Tuesday, February 17, 2009

CANYONS FROM THE TOP

My husband and I had planned a road trip to the Canyons in December last year. It's not the best time of year but we figured that since we were in Vegas we may as well go see the Canyons. We were tracking the notorious winter weather closely to make sure we weren't headed into any snow storms. Sure enough, a day before our planned departure from Vegas to Arizona, the road to the Canyons was closed because of a huge pile up of snow. Bummer. We would simply have to come back another time. Or so we thought.

Later that evening everything changed.

We have a cousin in Vegas who is a Captain in the US Air Force. He was planning to fly his parents and his wife over the Canyons the following day but his wife and mom (who fly frequently) changed their mind. So with two empty seats in the four seater, would we care to join?

When you can't drive, you fly??!! Our reply was obviously, "Hell Yeah!"

What follows is a photo essay of our flight.

Our cousin, Abizer Tyabji is a member of a flying club in Vegas from whom he rents his planes. We took off in the afternoon from the North Las Vegas Airfield. This is a view of the hangar. If you have a pilot's license its almost as easy as renting a car.


That day we flew a DA-40 - made by Diamond Aircraft Company. It is a four-seater and flies at about 140 mph ground speed. Abzi was flying this plane for the first time and really enjoyed it.

The best part was the wide glass paneling which afforded some wonderful panoramic views.

Abzi (left) preparing for the flight. Pulling out the gear such as headphones etc. I don't really know what else was in there.

Captain Abizer Tyabji

All aboard. Our only instructions were to keep quiet if ATC was talking to Abzi. We were first going to fly over the Hoover Dam and then onto the Canyons.

Thats the Hoover Dam down there. We just couldn't get over how Plan B and Plan A became Plan A +.


This is the source from where Vegas gets its water supply. The first picture is a close up of the sides of the reservoir. The sharp colour difference on the rim of the rock tells you how much the water has depleted.

Finally we are over the west rim of the Canyons. This is a landing strip for other commercial tours that fly over.

Captain Abizer Tyabji hanging out in his plane. He said it was easier to fly this baby than navigate in Vegas traffic.


It was a gorgeous day to fly - cold with a clear blue sky. The cold made it very comfortable inside the plane while the clear blue sky meant our plane was gliding like a happy bird.

After flying over the Canyons we flew over Abzi's Air Force Base on the way back. The little mounds that you can see in this photograph is where ammunition is stored - mostly dumb bombs for training and practice.

If you didn't guess already, yes those are F-16s sitting on the base.

We also had the pleasure of flying over the Vegas prison where O.J. Simpson is being held. Simpson has been sentenced to a maximum of 33 years with the possibility of parole after 9 years. He was involved in an armed confrontation with sports memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas Hotel in 2007.

A view of the Strip. Abzi didn't get permission to fly right over it but this was also a good view.

We were in the air for about two hours flying over the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon West, the US Air Force Base, O.J. Simpson's prison (!), Abzi's house, the Strip and finally touched down again at the North Las Vegas Airfield.

Like you do with a rental car, Abzi had to refuel the plane before returning it to a hangar. We used about 18 gallons for the flight.

This plane is so light, he could single-handedly lift it and turn it to get this wing near enough to the fuel station.

Pushing it though is a little bit tougher but three strong men can do the job.

The flight ends, Abzi clears it out and locks it down. Abzi and his wife fly all the time but for us it was a wonderful, thrilling ride.

4 comments:

Neodawn said...

I paid $200 for a 10 minute helicopter ride over the Canyons... and you get to see all this for 18-gallons (Read: free)... :|

Sathej said...

Oh that would have been a wonderful flight indeed, Alaphia:) Helps a lot to have such a cousin! :) Nice pics..

Sathej

Alaphia said...

Hi Neodawn and Sathej,

Thanks! It sure is wonderful to have a cousin with a pilot's license.

RAJI MUTHUKRISHNAN said...

Breathtaking views. And a useful cousin to have!