During the overseas flights to Australia and New Zealand, I was able to review the pdf booklets from the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on "Mountain Flying" and "In and Around Milford." I learned that it was best to fly on the upwind side of valleys, where the air was smoother, uplifting, and would give a smaller turn radius if needed. But this had to be balanced with the recommended right-of-way practice of flying on the righthand side of a valley. I wondered what happened when the upwind side was on the left and the turbulent lee side with it's downdrafts was on the right. I figured I would find out with the Flyinn instructor. Mountain saddles (dips between peaks) were passed at an angle in level flight to allow for a turn away if needed.
Before New Zealand, I thought I could manage flying in the mountains. I had done a lot of flying VFR and IFR up and down the Appalachians, having lived in Roanoke, Virginia for 4 years. Roanoke is in a bowl after all, surrounded on all sides by mountains. I had also done my share of flying in the Rocky Mountains, with VFR flights north of Denver, Colorado, as well as VFR and IFR in New Mexico, Arizona and California. I could handle low clouds that covered the mountain tops. I would just file an IFR flight plan, do the published instrument departure, fly above the peaks at the minimum enroute altitude, then do the published instrument approach. That would keep my airplane safely away from the hard stuff.
|Flying close to the valley wall.|
|Can't find a clear saddle to cross.|
|Route through Fiorland|
|Milford Sound via Cleddau river valley|
|Passing Blight Sound.|
|Looking back on Milford Sound|
We few throughout the south island of New Zealand with Flyinn from Tuesday 3/21/17 to Friday 3/31/17. During that time, I completed a New Zealand biennial flight review and mountain flight training. A complete day by day blog is available at http://www.doenlen.com/aus-nz/.