On November 30, 2013 I had planned a flight to Moab, Dead Horse Point and the Arches with my Brother Tyler. When it was time to go I got a weather briefing that said that area was all fogged in. I had already rented the plane so I started looking for areas that were not covered in a low layer of fog. Bryce Canyon is on the way to Cedar city and was on the edge of the fog so we planned to head toward Bryce and see if it would be visible or not. This turned out to be the coolest trip ever. My brother Tyler introduces us to the flight while I do the preflight checks on the airplane.
I review our trip on an awesome IPad app called Foreflight and fill out a VFR (Visual Flight Rules=no flying in the clouds) flight plan. The flight plan is filed so the FAA knows where you were flying and knows where to search for you if you don’t call them when the flight is supposed to be over.
I start the engine up, listen to the weather or ATIS so I can set my altimeter and then run through the preflight checklist. The Cessna 172 we are flying has what is called a “glass cockpit”. Instead of the round dials typically found in an airplane there are two computer screens with maps and all the altitude, speed, and other pertinent information displayed on the screen. It is the agar in G1000 system. It can also show you where other airplanes are and show you what you would run into if you stay at your current altitude. They are amazing.
After completing all the run ups and checks on the engine we roll onto the runway and put in full power for take off. Once our speed gets to 64 Knots I pull back on the stick and climb off the ground I set the pitch so we climb up to altitude at 74 knots. We will eventually leave Heber and fly over Deer Creek Resevoir and out of Provo Canyon.
We approach Bryce and there is snow on the ground, but if you look in the distance there is a layer of fog that has no end. It goes as far as the eye can see like an ocean of fog. The coolest part is it stops right on the edge of Bryce so it looks mystical (you can see it even better in the next video). This same fog layer goes all the way to Moab and covers it all up. This is the reason we had to change our plans. After seeing what it looked like I am glad we changed our plans.
This video is actually over the Bryce Canyon red rock and formations. The video doesn’t do it justice it was beautiful.
This is a good picture of the fog and a video of us landing. After passing over Bryce we set up to land at Bryce Airport. The airport is to our left, we reduce our speed, lower our flaps and then turn left. We lower some more flaps when we are lined up we turn left again, lower flaps one more time and we slowly descend until we get to the runway. Once a couple feet above the runway we level out and let our speed bleed off. We raise our nose a little to bleed off more speed and to make sure the rear wheels touch down first.
As we taxi to park I call the FBO (fixed base of operations) and ask them to call us in a ride to Ruby’s inn. A van shows up, we jump in and go eat an all you can eat buffet lunch at Ruby’s. Following the lunch they give us a ride back to the airport and we head back to Heber.
This day is what flying is all about!