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CoolFlying – Hidden Splendor backcountry strip in Utah

There are lots of reasons why we go flying but the ability to go places and see things that are really only accessible by aircraft are at the heart of many of the things we do in planes. For me, I love the mountains and the thought of being able to get in an aircraft and go flying up and around them is really enticing. Of course its not quite that simple, particularly for us Flatlanders in Wisconsin! Before you venture out you need appropriate training like the mountain flying course provided by the Colorado Pilots Association and its well worth going along with CFI or experienced pilot who knows the hills, the landing strips and their peculiarities before trying it on your own.

For those of us who cant make it to the mountains just yet we can get a taste of what this type of flying is like from some of the great online videos that pilots are posting on sites like YouTube and Vimeo. I came across a video of the approach, landing and take off from the Hidden Splendor strip in eastern Utah and thought that this is a great example of some of the cool things you can see and do in a plane.

Here’s a map of the general area using Google’s terrain view so you can get a better idea of the topography of the area. The strip is under the green arrow and runs roughly NNW-SSE and you land to the north, take off to the south. In addition to the backcountry strip the other entertaining part is the approach flown along the canyon of the Muddy River which is the twisty-turny canyon to the SSE of the strip.


View Larger Map

If you look at the sectional charts the strip is not marked but its on the far eastern edge of the Las Vegas sectional. So now you know roughly where it is and what the terrain looks like nearby, have a look at the video. The flight starts out in the open before entering the muddy creek canyon, near the bottom right of the map section shown above. Follow the flight on the terrain map above to get a better feel for what you are seeing and where you are. More discussion of the video can be found on the Backcountry Pilots forum where the video was originally posted. Thanks to ‘Skypony’ for posting the original video of the flight – Enjoy!

1 Comment on “CoolFlying – Hidden Splendor backcountry strip in Utah”

  1. #1 Bill
    on Nov 15th, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    This is an interesting approach and departure and flown by somebody who knew the area. As a Baja Bush Pilot for years, I would not have flown the canyon to land nor take off into a canyon when it APPEARS there is relatively flat terrain in the other direction. I say this regardless of the wind.

    Google the approach to Meling Ranch in Baja for example.

    Quincy airport in northern CA has a canyon and the prevailing winds are from the canyon BUT the locals land upwind toward the canyon but take off downwind into a large meadow. Several FAA guys didn’t listen to the locals and took off into the canyon and bought the farm when the engine didn’t achieve full power and they were trapped.

    Nice video but a bad example in my opinion….

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