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Las Vegas, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley trip report



 
 
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  #1  
Old January 15th 08, 09:26 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Ron Lee[_2_]
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Posts: 233
Default Las Vegas, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley trip report

Try this Jay!

After my trips back east a hangar neighbor suggested going to the west
coast. Although I had planned a neat trip to Catalina Island,
Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks, I settled on a quickie trip to
Death Valley, Las Vegas and Monument Valley. Rick decided to go with
me. One weather cancellation and we finally departed early on 13
January. I had checked Weathermeister.com and noticed airmets for IFR
and mountain obscuration in the southwest Colorado and Utah areas.
Page AZ was overcast but projected to improve. Las Vegas and Death
Valley were good.

Rick departs from the Denver area and is overhead when I taxi out to
the runway. The trip across the mountains is uneventful but fog in
the Gunnison area would have made a precautionary landing iffy. As we
crossed the Utah border we saw apparent clouds or similar in the
distance that may have gone to the ground. We contact Flight Watch
and got the same info for possible mountain obscuration as revealed by
Weathermeister so it was correct ahead (not over our path in
Colorado). They had no actual weather observations so we headed
south. After a short while I looked at fueling options and without
knowing exactly where we might finally get clear weather in our
desired path, I got this funny feeling that it was not good to
proceed. It does happen at times in other endeavors and usually my
genetic makeup discounts the feeling. This time I acted on it,
discussed it with Rick (he was thinking the same thing) and we both
agreed to turn back and land at Blanding Utah to refuel and check the
weather. In the picture below you will see that turnaround in the
upper right part of the map.

http://home.pcisys.net/~ronlee/RV6A/...egas2Small.jpg

Due to our early departure we did not have visible satellite imagery
of our flight path. It is possible that having XM weather data might
have helped but it also may have just meant a landing at Blanding
without that wasted 100 plus mile diversion to the south. If someone
knows of a website of historical weather pics that might help in post
trip analysis.

On the ground in Blanding we decided to head west since the weather
appeared to be marginal well into Arizona. Once airborne it was
obvious that the situation had improved enough to safely continue.
The following picture shows Lake Powell and the clouds that were
closer to the gound earlier. In fact Navajo Mountain (beteeen
Monument valley and Page, AZ) was obscured on its eastern and possibly
southern faces so that area was IFR.

http://home.pcisys.net/~ronlee/RV6A/...owellSmall.jpg

This picture shows Rick as we approached the Lake Powell area.
Somewhere on the way out Rick noted the importance of Oxygen to fly
high. The terrain is not conducive to nice off-field landings and
some areas have few roads. Cell phone coverage is probably
non-existant which is why I carry a 406 MHz PLB and when flying alone
use flight following.

http://home.pcisys.net/~ronlee/RV6A/...owellSmall.jpg

As we approached Nevada we picked up flight following before
contacting Las Vegas approach. We flew almost over Henderson
Executive (KHND) so Rick could see and photograph Las Vegas to the
north. We continued west over two more mountain ranges to get to
Death Valley. The next picture is of the Badwater area which I think
is the lowest in the USA.

http://home.pcisys.net/~ronlee/RV6A/...BasinSmall.jpg

This is my trusted airplane on the ramp at Furnace Creek (L06) at an
altitude of -216 feet MSL.

http://home.pcisys.net/~ronlee/RV6A/...kRampSmall.jpg

The trip back to Henderson was uneventful except that I made a mistake
talking to approach control. The guy I got was not helpful and only
leads me to blow off contacting ATC to contribute to safe and orderly
traffic flow. In fact, if I have to do it again in that area...maybe
everywhere...I will just fly according to all approved and accepted
VFR rules and not talk to ATC. It may have the effect of causing
airliners to divert around me but when ATC wants to be rude and
unhelpful to a GA pilot, I will quit playing nice.

Vegas was Vegas. It is not going to be a frequent repeat destination.
Part two discusses the return trip
We took a taxi back to Henderson around 8 AM since the first free
shuttle would not arrive until 1030 AM which would have been
problematic for sunlight at home. Our plan was to cross the Grand
Canyon, fly up Marble Canyon, fly to Monument Valley then refuel at
Cortez, CO.

This picture is of the region a bit southwest of our canyon crossing:

http://home.pcisys.net/~ronlee/RV6A/...nyon1Small.jpg

This is me approaching the south rim of the Grand Canyon:

http://home.pcisys.net/~ronlee/RV6A/...anyonSmall.jpg

Here is Rick over Marble Canyon:

http://home.pcisys.net/~ronlee/RV6A/...anyonSmall.jpg

Here are the mittens in Monument Valley:

http://home.pcisys.net/~ronlee/RV6A/...ttensSmall.jpg

Finally here are the mountains to the left as we cross Wolf Creek
Pass:

http://home.pcisys.net/~ronlee/RV6A/...kPassSmall.jpg

The rest of the trip home was also uneventful. According to Rick we
traveled about 1600 miles and over eleven hours of flying. Rick has
now been to the highest and lowest airports in the continental US and
may now be motivated to get his oxygen system installed.

Ron Lee



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  #2  
Old January 16th 08, 03:01 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Jay Honeck[_2_]
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Posts: 943
Default Las Vegas, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley trip report

Awesome trip, Ron! And great pix -- thanks for sharing them.

We've flown out that way several times in Atlas, and once with this group's
own Jim Burns, and I'm always struck by the total desolation of that part of
the country. Iowa may not have a lot of people in it, but it is totally
developed from border to border, with most of it under cultivation. The
states of the desert Southwest are just...empty. And beautiful.

The trip back to Henderson was uneventful except that I made a mistake
talking to approach control. The guy I got was not helpful and only
leads me to blow off contacting ATC to contribute to safe and orderly
traffic flow. In fact, if I have to do it again in that area...maybe
everywhere...I will just fly according to all approved and accepted
VFR rules and not talk to ATC. It may have the effect of causing
airliners to divert around me but when ATC wants to be rude and
unhelpful to a GA pilot, I will quit playing nice.


Care to flesh that out? I've never run across an approach controller so bad
that he made me want to stop using Flight Following! In the Midwest,
anyway, they're usually quite cordial and helpful.

Vegas was Vegas. It is not going to be a frequent repeat destination.


Agree. I really, really like Vegas -- for about four days. After that, the
place just grates on my nerves.
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"

  #3  
Old January 16th 08, 04:06 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
xyzzy
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Posts: 193
Default Las Vegas, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley tripreport

Great pictures, except for this one:


This is my trusted airplane on the ramp at Furnace Creek (L06) at an
altitude of -216 feet MSL.

http://home.pcisys.net/~ronlee/RV6A/...eCrekRampSmall...


Trying to load this one got this message:

The page isn't redirecting properly

Firefox has detected that the server is redirecting the request for
this address in a way that will never complete.







  #4  
Old January 16th 08, 04:26 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Ron Lee[_2_]
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Posts: 233
Default Las Vegas, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley trip report

The trip back to Henderson was uneventful except that I made a mistake
talking to approach control. The guy I got was not helpful and only
leads me to blow off contacting ATC to contribute to safe and orderly
traffic flow. In fact, if I have to do it again in that area...maybe
everywhere...I will just fly according to all approved and accepted
VFR rules and not talk to ATC. It may have the effect of causing
airliners to divert around me but when ATC wants to be rude and
unhelpful to a GA pilot, I will quit playing nice.


Care to flesh that out? I've never run across an approach controller so bad
that he made me want to stop using Flight Following! In the Midwest,
anyway, they're usually quite cordial and helpful.


I don't recall everything he said but it included "Stay out of Class
B, I won't provide terrain info, navigation..." and whatever else he
said. My impression of his words and tone was "Why am I even staying
on this frequency?"

My point was not that I will not use flight following rather I may no
longer talk to approach controllers near Class B. They seem to
dislike GA aircraft.

I had contacted LA center a reasonable distance from Las Vegas to
facilitate ATC separartion of my flight with airliners going into
KLAS. Going west just south of KLAS was not an issue with approach.
It was coming back from Death Valley that the "service" left me with a
sour view of them.

On the up side, the controller at Henderson was wonderful.

The same sort of thing happens near home. Some of the controllers at
COS are surly towards GA aircraft wheras the folks at PUB are friendly
and a joy to work with.

Ron Lee






  #5  
Old January 16th 08, 06:18 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
Ron Lee[_2_]
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Posts: 233
Default Las Vegas, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley trip report

Great pictures, except for this one:

This is my trusted airplane on the ramp at Furnace Creek (L06) at an
altitude of -216 feet MSL.

http://home.pcisys.net/~ronlee/RV6A/...eCrekRampSmall...



Put the second e in creek and everything is fine


Correct. It should have been creek. I also corrected the elevation
to -210 feet per airnav.com

Ron Lee



  #6  
Old January 16th 08, 09:45 PM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
[email protected]
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Posts: 2,878
Default Las Vegas, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley trip report

Ron Lee wrote:

I don't recall everything he said but it included "Stay out of Class
B, I won't provide terrain info, navigation..." and whatever else he
said. My impression of his words and tone was "Why am I even staying
on this frequency?"


My point was not that I will not use flight following rather I may no
longer talk to approach controllers near Class B. They seem to
dislike GA aircraft.


I had contacted LA center a reasonable distance from Las Vegas to
facilitate ATC separartion of my flight with airliners going into
KLAS. Going west just south of KLAS was not an issue with approach.
It was coming back from Death Valley that the "service" left me with a
sour view of them.


On the up side, the controller at Henderson was wonderful.


The same sort of thing happens near home. Some of the controllers at
COS are surly towards GA aircraft wheras the folks at PUB are friendly
and a joy to work with.


Hmmm.

On my last trip into Henderson I had planned out a path on the GPS
with stepped decents and curves to keep me out of class B while
avoiding the hills all the way in.

At about Jean, I called Las Vegas approach for flight following into
Henderson.

After getting a code and identified, Las Vegas approach gave me the
Henderson ATIS and cleared through class B without asking, so I
abandoned the curvy path, pointed the airplane at Henderson and
set up a constant decent.

Either you got the duty asshole of the day or somehow you ticked
the controller off.


--
Jim Pennino

Remove .spam.sux to reply.
  #8  
Old January 17th 08, 12:27 AM posted to rec.aviation.piloting
BT
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Posts: 995
Default Las Vegas, Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley trip report


I don't recall everything he said but it included "Stay out of Class
B, I won't provide terrain info, navigation..." and whatever else he
said. My impression of his words and tone was "Why am I even staying
on this frequency?"

My point was not that I will not use flight following rather I may no
longer talk to approach controllers near Class B. They seem to
dislike GA aircraft.


LAS is in a bowl, high terrain all around.. I called approach one time for a
Class B transition from south to north landing at VGT. I was squawked and
ID'd, then given headings and altitudes to fly that effectively kept me
clear of Class B. I could have done the same on my own.

On another occasion, from Boulder City Airport to VGT, again a call, and a
shuffle from freq to freq with the "remain clear of Class B" calls until
finally I am over Lake Las Vegas (NE) and thinking I'll just go around
Nellis (Frenchman and Sunrise Mountain) to the NE of the airbase and come in
VFR that way. Finally the last controller got me through "nellis class B"
airspace to VGT. Now this is not "nellis class B", but the portion of Class
B controlled my the military approach controllers, and it was on a weekend.
Not much flying.

Last trip.. departing VGT to the SE, that means a Class B transition. VGT
VFR Tower gets me a squawk, freq and recommended heading (SW) to remain
clear of class B. I get up and going, and all I get from Approach is
"continue west, remain clear". Finally I get the "unable class B, go around,
freq change approved, See ya."

Going around adds 30 min or more to the flight in the Seneca II at $$$ per
hour.

Standard routing south/north is from over or near HND, to the approach end
of Rwy 25, or fly heading 010 if northbound until cleared direct VGT,
maintain 4500MSL. North to south, from the NE, direct approach end Rwy 19,
Approach end Rwy 25, flyin heading (SE) maintain 5500MSL.

And I LIVE HERE !!!
BT


 




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