Saturday, March 28, 2009

Las Vegas - Nephi - Bert Mooney / Beechcraft Bonanza A36 (N3758W) / VFR

This was an unusually long flight for me, flown in two legs, covering over 500 miles.

Inspired by a recent event near Butte, Montana, I decided to visit Bert Mooney airport. I happened to have one of my Bonanzas parked at Signature in Las Vegas, and I originally planned just to fly over to Perkins, on Lake Mead, but once I had come close to the airport, I just decided to keep on going.

I started out over Black Canyon and overflew Hoover Dam, because I like Hoover Dam. Then it was back out over the lake and up towards Perkins. As I got there, though, I thought to myself, “Why not just keep on going?” and so I did. I followed Interstate 15, which, by a happy coincidence, runs directly from Las Vegas up to Butte. I ended up going through St. George, then Cedar City, then up further north until I reached Nephi, a tiny airport not too far south of Salt Lake City, where I took a stopover for rest and refueling.

Later on, I continued up from Nephi. The weather got down to minimums as I approached and flew through Salt Lake City, and at times I could barely see the Great Salt Lake, even though I was practically over the eastern shore. The bad weather continued with snow flurries up through the mountains, and only gradually cleared. I flew on and on, doggedly following Interstate 15 for most of the way, and occasionally losing it, although the GPS and my charts helped me pick it back up. I got lost once and had some trouble dealing with some rather substantial mountains not too far south from my final destination. I finally got to Mooney, though.

Total time in the air was about 3.5 hours, which is a very long time for me. But it was interesting. Now I have to figure out where to go from Mooney. I think I'm closer to Seattle now than I am to Las Vegas, but I already have another Bonanza parked in Astoria, Oregon.