Read the story in The Atlantic here.
Here is my theory of mountain flying: I don’t like it.
This incredible video, from Peru, will give you an idea of the kind of thing I have nightmares about. For me, the most “have to look away” moments are the ten seconds starting around time 1:30, although 0:30 and 0:45 are pretty frightening too.
I don’t like mountain flying because it’s objectively dangerous and it’s subjectively frightening. The winds are often turbulent, so you’re bouncing around with all that granite nearby. In the summer you often have thunderstorms, and in the winter you often have ice or snow. You worry about the narrowing gap between how high you have to go to clear the terrain, and how low you have to stay to avoid the clouds. I have taken mountain-flight training, and I’ve flown across the Rockies several times, in summer and winter, and the Sierra a few times. But … why?
No larger point, except (a) to give a link to the amazing video above and (b) as ongoing real-time chronicle of Aeronautical Decision Making.
Also: Yesterday, when leaving Rapid City, we had a chance to fly by Mount Rushmore and do a North by Northwest reprise. Instead I veered off when we were about 10 miles away, too far for any interesting pictures. Rain was building in the area, and the winds were gusty, and several tourist helicopters were reporting turbulence, and I thought, another time. So we will not have our update to the scene below: