadville at 9927 feet, the country’s highest elevation airport. (It was hot; density altitude over 13,000 feet). I left Denver feeling capable and safe. The next few weeks were spent flying in the mountains to the finest trout fishing water in North America.
Interested pilots can reach Vern Foster at 303-751-9421 or Bill Marshall at 303-341-4744. Ground school for one pilot costs $295, and is less expensive for multiple students. The flight instruction is $165. The experience, as they say, is priceless.