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Winter Desert Flying

Fabulous 50’s is an uplifting, gorgeous photo blog and regularly brightens my day. It also inspired me to post more pictures to share the beauty of flying.

I also thought it would be nice to provide a soundtrack to go along with the visual impressions.

I will start with some winter desert cross-country trips we took in a rented Cessna 172SP/G1000 on a recent trip to Las Vegas, NV. The Mojave desert wants to be explored by air. That is when it shows itself in all its expansive, vast and empty beauty. Mountains and canyons are canvases on which the light plays in changing tones of colour and shades. The soft pastels of dusk and dawn, the shadow play of the afternoon, the rich tones of the setting sun.

Aviation history is in the air, the story of countless unnamed heroic test pilots is palpable when navigating between vast MOAs. A bittersweet melancholy permeates the many warbird museums, with the planes silent witnesses of past horrors and victories. Friendly and knowledgeable veterans relate war-time stories, themselves relics of history. May we never forget.

At sunset, colors slowly fade to grey, going through a brilliant spectrum just before it gets dark. Pitch-black dark. A strange feeling to land at night, descending into a valley, discerning mountains rising to the left and right only on the terrain display of the MFD. What a comforting feeling to be able to follow a road. The sight of the airport beacon a much welcome relief – home! Below: Black – Above: Black – Left and Right: Black. A Runway outline on a black background. Behind it, a sea of lights in all colours, the city of Las Vegas.

On the way from Palm Springs (KPSP) to Henderson (KHND). A tiny, slow-moving plane in an enormous landscape that never gets boring.

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Pit-stop in Mesquite (KHQZ). Sleepy airport in the middle of nowhere…

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Flying over Palm Springs into Banning Pass, LA and the Pacific are on the other side.

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Approach to Palm Springs (KPSP).

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Nothing equals the deep satisfaction, the cosy, warm and relaxed feeling when tying down the plane at dusk after a long day of flying.

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Warbird museum at Palm Springs.

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The soft colour palette of dusk.

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Lookig down the strip at 11,000 feet, over the Bravo airspace of Las Vegas.

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The strip in all its colorful glory – like a toy city, built with LED-lighted legos by a creative child.

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The last bit of daylight on the leading edge, before night settles in.

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3 comments

  1. Thank you, Allistair. I checked out Sarum Flying School’s website. You have quite the fleet. Every flight school should have a Tigermoth or similar biplane in operation to honor the barnstorming days. Every pilot should hang upside down in an open cockpit with the wind in the struts. 🙂

  2. I just love the start of the film “The English Patient” flying over the dunes of the dessert in Africa, in fact only good thing about the film apart from Kristin Scott-Thomas. Thanks for the follow on my own website and hope you enjoy more posts. Let me know if you have any special requests from this part of the world. MM 🍀


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