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Left Coast Pilot – How High Can You Fly?

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 October 2004

How high can you fly? That's a question that's bothered me for quite a while now. The San Francisco sectional I use regularly has some green in the middle, where the California central valley is—but there's brown on the chart, both for the coast range mountains to the west (elevation around 3000-4000') and a lot more brown to the east, where the Sierras rise to elevations of 10,000-14,000'.

Going north or south you'll run into mountains as well, so if you fly any distance at all out here you're going to run into altitude issues. Which raises a question: How high can you fly?

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