Flew to My First High-Density Altitude Airport

I flew to my first high-density altitude airport last weekend.

It was to Big Bear City, California, a high altitude mountain lake community that is known for its high density altitude and surrounded by 8000-10000-ft mountain peaks, therefore making it one of the more challenging general aviation airports in California.

Departing to the west can be deceiving, because it appears that you are stuck in the lake valley, unable to climb out over the approaching mountains. However, as you get closer to said mountains, a canyon opens up to the south and that’s how I departed.

The first pic is me and my Cessna 172S Skyhawk at Big Bear City airport (L35). Elevation is 6752 feet above mean sea level (MSL). The second pic is on approach to the airport over Big Bear Lake. If you look closely, the lake has some ice (very thin) on the surface. This is at 9400 feet MSL. The third pic is when I was departing and at 8500 feet MSL with Snow Summit ski resort in view.


Looks amazing! Thank you for sharing.

What is your procedure for leaning the engine for takeoff at high density altitude?

Great shots! I work just on the other side of those mountains in the first pic.