Desert Southwest Tour 2013

I finally did it. I flew the tour of the southwest that I had been planning for almost two years. 16.9 hours of flying and nine days later I am a wiser and more confident pilot who's learned how to enjoy flying alone. Many of my experiences are captured in this blog... I will return to these pages again and again to relive a very special experience.

 I took many, many pictures. Mostly one handed from within the plane or when sightseeing in Bryce and Sedona. I hope you enjoy them..

Day 1 - Calm Winds - RHV > WMC > BAM > EKO 
I fly the long solo cross country required for a commercial pilot's license and learn calm winds do not guarantee no turbulence when flying over the desert.

Day 2 - Flying Through - EKO > BCE
I realize how totally alone I really am flying solo over the Nevada and Utah deserts and land at Bryce Canyon Airport - with a pattern altitude of 8400 feet and density altitude of 9800 feet. I visit Bryce Canyon National Park and do the first and only major change of route for my trip.

Day 3 - Direct Sedona - BCE > SEZ
I fly to Sedona and experience some of the most spectacular scenery of the desert southwest from the air before performing a "carrier landing" on the USS Sedona. While there I reflect on 3 years of flying since my first flight. I also tour Sedona from the air via helicopter. Video of the approach and landing in Sedona here:

Day 5 - Headed West - SEZ > VNY
Time to turn my nose west and head back to California. I file and fly instrument from Sedona to Van Nuys, California and along the way learn how to not lean an engine for take off and how to loose 4000 feet in a hurry.

Day 6 - IMC Up, IMC Down - VNY > MYF
I get to use my instrument rating in the June Gloom clouds and some of the busiest airspace in the US. I carry my first and only passenger of the trip to San Diego. It was a nice change to be flying with a friend.

DSWT Day 7 and 8 - Here's to My Dad
I spend a couple days with my dad, siblings and spouse in San Diego. I also meet a record breaking pilot and get to celebrate my dad's retirement with family and friends.

DSWT Day 9 - Heading Home - MYF > RHV
The last leg of my trip. I do a quick flight in an RV-6 before a very speedy flight back from San Diego to home. 

My log book from the trip.

I still have many more places to visit in the desert southwest. I love the lonely and open spaces of the desert and I'm glad to have more reasons to take to the skies and see more of my favorite part of the country again and again.

More Destinations
  • Grand Canyon
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • Monument Valley
  • Taos, NM
  • Santa Fe, NM
  • Albuquerque, NM - Double Eagle Airport
  • Spaceport America
  • St. George, UT
  • Zion National Park
  • Other great Utah spots
  • More to come


  1. Between Flagstaff and St. George, if you can swing up that way, you may want to consider Page, AZ. The approach facing north is beautiful!

    1. Wow. Yeah.. I think I just might have to do that!