Thursday, April 23, 2009


My pilot friend sent me the flight plan for our grand adventure! (it's all written from his perspective)

We clear customs the first day, though the location will depend on which day we can get away. With any luck we'll get away saturday though sunday or monday are fine too. After clearing customs we carry on eastward through Idaho and into Montana. We land at Butte for fuel. We turn south and end up in Salt Lake City for the night.

The second day we take off from Salt Lake City and can go check out the salt flats for brunch before heading southeast. We pass over Telluride, CO and head south, landing in Durango, CO for fuel. We head south and pass Los Alamos, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque (possible lunch stop?) before heading further south for Roswell and finally Cavern City. We spend the night there and the following day is our first vacation day, whereupon we'll spend our time doing a tour through the Carlsbad Caverns which I am quite excited about.

The fourth day we take off from Cavern City and head west for El Paso, optionally landing at an airport called Horizon or Dona Ana. Either are virtually on the Mexican border so a fantastic mexican lunch is almost assured. We head northwest from there for Whiskey Creek and then turn northwest for an airport called Truth or Consequences, our theoretical fuel stop for the day. We carry from from T or C bound north, passing right by the SETI VLA (Very Large Array) and head for Albuquerque before turning northwest for Monument Valley. There is a small private airport dead smack in the middle of it that apparently is very hospitable if you call ahead so we'll call and plan to end up there for a late lunch or early dinner, possibly staying the night. If not there, we'll end up in a small place called Kayenta to the southwest though the more I think about it the more excited I get to see the Monument Valley in the evening and at night.

That brings us to day five. This could all be done in one day or potentially split into two. We'll see how our scheduling goes. We take off from either Monument or Kayenta and head southwest for the Grand Canyon which isn't far. We circle around the canyon from the north before finally landing at Grand Canyon West airport. This is where we'll find the glass walk-out viewing platform. After getting our fill there we head east along the canyon to reach Canyon National Park airport. From here we'll take a scenic flight along or preferably into the canyon itself. That should take us to the end of day five. We'll spend the night at the Canyon National Park townsite.

On day six we take off heading almost due south. We fly until we damn near reach the Mexico border again and land in Tombstone which, as mentioned earlier, if it's close enough to the town we'll do a small excursion and possibly eat. We take off from there and head northwest to Tucson, passing over several airplane graveyards, and then head due north for Mesa. We land in Mesa wherein I plan on getting a ride on a WWII bomber. That will easily take us to the end of the day if not part way into the following day.

Day seven. We take off from Mesa/Phoenix and head northwest, passing over Lake Havasu City, and continue northwest, finally landing in Las Vegas. This leaves us half a day to explore the Vegas strip, catch a show, etc and then I hope to go back to the airport for a night flight over the strip.

Day eight. We take off from Vegas and head due west a short distance, landing at Furnace Creek airport in Death Valley. We'll catch a brunch there as apparently the food is amazing. We head almost due south from there and end up at Montgomery airport in sunny San Diego.

Day nine we'll do the San Diego zoo, possibly taking off in the early evening to fly to LA proper for the next day. We'll land at a small airport called John Wayne which will allow easy access to the beach and Santa Monica Pier.

On day ten we take off, heading first over to Catalina for brunch and then northwest for Santa Maria along the coast, then northeast bound for our fuel stop: Yosemite.

That's as far as I've (Martin) actually planned out at this point. Theoretically from there we'll head north along the coast and hit the rest of the points we want to hit including San Francisco, Reno, Portland, etc before heading home. I expect day 11 will be spent in San Fran itself though we'll see. We'll plan on arriving back home monday, May 11 though that leaves us a bit of leeway each direction. We'll watch the weather as things progress to decide if we need to be back earlier or if we've got time to spare.

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