SE Utah is an off-the-charts, super cool place to fly an AirCam.
Enjoy daily treks to places like Valley of the Gods, the fingers of Lake Powel, the area surrounding Moab including Arches and Canyonlands national parks and more. These places are spectacular to see from the ground, but when viewed from an AirCam the visual experience is almost indescribable. The end of each day becomes an AirCam social event as our group gets together to share the experiences of the day.
We will base the planes at Blanding Airport (KBDG) where there is plenty of ramp space, 100LL fuel and a small FBO building with restrooms.We’ll stay in the nearby town of Bluff which offers great accommodations and many superb restaurants.
Many in our group will stay at the either the Desert Rose Bluff or Recapture Lodge. Check out their websites and book your reservations early because we expect both of them to fill up. If those hotels are full, or don’t suit your needs, there are others available. The town of Bluff is very small and all of the hotels are relatively close to each other so it’s not super important which hotel you choose.
Dates: our group will be in Bluff from September 11th to the 17th. Since it’s such a beautiful place and individual schedules can vary, some may choose to arrive early, and some may choose to stay longer. AirCam factory reps will be on site beginning Sunday September 11th and we plan to depart for home the following Saturday morning, September 17th.
Most of us will keep our planes at the Blanding airport (BDG) which has a decent ramp with good tie downs, Avgas and restrooms. (Bring your own ropes to be sure you have a tie down) We also recommend traveling with a Claw tie down and a cover for your AIrCam.
Most in our group are staying in Bluff which is about a 20 min drive south of the Blanding
We recommend trying to get a rental car for ground transportation during your stay.
The nearest airport where rental cars are available is Cortez CO. Enterprise Emerald Club members can reserve a car for pick up at the Cortez airport (CEZ) by calling the Enterprise FBO rental number 877 421 3722 and making a reservation at least 24 hours in advance of intended pick up. You will need to have your Emerald Club member number available when you call to make the reservation. The FBO is Cortez Flying Service. Their number is 877 421 3722. Cortez is 45nm from Blanding by air.
Those flying in via airlines can rent a car at the airport of arrival.
Airports with commercial fights listed nearest first.
- Cortez CO CEZ
- Grand Junction CO GJT
- Salt Lake City SLC
- Phoenix PHX
Our ground crew is flying into PHX and picking up our rental vehicles there.
Lockwood Aircraft will have a 7-passenger van available to help transport people between Bluff and Blanding beginning mid-day Sunday, Sept 11 and ending Friday evening. The van will leave Bluff each morning at about 7:00 am from the Twin Rock Cafe and again at 8:00 am till everyone who wants to get up to Blanding has made it. The van will make a run back from Blanding to Bluff, after the morning flying, at about 11:30 am. Ian Lockwood will be driving that van and he will coordinate transport with those who need it throughout the day. We will just have the one van so be patient and we will do our best to help those without transportation get to dinner and to the Blanding airport. In some cases, multiple runs may be needed so there could be some waiting time.
Each day, during the week, we will organize a group flight. Depending on how many want to go we may split up into two groups. Some may choose to fly on their own or with one other AirCam and others will prefer to fly with a group. Although the weather is normally quite good in Southeastern Utah this time of year there will be some variability. We like to fly in the mornings before the winds pick up and usually plan to be back in Blanding by about 11:00 am. The flying in this area is spectacular, especially when viewed from an AirCam. Based on the short-term weather forecast we will pick two days for longer group flights that will depart in the morning and return in the early afternoon. Likely destinations for the day trips will be Moab or Page.
Tips for flying the area.
The first rule is don’t bring attention to yourself and stay away from people, vehicles and structures on the ground. It will only take one mistake by one pilot to cause a problem for everyone. Don’t be that pilot! You can fly low, safely, without bringing attention to yourself or annoying anyone quite easily. Remember the 500 ft rule in sparsely populated areas. This is wide open country and its very easy to stay at least 500 ft away from people and ground vehicles. Don’t make any abrupt maneuvers while flying low. Steep decent angles can be interpreted as an imminent crash landing from a distance, and we don’t want someone from the ground calling 911 to report a crash landing that didn’t occur. Avoid steep bank turns while down low both for your safety and so as not to draw attention to your flying.
Keep your speed down in the 60 – 75 mph range when flying low. At the low power settings needed to fly at these speeds the AirCam is extremely quiet. This is a huge advantage when you’re trying to be stealthy. Don’t forget to raise your flaps as flap positions below about 5 degrees increase your propeller noise. Stay away from wildlife and if you see people on the ground warn others in your group so they can stay clear of them.
Stay clear of canyons and don’t fly down wind of buttes and other turbulence makers once the wind has picked up. For this reason, we try to do our low level flying early in the morning. The winds here tend to pick up by 11:00am.
When flying in a group agree on your flying order with the designated leader being #1 and the next plane #2 and so on. Avoid flying next to anyone unless you have both agreed to do so in advance and have formation flying experience. Always keep the next plane ahead of you in site and don’t fly directly behind and below another aircraft to avoid wake turbulence.
The main air to air frequency 122.75
If that frequency is too busy, we sometimes use “Fingers” 123.45 which is officially designated for Transoceanic communications but is often used inland for air-to-air communications.
Breakfast and Dinner.
We have made arrangements with the Twin Rocks Café to accommodate our group each night for dinner at 6:00 pm. This is a great time to swap stories and share your AirCam experiences with other AirCam enthusiasts. A hardy breakfast will be available to anyone in our group at 6:30 AM. Finding a place that could handle large group this year was challenging so we appreciate their willingness to accommodate us. They are normally closed on Wednesday and Thursday but will open on those days for the early breakfast and the 6:00 pm dinner for our AirCam group. Beer and wine are available with dinner at the Twin Rocks Café. Everyone will be expected to pay for their own meals.
Some of the hotels also offer some type of breakfast.
The group meals are always optional, should you prefer to eat elsewhere, but we encourage everyone to take advantage of the social opportunity they present.
The Twin Rocks Café is easily found on the north side of Bluff. You will pass right by it the way to Blanding.
Everyone is on their own for lunch.
We have reserved the Bluff Community center for seminars on Monday and Wednesday from 3:00 to 5:00pm. Both seminars will be given by Phil Lockwood.
Monday will be tips for safe low-level flying in an AirCam.
Wednesday will be on the Rotax 9 series engines including service and maintenance tips.
Group flight from Sebring to Blanding
Two groups of Aircams are planning to depart from Sebring FL and make the trip to Banding Utah. The first group will depart on the morning 0f Monday Sept 5th and the second on the morning of Tuesday, September 6th. Our Demo AirCam, N87PL, will lead the second group. You can track the progress via flight aware. Robert Meyer will help to coordinate with those who would like to join one of the groups enroute through our main office.
Due to the great distances many of you will travel we have anticipated some will need an oil change while in Blanding. For this reason, we have arranged to have a Rotax technician on site at the Blanding airport. Most of us will be using 100LL fuel during the trip which requires an oil change interval of no more than 50 hours. We have shipped oil, filters and the necessary tools from Sebring to Blanding. Oil changes will be available for a flat rate off $400 per AirCam for both engines. This includes disposing of the old oil and logbook entries. At this time, we do not anticipate being able to process credit cards on site, so cash or check are preferred. As an alternative you can call into our main office, when they are open, and pay over the phone with a card number prior to the service being performed. Jeremy Endsley and his Wife Kay are traveling with us from FL to handle this task and we greatly appreciate having them available. Oil Changes can be scheduled for Monday through Friday and can be coordinated on site. Service on Friday will end at noon to give us time to pack up the tools and remaining supplies. Our mechanic and ground crew will be departing early Saturday morning, September 17th. If you will need an oil change prior to departure, please get it done as early in the week as possible. We will only be able to handle about 4 oil changes per day.