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Road trip: Fly the Grand Canyon

Experience world-class views

Road Trip

If you aren’t familiar with the Grand Canyon Special Flight Rules Area, flying the four scenic routes may seem daunting. You might wish that you could talk to someone who trains Grand Canyon scenic flight pilots. We’ve done that for you. Kippy Aldridge flew de Havilland Twin Otters over the canyon, which he calls his office, and has trained other Grand Canyon Airlines and Scenic Airlines pilots to do it. Even with the park’s airspace restrictions, you’ll see some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. The canyon gets very hot in summer, creating lots of turbulence. Spring and fall are the best seasons for colorful scenery and smooth air. Winter is even better, with a snow-decorated canyon beneath you, Aldridge said. The general aviation routes generally are not crowded, he added. Announce your entry and exit from each route (frequencies are on the chart), and get those cameras ready.

Why you should go:
1. Unique combinations of geologic colors.
2. 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and one mile deep.
3. One of the seven wonders of the world.

Alton Marsh

Alton K. Marsh

Freelance journalist
Alton K. Marsh is a former senior editor of AOPA Pilot and is now a freelance journalist specializing in aviation topics.

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