• Mountain Passes, Survival Training, Expert Lectures





    The purpose of these clinics is to teach an understanding of mountain meteorology, high altitude operations, high altitude physiology, and survival preparedness.


    We believe that by immersing you in the environment and surrounding you with decades of experience, you will learn as much as absolutely possible about the art and science of flying in the mountains safely. We believe an emphasis on survival planning is an important factor of your education if you plan to fly in mountainous terrain.


    The course fee includes sessions by some of the world's top lecturers on the following topics:

    • High density altitude operations
    • High altitude physiology
    • Mountain meteorology
    • Flying mountain passes
    • Unimproved field operations
    • ELTs, PLBs, and other tracking devices
    • What's important in a survival kit
    • Post crash survival
    • Harvesting the airplane

    We will be operating at many mountain airports, such as:

    KTRK, KTVL, O22, M45, KBIH, O24, O79


    Nobody can make a seat next to a campfire feel like a fine restaurant like BIOBIO Expeditions. It really makes a difference to come back to camp after a long day and have a glass of wine and a fresh plate of their signature lasagna waiting. We are proud to present the food of BIOBIO on this course.


    • Tent
    • Sleeping pad
    • Sleeping bag (2 if able)
    • Canteen or water bottle
    • 4 pairs of socks
    • 3 T-shirts
    • 1 pair of shorts
    • 1-2 pairs of long pants
    • 1 comfortable outfit (sweat pants, long underwear, flannel, etc.)
    • Towel
    • Sandals or slippers
    • Shoes good for flying and light hiking


    “I came back a better pilot than I left, without question. I signed up for the trip to learn about flying in a new environment, to gain the skills and familiarity to safely operate in high terrain at high density altitude. I got what I expected, but quite a bit more. Flying all day for three straight days, working with excellent, experienced instructors; my attitude toward flying grew and matured. I came back more capable and more confident.”

    — Thomas Byrne


    “The Mountain Flying course put on by Jason and the team at The Finer Points is something every pilot should check out if he/she is serious about raising the level of their flying ability.  I left the course with a newfound confidence in handling high altitude airstrips, mountain passes, weather phenomena, survival skills and the real life experience of taking off on a short strip under high density altitude conditions. Most importantly though, the course is FUN. As aviators we can’t ask for much more than than flying in a challenging and fun environment. That’s exactly what this course is all about.”

    — Cuyler B


    Next Trip: June 23-25, 2017

    Day 1

    San Carlos, California


    10:00 Meet at San Carlos Flight Center to brief the 2 hour flight to the Lake Tahoe area.



    12:00 Touring the lake, Desolation Wilderness area, Squaw Valley and landing KTRK


    12:30 Set up camp. Lunch.


    13:00 Lectures and Discussions on the following topics:

    • The Mountain Environment
    • High Density Altitude Operations
    • High Altitude Physiology
    • Flying Mountain Passes
    • Spending the UNEXPECTED night out 

    15:30 Evening pattern work at KTRK


    19:00 Dinner


    20:30 Wheels down for the night

    Day 2

    Truckee, California


    06:30 Breakfast


    07:30 Preflight Briefing


    0800 Wheels up for a morning of mountain passes and an afternoon of mountain strips. To include:

    • Carson Pass
    • Ebbets Pass
    • Sonora Pass
    • Buckeye Pass
    • Tioga Pass

    12:00 Lunch at KBIH


    14:00 Depart for Mono Lake, Alpine Co, Sierraville, and back to base camp KTRK


    18:30 Dinner

    Day 3

    San Carlos, California


    08:00 Breakfast


    08:30 Soar Truckee presents:

    • Forced Landings for Powered Pilots
    • Mountain Meteorology
    • Flying Off the Ridge

    09:00 Glider flights


    12:00 Depart for KSQL


    14:00 Arrive at San Carlos Flight Center


    14:30 Issue completion certificates


    Jason Miller, CFII

    Chief Flight Instructor

    Jason Miller, host of The Finer Points - Aviation Podcast, has distributed more than 3 million flight training tips to pilots all over the world. He is an instructor for the FAA and AOPA's Air Safety Institute. He brings thousands of hours of experience and a clear and concise style to his teaching. He has led flying trips through the mountains of Colorado, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Washington.


    Dr. Howard Donner, MD, CFI

    Expedition Physician

    Dr. Howard Donner has been featured in two NOVA documentaries, including "Deadly Ascent" which chronicles mountain medicine and research on 20,320-foot Denali (Mt. McKinley). He spent three climbing seasons as a rescue doctor for the National Park Service at the 14,000-foot medical/rescue station on Denali. Howard also served for five years as a medical operations consultant for NASA, where he was involved in the design of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station medical systems.





    Justin Phillipson

    Flight Instructor

    Justin Phillipson has been flying the Sierras for over 13 years and is no stranger to the challenging airports we have right in our backyard.  Learning to fly in a tired 172 at Stead Field, Nevada taught him that density altitude and reduced performance is more than a whiteboard discussion. A few years later as an instructor in Chico he used all the foothill airports from Columbia to Lake Almanor and Quincy as great training airport for his students in his C-152.  Owning a 85hp Cessna 120 and frequently taking it to the other side of the Sierras he stresses the importance of flying smart and without excessive power.

    Adam Kelly

    Flight Instructor

    Adam has been in love with aviation since he was a child, and comes from a family of accomplished aviators. He earned his Private Pilot Certificate in 2009 and in 2012 started pursuing aviation full time. He received his Commercial Pilot Certificate in 2012 and Certified Flight Instructor Rating in 2013. Now he no longer works a day in his life. Adam has conducted training from Yellowstone to Sedona and many points in between. 

    Sarah Halas

    Flight Instructor

    Sarah Halas is an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP), multi-engine instrument flight instructor (MEII), and experienced backcountry ski guide.  She has been awarded a Gold Seal by the Federal Aviation Administration for teaching flying to an exceptional level.  Having flown for a charter service, air ambulance, and the membership airline Surf Air, Sarah returned to flight instructing full time in 2013.  Her mountain flying courses are informed by years of exploring the mountains on land and in the air.

    Geoff Rapoport

    Flight Instructor


    Geoff Rapoport is a CFII teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area and the editor of The Finer Points Dispatch. Before becoming a full-time flight instructor, Geoff worked as a mechanical engineer building scientific instruments and as a lawyer for venture capital firms. His experience as an engineer and lawyer are critical to Geoff's unique approach to flight instruction, where he loves to get into the details of the physics and regulatory finer points of flying.



    All inclusive. Contact us if you would like to bring your own airplane on the trip.

    All Inclusive: $4950

    June 23-25, 2017

    Let us take care of everything. You will have a spot in one of our late model G1000 Cessna 182s (expect around 4-6 hours of PIC time) and one 30 minute glider flight. There are no hidden costs here. We provide the airplane, instructor, fuel, and:

    • Camping arrangements
    • Custom TFP survival kit
    • Gourmet food by BIOBIO Expeditions
    • Lectures by Jason Miller and Dr. Howard Donner
    • Lectures by Soar Truckee glider instructors

    Aircraft Owner: $2750

    June 23-25, 2017

    If you own an airplane, we will provide an experienced instructor to train you in mountain flying in your own aircraft. Pricing includes:

    • Dedicated instructor for your airplane
    • Camping arrangements
    • Custom TFP survival kit
    • Gourmet food by BIOBIO Expeditions
    • Lectures by Jason Miller and Dr. Howard Donner
    • Lectures by Soar Truckee glider instructors



    Place your deposit for our June 23-25, 2017 trip to reserve your place.


    To find out more and receive trip updates, leave us your name and email below.