I will be flying from Northern California to Southern California this weekend for the first time in a C172SP (KPAO to KFUL). My planned altitude is 9500 feet. I had a talked with my former instructor about this flight. We had gone over the flight plan and he told me his tips on flying this route including using extreme caution when flying over the Tejon pass (by Gorman VOR) because of its strong turbulence.

Has any of you flown this path before can possibly give me some tips? Anything is appreciated especially tips about passing the Tejon pass.

  • $\begingroup$ Not flown that pass, but have flown banning pass out to Palm Springs, and I can honestly say it was the scariest experience I've had in a Cessna :) $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 7:38
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    $\begingroup$ In fair weather and light winds it will be a non-event. Your instructor will, or should, know what that threshold is. As far as passes go, Tejon does not appear to be a super technical obstacle. Be aware of the winds, review ridge crossing guidance, do not expect a 172SP to perform like a rocketship, and above all do not be afraid to turn around and land if you have doubts about the flight. Don't worry...you'll be fine. Enjoy the scenery. $\endgroup$
    – acpilot
    Commented Sep 8, 2016 at 8:21
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    $\begingroup$ @acpilot Thank you for the info! I'll especially keep this in mind "above all do not be afraid to turn around and land if you have doubts about the flight" $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 23:13
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    $\begingroup$ Also, don't round out too soon. $\endgroup$
    – acpilot
    Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 23:14
  • $\begingroup$ Hey all, thanks for all the great advice. The flight went well. I felt a few bumps here and there at 9500 over the pass and on the way back at 8500 but nothing serious. When I descended above LA basin it was a lot more bumpy than over the pass ;-) Thanks again. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 1:58

1 Answer 1


I cross that pass on my commute twice a week in my VariEze at altitudes between 5500 and 11500 ft depending on winds and clouds. There's nothing to be particularly nervous about, there's rarely any noticeable turbulence if you're at 7500 or higher. You can check the Sandberg AWOS and forecast winds aloft, and ask L.A. Center or Bakersfield Approach for ride reports.

I do tend to be flying that route either fairly early in the morning or around dusk, so it may be bumpy more often in the heat of the early afternoon.

If clouds are forcing you down to 5500 be sure not to accidentally fly up the wrong valley when headed north!

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the advice! When you said "be sure not to accidentally fly up the wrong valley when headed north!", did you mean the wrong valley as the one leads to Mt Pinos toward the West if I am flying North? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 9, 2016 at 23:11
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    $\begingroup$ @RoundOutTooSoon Yep, that's the one. I got a couple of miles up there one scuddy morning before realizing "Hey, that's not I-5!" $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 4:04
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    $\begingroup$ Also if the weather isn't good and icing prohibits Ifr I just jump over to the coast and fly down the coast. The area around the pass can really ice up in the winter. $\endgroup$
    – user959690
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 13:39

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