Flying over the Rocky mountains with a small plane can be intimidating. The mountains are enormous towers of solid rocks, fortunately, it’s possible to cross it over terrain as low as 6000 ft. VFR routes are the fasted way to cross without actually flying over any mountains. This gives you a sense of security knowing that if you have mechanical issues, there is a chance of making a successful landing on the road or valley below, and being rescued quickly.
Flying direct will take some time off of your trip. If you haven’t flown through the mountains yet, don’t bother going direct. The half hour of flying time you save to get to the destination will not make up for the entire time you are worrying about your engine quitting and the jagged rocks below. If you have a Ballistic Chute installed, this worry will not be as high, but survival in the middle of nowhere is still a concern if something does actually go wrong. Engines have been known to fail, no matter how much it cost or who built it.
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