Adventure Day 6, Part II – Flight to Grand Canyon and beyond

After a morning of playing in the flight simulator, my friend had to skip off to a meeting for a while. I spent the next few hours bumming around the airport. Was a beautiful place to bum around…

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After lunch, we met back up and headed off for another adventure in the Cirrus. I got to fly left seat again and was told that at the conclusion of the flight – depending on how things went – I would earn my high performance aircraft endorsement.

This was, by far… by miles… by infinity, the most amazing, beautiful, awe-inspiring flight of my life. After departing KVGT, we hit up the following locations –

  1. Hoover Dam

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2. The Lake Mead Narrows – My friend talked me through the maneuvering. Below is a video recreation from the actual flight path he recorded in CloudAhoy:

 

3. Temple Rock

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4. Grand Canyon

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We circled the Grand Canyon Skywalk as well –

 

5. Lost City

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6. Valley of Fire

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The entire flight path looked like this:flight-path

GoPro Video, wing view (unfortunately the camera died as soon as we hit the Canyon):

 

My life has been forever changed. Oh, and yes, I successfully earned my high performance aircraft endorsement!

Since my flight home that night was a redeye, I was able to go out and explore Las Vegas for a few hours. I’m not really one for loud, flashy places, but I can see the appeal.

 

The Monkey seemed to dig it…

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Special thanks to the Bell Captain at Bally’s for helping to make my time in the city a pleasant one.

Definitely a trip I won’t soon forget.

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Adventure Day 6 – Part 1, Full Motion Simulator

Yesterday, like the first day of my trip, was a day that wasn’t supposed to happen. Once again, Murphy’s Law took a swing at me and aimed another blizzard towards home. I had to push my flight back to a red-eye.

It turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened to me.

Thanks to Murphy, I got to experience flying in a full motion simulator, flew around the Hoover Dam, Valley of Fire and Grand Canyon, earned a high performance aircraft endorsement, and got a brief, free F-16 airshow (he passed under us a couple times). I joked later in the day with my friend that I felt like I had just gone through Aviation Bootcamp.

I got back home a couple hours ago and am completely exhausted. I’ll do a proper write-up of the day tomorrow, but for now here’s a short video from the flight simulator –

 

 

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Adventure Day 5, wow… just wow

Yesterday we flew from Lubbock, TX to Phoenix, AZ. It was an interesting flight – gusty winds (35 knots), IMC, moderate turbulence and something apparently called “p-static” (affected our comms, some of the electric displays and it even sent little charges through the right side of my headset).

An example of p-static in a Cirrus

Despite some occasional nail biting, the scenery along that stretch was amazing.

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Picture above is looking over the US/MX border. 

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Once we arrived in Phoenix, we hangared the new plane, had some lunch and switched to my friend’s personal plane.

There were definitely some interesting clouds awaiting our departure.

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The flight from Phoenix to Las Vegas was the highlight for me. The views were incredible and I really enjoyed flying left seat from takeoff to landing in the SR22. Despite the extra power, the plane handled very easily.

This stretch was thankfully less “interesting,”although we did fly through some IMC that required extra caution due to potential icing.

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The view above was looking out to the cloud layer at 8,000 feet a few minutes before we entered it. While temps stayed between 1-2 ° C, we kicked on the de-icer to play it safe.

I managed to make a really nice landing in Las Vegas, something I was quite proud of considering I’ve never landed a plane with that much horsepower.

Quite appropriately, shortly after we got his plane in the hangar, we turned and saw a beautiful rainbow.

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Not a bad way to conclude an amazing cross country adventure.

Unfortunately, a snowstorm is hitting home right now, so my flight back has been delayed. Turning a negative into a positive, we have plans today to play in a flight simulator and perhaps do some leisure flying around the Grand Canyon in the afternoon.

I’m exhausted and ready to be home with my family, but am so grateful for all the wonderful memories these last few days.

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Adventure Day 4, too tired for decent update

The title says it all. I’m exhausted. We put over 1,000 statute miles on the plane today flying from Ohio down to Texas. I wish I could update with something substantial, but I’m probably going to be out cold any minute now.

Tomorrow we’ll head over to Phoenix and then up to Vegas as the final destination.

Too may pictures from the day, so I’ll just toss out in a handful to prove it all happened… will do a larger update some time next week when I’m back home.

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Starting the morning at Phillipsburg Airport (Ohio)

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We had some IMC on the flight. Was beautiful on top.

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Fueling up at Salem Memorial Airport (Missouri)

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Windmills in Oklahoma

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We flew into the sunset.

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Great day…

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Oh, and for the curious… yes, I did manage to pick up the monkey!!!

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Saying goodbye to Oklahoma…

 

 

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Adventure Day 3, Some Issues…

Well, nothing is ever easy, but it could be worse. The plane is in overall good condition. Everything checked out well during the ground inspection. Unfortunately, a minor issue with the autopilot was discovered during the test flight and they want to see if they can sort it out this afternoon.

This means that we are not heading to St Louis tonight. However, even if they are unable to resolve the issue, we will still head south first thing tomorrow.

In the meantime, here’s the bird –

22002 Cirrus SR22

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Three men and a cat. My money is on the cat.

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I love a good 1970s style FBO/shop. Seriously, great place with great people… and they are renovating right now.

On a positive note, at least this means it can be beer o’clock!

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Adventure Day 2, National US Air Force Museum

Not much time to write. One of the other pilots arrived to Dayton late last night, so we are going to meet up for breakfast in a few minutes and then head to the airport to check out the plane. If weather is in favor, we should be departing the area and heading to St. Louis, MO early afternoon.

The big adventure is soon to begin!

Here are some pictures from yesterday, exploring the National US Air Force Museum.

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Now for some coffee to start the day.

 

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Adventure Day 1, Murphy’s Law dictates my life

There’s a guy named Murphy and he does this really annoying thing of making sure that what can go wrong in my life, will go wrong.

We’ve had a fairly mild winter up in the northeast this year… a few little snowfalls here and there, but nothing major. That was until my old nemesis, Murphy, caught wind that I was planning a big adventure. Hearing that I intended to fly from Boston to Dayton on Thursday, he decided to throw me a little curveball –

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Ok, ok… the Weather Service might have made some typos on that map.

Let’s try this one –

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As of Wednesday night, more than 2,500 flights had already been cancelled for Thursday.

I scrambled to make some phone calls and, thankfully, managed to get out town a day early.

Murphy’s curveball ended up not being the worst thing that could have happened. On my flight over, a man up in first class requested a seat change with me so that he could sit in the back with his friend. I’m pretty sure his “friend” was his mistress, but whatever.

Needless to say, it was a very nice flight…

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The icing on the cake was that when I got back to my hotel, tired and thinking I was ready for bed, I stumbled upon a really cool TV special on airplanes.

It ended up being a late night, but a good night.

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You missed me this time, Murphy.

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