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Ground School Refresher: Pressure and Density Altitude

November 26, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

This seminar will only be available for online viewing. IN-PERSON ATTENDANCE WILL NOT BE PERMITTED.**

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Pressure what? Density what?

As pilots, we love altitude. So much that we’ve created a bunch of different kinds of altitude: true altitude, absolute altitude, indicated altitude, assigned altitude, and two kinds of confusing ones – pressure altitude and density altitude. For many pilots, this can lead to a mental overload. Many pilots don’t have a working understanding of pressure and density altitude. Are they even real altitudes at all?

In this seminar, join SCFC CFI Shelby Rebholtz as he introduces and explains the terms “pressure altitude” and “density altitude” and demystifies their meaning. Although the word “altitude” is used, these are clearly not measures of altitude. In fact, they are measures of atmospheric pressure and density just converted into units that pilots can understand. Confusing at first, yes, but once understood they serve a valuable purpose in determining aircraft performance.

Although few things are as important to a pilot as knowing the performance capability of the aircraft before taking to the skies, measuring the critical factor – atmospheric density – is not something that pilots can do directly. Instead we use rules of thumb, conversion factors, and our best understanding of how elevation, pressure, temperature, and humidity are interrelated. If you’ve ever opened your aircraft POH to the performance section and felt humbled, this seminar is for you.


Shelby Rebholtz is a CFI at San Carlos Flight Center. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and his passion for aviation started young when his father took him flying. While attending California State University, Chico in 2019 he attained a degree in geography and his private pilots license. Soon after he continued his aviation journey down south to San Diego where he navigated the complex airspace of Southern California and attained his Commercial and CFI ratings. When Shelby is not flying or breaking his neck staring at aircraft he can be found mountain biking around the bay area or snowboarding, fishing and hiking in the Sierras.


San Carlos Flight Center (SCFC) is the SF Bay Area’s most dynamic flying club, committed to building general aviation through safety, community, and adventure. AOPA has consistently recognized SCFC in their Best Flight School survey, most recently in 2022 as a Distinguished Flight School.

SCFC is committed to promoting safety in general aviation through our regular safety seminars and guest speaker programs. Livestream access is free for everyone, but recorded seminars are available solely to members at a later date. Click here or contact a SCFC member service rep at (650) 946-1700 for more information about online access to our web archive of nearly 500 recorded Safety Seminars.


November 26, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
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San Carlos Flight Center
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San Carlos Flight Center
(650) 946-1700
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