Follow me on my trip in a Cessna 152 above the wonders of the American West.

LEG 3/10
En français...

Clickable Map of the trip (90 KB)

San Francisco 
Sierra Nevada 
Mammoth Lake
Death Valley
Sky Ranch Estates
Boulder City
Las Vegas
Grand Canyon
Colorado River 
Mojave Desert
Big Bear City 
Los Angeles
Santa Catalina Island
Santa Ynez 
Back to San Carlos

From Death Valley to Sky Ranch Estates

I was worried about taking off in such hot air (remember, the hotter it is, the thinner the air, and Death Valley is really hot ! Your engine is less powerful in thin air, and the air sucks your wings upward less and less). But the below-sea-level altitude largely made up for the high temperature and soon I was flying again. I decided to follow the road - not a bad idea in the desert.

Picture of a street pattern in the middle of the desert - interesting !
Street patterns in the middle of the desert.

When I caught sight of what is in the picture above, I checked my map to see I was seeing right! It said Street pattern. How could it be, right in the middle of the desert between Death Valley and Las Vegas, where only a single dirt road passes by? A defunct government project? A still-born ghost town? I still don't know, but as you can see, it looks like the remains of a city that was never built. Developers have bad times too, it seems.

Giant green circles in the desert - artificial cultures
Culture in the middle of nowhere.

Sky Ranch Estate

A picture I managed to get of the Sky Ranch after taking off.

I had seen the name of this airfield on the map and, hoping to spend the night there, I decided to check if it was one of these pilot communities I had read about.

It was exactly that, though I was very disappointed. Buy a plot of land in the most desolate place you can find, (making sure first of all, that it has a dry climate) build an airfield right in the middle and add houses around it one after the other. Remember to build a two-car garage and a hangar beside each house and connect them all to the runway with taxiways. Now, you have built a Sky Ranch Estate.

I had stopped with the idea of maybe spending the night there, but as the retired airplane mechanic who refueled my plane explain to me, there were absolutely no shops whatsoever in this community. I asked where they bought their food, and the reply came "Take the plane. Go to Vegas." That was it. I left for better skies, heading east.

Go to the clickable map to see the other legs and pictures of the trip, or use the arrows on your left if your connection is slow. Or proceed directly to the

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