“Why do you guys need additional training after thousands of hours of military flying?” people ask us frequently. While flying fighters is demanding and specialized, mission aviation is not really any less so. It is just different. We have trained to use aircraft as weapons, both offensive and defensive. Now we’re training to guide them safely into and out of very challenging airstrips and terrain.

For example, here are some of the problems we trained for in and near Nampa, ID:
– Moriah – landing zone slopes 10% then levels off to 2%. On take-off, you start on a 2% slope that rapidly increases to ~6% before lift-off.
– Johnstone – only a 2% avg slope, but has a nice curve on south end and the whole runway curves slightly.
– Steiner – about a 10deg turn halfway down and about 1.5% slope.
– Murphy – about 2% slope; nice greasy burger place across the street
– Holdout – 4% average slope, one way in, one way out because its up against the foot of a mountain
– One Way – runs along a ridge, ~5% slope; one way in and out
– Owyhee Res State (28u) – had a crashed plane next to it when I was there. The visible strip was only as wide as our wheel-base.
– ZX Ranch (pvt) – 4% slope, slightly curved; must take off toward the valley but can land either way
– Loomis (pvt – this is where we want to live!!) – 1700’ long w/500+ drop on east end! And views of snow-capped peaks and moutains all around.
– Garden Valley (u88) – WOW. Gorgeous! Nice wide, 3% sloped grass strip beside mountain stream… Camping anyone?
– Idaho City (u98) – paved, gravel, dirt, grass, fades into forest on SW end
– Graham – 2900’ long with about an average 4% upslope that varied over the length. Too wet to use the south 1/3. A forest service cabin on the strip can be reserved & rented. Any takers?
– Weatherby – 2200’ w/trees on both ends & no go-around capability from below about 100 feet when landing to the east (uphill). In a narrow valley – beautiful!
– Atlanta – right up against steep slopes on 2 sides. One way in and one way out. We opted not to land there because the departure goes down a narrow canyon and the winds were getting squirrely.
– Pine – short, wide, fun strip on the north end of a lake. Side slope towards the water. Crooked final approach to the south due to terrain.

So now we have sort of “advanced flying degrees” in two different specific fields within aviation. Can’t wait to use these skills for things that matter!