Hey Friends, check out “Thunderstorm with Rainbow,” my latest “View from the Flying Carpet” Fine Art Metal Print, available in two variations!
I photographed “Thunderstorm with Rainbow,” from the Flying Carpet, en route from Flagstaff, Arizona, to Albuquerque, New Mexico.
I’m offering this print in 2 variations: “Wide View” & “Close View.” Can’t decide which to order? Consider “Wide View” for larger print sizes, and “Close View” for smaller sizes.
Like all my Fine Art Metal Prints, “Thunderstorm with Rainbow,” ready-to-hang pricing starts at just $135, with super-affordable shipping throughout the Continental US all the way up to the largest sizes.
This year’s focus, “In the Shadow of the Peaks,” features 13 extraordinary landmarks, all within sight of Northern Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks, photographed from the Flying Carpet at all times of year.
I was returning my wife Jean and her tennis teammate Jenny from a tournament in El Paso. Five long hours round trip by Flying Carpet, and it was too hazy to see anything special… until 15 minutes from home.
There we encountered these vivid, horizon-to-horizon sunflowers sweeping from Lake Mary toward the San Francisco Peaks. Never have we seen anything like this before! This turns out to be Northern Arizona’s most amazing wildflower year in memory, and we’re thrilled to have captured even a tiny fragment of it from aloft.
Nowhere is the power of numbers more boldly reflected than in these fields of sunflowers captured from a speeding airplane thousands of feet in the air!
Like all my Fine Art Metal Prints, “Miles and Miles of Sunflowers,” ready-to-hang pricing starts at just $125, with super-affordable 2-day shipping throughout the Continental US.
This colorful 11″x17″ calendar features thirteen views over Arizona’s spectacular Red Rock Country captured at all times of year.
Few of us view calendar covers after opening, so Greg turned the cover photo 90 degrees to create an 11″x17″ Sedona vista suitable for framing. (Monthly photos are 8½” x 11″, with plenty of space for daily notes.)
You are hereby officially authorized to remove and frame the cover photo, either to remind you of past Sedona visits, or to inspire future ones!
Attending a kid’s 4th birthday party might sound unimportant, but Jean and I felt high emotional stakes in flying to Alamogordo, New Mexico for the occasion.
Our son and daughter-in-law Austin and Desi and their children had recently moved there from overseas. That would make our grandson’s “pirate pool party” our first family celebration together in six years.
Alamogordo is nine hours’ drive from Flagstaff, but less than three hours by Flying Carpet. Perusing the charts, I was pleased to find manageable terrain en route. However, a 140-mile thicket of restricted airspace encompasses nearby White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base, blocking general aviation access from the west. High mountains and additional military airspace also limit access from the east.
That leaves two flying routes from Arizona, neither direct. Shortest is to fly east beyond Socorro to JUPTR intersection, then steer 90 miles south between military airspace and the Sacramento Mountains. The longer alternative is to fly southeast to El Paso over high and remote terrain, then thread an exceedingly narrow 60-mile corridor northward between restricted areas. Both routes are comfortably flyable in good weather, but given such tight quarters each can be blocked over many miles by a single thunderstorm…
Smoky air filled my cockpit as I navigated the final miles home. Thankfully the odor emanated from outside the airplane, but it was stressful and unpleasant all the same. Still, today had been a delightful and practical Flying Carpet mission.
Our son Austin has worked overseas the last few years, necessitating storing his car in California. While visiting Flagstaff for a few days, he’d asked that we retrieve it for his family’s pending return to the States. The pickup location was just a mile from San Diego’s Gillespie Airport (KSEE), and we’d enjoy some family piloting in the process.
After shuffling our planned schedule due to weather, we launched for Gillespie on the one good flying day during Austin’s brief visit. Jean joined us to share driving duties back to Flagstaff.
Even the nicest flying days offer surprises. Thirty minutes after takeoff, Phoenix Approach vectored us around Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University traffic holding at Drake VOR near Prescott. Then Albuquerque Center radioed asking about a possible wildfire off our right wing as we crossed the Colorado River…
**READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN,“CAR SHUTTLE“** (mobile optimized version here)
Photo: “Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (KFLG) materializes behind a wall of forest-fire smoke.”
Except for two brief local hops, I haven’t flown in a month. First rain stopped me, then weeks of winds gusting as high as 48 knots.
Today I awoke to the first beautiful morning in forever. I long to fly! I’ve scheduled routine avionics maintenance next week in Prescott—perhaps they could take me today instead. Nope, I call but they’re too busy.
“Jean, want to fly somewhere for breakfast?”
“No, I’m playing tennis this morning.” (No kidding; she really says that to me all the time.)
Okay, if I can’t find anyone to join me I’ll go myself. No way am I letting a morning like this pass after being grounded for weeks, mission or not. I grab a weather briefing to Payson. It’s a mere 30-minute flight, but scenic, and the field’s Crosswinds Restaurant boasts great affordable food and a “million-dollar view” of the towering Mogollon Rim.
Who might consider joining me for such a mission, at the last minute on a weekday morning? It’s a long shot but I phone my nature-photographer buddy Don Hill. He and Barb are usually booked busy but today she’s out of town visiting relatives, and…
“Yeah, I’d love to go, Greg! I’ll just load my camera with a fresh memory card and battery and meet you at the airport.”
Don starts snapping photos as our wheels leave the ground. It’s bumpier than I expected, but Don says it doesn’t bother him. I guess a guy who served in Vietnamese river ships in Viet Nam has experienced worse than a little turbulence…
I awoke to a text from my friend Sergio Schaar of San Antonio, asking if I’d noticed the airline-window view of Flagstaff he’d posted online. I had, and wondered at the time where he might be going.
“We’re in Las Vegas to see Rascal Flats; Deanna is a big fan.” he explained. “When I spotted the San Francisco Peaks from 40,000 feet coming from Texas yesterday, it didn’t take long to identify Flag.” I asked how long the two were staying in Vegas.
“We’re leaving tomorrow at noon,” he replied.
“Ugh. I was thinking of flying over tomorrow to meet you for lunch. You’re only 90 minutes from Flagstaff by Flying Carpet, practically in the neighborhood.”
“That’s a cool idea—how about today?!” wrote Sergio. This is what airplanes are for, right? So I texted back “Sure!” and scrambled to get up and out the door to the airport.
It proved to be a sparkling clear day, with light winds on the ground and aloft. En route to Las Vegas I entertained myself ogling vistas of the western Grand Canyon. In seemingly no time, I rendezvoused with my friends at Henderson Executive Airport (KHND).
Jean and I first met Sergio and his son Max three years ago when they toured the Southwest in their 180hp Cessna 172, the Green Hornet. (See Flying Carpet Tour, FT 6/13.) We dined with Sergio and Deanna in San Antonio a few months later, but that’s the last time I’d seen them in person.
Sergio flies often, including numerous Pilots N Paws missions, and excitedly revealed that he’s changing careers to pursue pro piloting. He recently earned his commercial pilot certificate, and just enrolled for flight-instructor training.
Deanna backs Sergio’s dream 100%, having left a corporate job to indulge her own passion for animals with a thriving pet-sitting business. What an inspiring couple! A brief but fulfilling hour later, my friends dashed off to catch the shuttle back to the Strip.
I was cruising happily homeward through cobalt skies, when a nasty odor filled the cockpit…