SR22 Mountain Flying

Good Evening,

I am based out of New Jersey and had the thought of making my way out to the west coast, think the Utah area or maybe further west. With that being said, there is some terrain to be dealt with so what are the best options for portable oxygen and as well as routing to stay clear of most of the rising terrain?

Since you are a member you really should post in the member’s forums. Most of us rarely even look at the guest forums.

Are you flying a 20 or 22? Are you flying a NA or turbo aircraft. Where in Utah are you going? The routing to southern Utah will be different from northern Utah. That information will be important in formulating a useful response to your question.

From what I saw the member forum was just a marketplace to sell and buy items, as well I couldn’t post anything there. Was thinking Moab, Utah which is right in the middle and on the eastern border. Additionally, was thinking southwestern corner, closer to Las Vegas. I fly a G5 SR22 non turbo.

There are multiple forums. The most used is Cirrus Flying.

The guest forum is for non members and gets very little traffic

You can get to Moab from the east without going over high mountains if you’re willing to go a little out of your way. Head over the Dakotas and Casper, WY and down to Moab from there. At 12000 you will be well above the terrain

Alternatively stay south and route over Santa Fe and then up.

Either way you can avoid the very high terrain west of Denver.

If you want semi permanent oxygen, there is a Precise Flight unit that is STCed to fit between the two rear seats.

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I’ve flown this from NY to LA via both strategies discussed here - essentially going around the highest terrain - north through Wyoming, or south through Texas and New Mexico. The choice depends on the weather forecast. Follow major interstate roads out west, if you can, just in case you have an emergency.

Google Earth is a useful planning tool. You can configure it to show planned routes. And, this FAA website provides a download with an ADSB and radar coverage overlay - selectable for 500, 1000, 1500, 3,000, 5,000 and 10,000 AGL.

This screenshot illustrates terrain and major roads leading to Canyonlands Airport, near Moab, along with locations of commercial airports:

You can see that a direct route would cross the highest terrain, while a north or south route would allow more buffer. Look at MEAs along these routes as well. Others may offer rules of thumb for attempting to cross the Rockies here. You’re flying a normally-aspirated 22, with a maximum altitude limitation of 17,500 MSL.

This screenshot is widened out to illustrate radar coverage gaps with the 3,000 AGL radar coverage overlay selected:

For portable oxygen, consider a pulse demand system for conserving oxygen. There are two I’m aware of Mountain High electronic pulse demand system, and Precise Flight, which offers a mechanical “demand conserver” unit.

In the case of Precise Flight but you’d have to purchase one for each user, whereas the Mountain High System can be purchased as a 2-person unit. Either will reduce your oxygen usage to get you more hours out of the tank. You can also purchase boom mounts for your headset so you won’t need to wear an oxygen cannula.

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I have done this only once using the southern route. Depending on when you do it, the southern route has the advantage that the icing risk is lower. In winter, this makes a big difference.

Here are several routes, including a northern route over SLC. You can throw them into ForeFlight or Aerovie and look at the profiles to get an idea of terrain crossing altitudes.