Jean recently invited me to travel with her to Las Vegas for a consulting gig.
“My meeting is from 8am until noon,” she said. “We can fly over the night before, go out to dinner, and be home by mid-afternoon.”
“Sign me up!” I said, glad to support my wife’s mission with our Flying Carpet. She accepted, and her client booked us a room. Just days before the event, Jean received her itinerary.
“This isn’t what I expected,” she said. “The meeting now lasts until 3:30, but that shouldn’t be any big deal.” But I was slightly more concerned. At that time of year Las Vegas is an hour earlier than Flagstaff, with sunset at 4:15pm. By the time Jean got to the airport, darkness would be approaching.
Along many routes that wouldn’t be a particularly big deal, but this would be a moonless night over remote country with few landing sites. What’s more, high terrain west of Flagstaff approaches 10,000 feet, and north of the city lies 12,600-foot Humphreys Peak. I proposed that we stay an extra night.
“Keep in mind that we scheduled home repairs for the following morning,” said Jean. “I set it up months ago. And I have a work project to finish. Could we fly home safely that evening after my meeting?”
For the rest of the story, read Greg’s entire Flying Carpet column about this adventure, “Night Flight from Vegas.” (Please allow a moment for the article to load.)
Photo: Final rays of sunset linger over the Las Vegas Strip as we depart McCarran International Airport (visible at lower left). See more photos here.
©2013 Gregory N.Brown (This column first appeared in the August, 2013 AOPA Flight Training magazine.)