Made it to Mexico….Almost!
With the extreme desert heat and summer cumulus clouds forming almost everyday this past August, our options were limited for exploring what Arizona's airports have to offer. These Arizona “normal” weather condition didn’t stop us from planning and executing a flight. Where are we going this time you ask? Some may say this destination is the place to go, and others may disagree on this. We chose this location for one specific reason; the one-dollar lunch at Million Air FBO located on the west side of Yuma International Airport (KNYL).
Once again we start our journey early, departing from Scottsdale (KSDL). Transitioning the Phoenix bravo airspace to the south at 4500, as we entered the southwest practice area we made our initial turn to the southwest. With a highly concentrated amount of restricted areas along our route to Yuma, we requested flight following. The plane we were flying on this particular day is equipment with a G1000 system, the use of these advanced systems gave us better situational awareness all the while making our flight slightly less difficult to complete.
Following the pink line on the PFD can lead to navigation complacency; a good pilot is always learning and improving on their pilot navigation skills. With our instrument check rides coming around the corner, we use every possible
Early morning sunrise on the ramp, KSDL
opportunity to tune in VORs and fly radials TO and FROM along our routes. Today was no exception; first intercepting and flying southwest on the 030 radial to the Gila Bend VOR (GBN). Once reaching GBN we turned west and then flew the 247 outbound radial toward Bard VOR (BZA). We flew the 247 radial with reference to the GPS until we intercepted the BZA 075 radial; MOHAL is where these two radials meet and is identified on aeronautical charts.
Southwest Arizona has received many rain showers this season, allowing for ample amount of foliage growth. The amount of greenery and natural growth in these parts of the desert is unbound compared to other parts our southern deserts. Be ready to see scenic mountains and vast flood plains, all teaming with life.
Flight following handed us over to KNYL tower for our clearance into their delta airspace. KNYL is a multi use airport, being shared between public and military use. Civilians shares this airfield with the United States Marines Corps. Once you plan on flying here, get ready to see and share the airspace with some amazing flying machines. Cleared to land 21R, we get established for the approach and make a straight in landing; we have touchdown. In this same time frame, a flight of two marine jets are taking off runway 21L. If hearing, feeling, and watching these two take off doesn’t make you want to fly them, it’s time to get a new medical.
Taxing to the FBO, we anticipated what we were going to encounter. Was it really true that pilots get lunch for one dollar here? The trusty 172 we flew to KNYL is parked, secured, and Hobbs recorded; now it's time for lunch. In our past articles we have talked about all these great exciting adventures we completed at our destination. To us, this was just as exciting. Being full time students at universities and filling the rest of our time with flight school, our budgets are tight.
A full lunch for one dollar, and being able to fly to lunch is up there on the list for excitement. Listen closely, to get the dollar lunch the pilot and crew must check in with the front desk first. Here they will give you a coupon, which you must take down the hall to the cafeteria for your dollar lunch. After scouring the lunch menu I settled on a juicy chicken sandwich; hold the fries. Picking a table close to a window where we can watch the military aircraft land and take off, our stomachs were eager to be tamed. Within minutes our lunch was served and only two dollars out of our pockets...for lunch at least. Lunch devoured and fuel billed paid, it is time to start our flight back to KSDL.
Camelback Mountain, PHX bravo transition south
Taking off runway 17 you are heading southbound toward the US Mexico border, with the proximity to Mexico, an expedited right turn out became very clear once airborne. Below our left wing, the fence that separates our two countries; below our right wing, KNYL. We almost made it to Mexico! Our right turn out set us up perfectly for a northbound departure toward BLH VOR, frequency entered and radial tuned in, it is time to say our goodbyes to KNYL and focus on the flight ahead.
For aviation students on a college budget, this is up there on the list of exciting places to visit. A tasty lunch for one dollar should get anyone excited. Pilots who would like to explore what Arizona’s airports have to offer, must add KNYL to their airport bucket list.
Arizonas southern desert boarder with Mexico.
The rugged terrain seperating USA and Mexico.