Southwest flying destinations


For my fellow “AOPA Live” fans, here is a reblog of my Southwest Destinations post.

Greg Brown's Flying Carpet Blog

Acoma957e909SmWReaders often ask me for Southwest flying destinations. Flying New Mexico and Arizona is generally less challenging than the more northerly Rockies. Density altitude is an issue, but our lower terrain offers more route options for circumnavigating weather. We get afternoon turbulence and thunderstorms here, so summertime flying is best done in early mornings and late afternoons. (For more on regional flying weather, see Tom Horne’s terrific book, Flying America’s Weather.) It would be wise to study mountain flying before piloting the West for your first time. (For starters, check out AOPA’s free online Mountain Flying course.)

Some of my favorite Southwest destinations:

  • Durango, Colorado: ride the Durango & Silverton steam train; kayak rapids through town!
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico: founded by the Spaniards in 1608, with adobe buildings dating from that era. The 2nd oldest city in the country after St. Augustine, Florida. Dining, history, art…

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3 Responses to “Southwest flying destinations”

  1. Hi Greg, enjoyed this! Especially the NM and AZ destinations. My husband and I are both pilots and flew to Sedona from Michigan in July ’16 and got married right at SEZ on the ramp next to our airplane! We flew over several of the sites you mentioned. Our airplane is our flying carpet too! We enjoy your column!

    • Thank you, Sue, for your kind words. What a place to get married, on the SEZ ramp! What model is your flying carpet? I love your wonderful photos and interesting destinations on your blog page. So different than where I normally fly!

      • Hi Greg, Thank you for your kind words as well. It was a great wedding. Just the two of us and our airplane. In fact, our story is scheduled to be included in the Dec. issue of Pilot Mag. We have two airplanes, a North American Navion and a Cherokee 140. Our magic carpet for the trip out west however was the Navion. The IO 550 engine made it a much better aircraft for the hot weather and high elevations. Randy had the Navion completely refurbished a few years back. Part of the renovation was to copy Brent Hisey’s “Miss America” P-51, red, white and blue paint scheme. In fact, one of the stops on our wedding trip was to OK City to meet Dr. Hisey. We got the two planes together for a meeting, shot some photos and even flew in formation together! What a thrill! It was truly a bucket list experience. Not many women can claim to have had an airplane as their “maid of honor” lol. I have the trip documented, including photos of the twin airplanes in my July blog pages featuring our trip. Us aviators are sure a fortunate bunch aren’t we? : )

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