A Beechcraft King Air 350 takeoff on runway 25 at Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE), Colorado. Also known as the Eagle/Vail airport it’s ranked number eight on the History Channel’s show Most Extreme Airports. The factors that placed Eagle on this list are a higher elevation of 6,540 feet, steeply rising mountainous terrain on all sides, downhill sloping runway, unpredictable weather and challenging approach and departure procedures. All of these factors make Eagle a very challenging airport for both experienced and novice aviators. On a cold clear day Eagle is a joy to fly into, the sweeping mountain vistas are breathtaking. Unfortunately, add a little weather or loose an engine on a hot day and this airport is suddenly not the fun lunch stop you planned on. Due to the mountains the approaches have what at first seem like fairly high minimums of 3 miles and 1,790 feet. But don’t forget if a snow squall suddenly blooms over the mountain, the runway can disappear in an instant. Ask yourself what if I lose an engine after doing a missed approach or on the departure procedure. Can my aircraft maintain the required 13% climb gradient required to climb to a safe altitude. Mountain flying can be greatly rewarding, just be sure you check your aircraft’s single engine climb performance or get some instruction in mountain flying before flying into your first mountain airport.
A Beechcraft Super King Air 350 lands on runway 25 at the Eagle County Regional airport west of Vail Colorado. Located in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Eagle airport often makes top ten lists of extreme or dangerous airports. This is due to its high elevation, mountainous terrain and unpredictable weather. The approach to runway 25 at Eagle starts at the Kremmling VOR (RLG) 30 miles to the north east. This routing takes aircraft over rugged mountainous terrain that on pretty days can be one of North America’s prettiest areas to fly in. Unfortunately when the weather turns bad it can also be an area which needs to be approached with the greatest of respect. Mountain flying can be rewarding but, treacherous for the unsuspecting aviator. At an elevation of 6,540 feet, Eagle is one of the highest airports in the US and aircraft performance needs to be looked at closely before going. In addition, at the height of the sky season, the FAA imposes a slot system for arriving and departing private aircraft to better facilitate traffic flow. In this video we are flying into Eagle/vail just after the first snow fall of the season.