Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Echo Bay - Desert Rock / Beechcraft Bonanza A36 (N3759W) / VFR

After loitering around Echo Bay for a time (very boring), I decided to visit the Department of Energy's airport just on the border of the Nellis Range. The DOE is always happy to let me visit their Desert Rock airport.

The wind was still from the east, so I took off over the Lake Mead and stayed over the water as I moved towards Sin City, mainly because it somehow seemed cooler over the lake (it was blistering hot at Echo Bay). I was cleared into the Las Vegas Class B and I advised that I wanted to make the Cortez transition, which was approved at 4500 feet.

The Cortez transition starts over Wash Marina, which is hard to spot apart from a small expanse of concrete, and right now it's pretty far from the water. I had the coordinates, though, and put those into the GPS just to be extra sure. From there, I was to cross the El Cortez Hotel, which is mighty hard to spot (it has a hokey sign on it, but I still had trouble spotting it)—fortunately I had coordinates for that, too. From there, I turned towards North Las Vegas Airport. After crossing the airport, I slipped to the west side of Highway 95 (the “E.T. Highway”) and stayed on the west side all the way up to the Mercury NDB (which is out of service, but I've been this way before so pilotage sufficed). I know that as long as I'm on the west side of the highway, I'm not in restricted airspace.

I made a smooth landing at Desert Rock, this time checking to see that the wind was in my favor. Desert Rock is just as bleak as Echo Bay, but I scarcely intend to linger here. I did manage to fill the tanks.