Flying in the Western United States

The Grand Canyon of the Little Colorado

(Edited 2004: I am priveleged to have made this flight, because now the Grand Canyon Special Flight Rules Area has been expanded to incorporate the part of the Little Colorado river where these pictures were taken. Perhaps because of complaints about engine noise from C-152's ,,,)

(Today's chart says it all - no flights below 18,000'. There are the VFR corridors still, but not along the Little Colorado)


November, 2000, and a little Cessna 152 heads north from Prescott, Arizona toward the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon is about 10 mi to the N of our present position, as we descend along the line of the Tusayan Rim

The Little Colorado is a tributary of the great Colorado River, which drains the Rocky Mountains into the Gulf of California. The Little Colarado joins the main river in the Grand Canyon itself.

The river runs in a precipitous Canyon of it's own, the Grand Canyon of the little Colorado. Aircraft have long been prohibited from the Grand Canyon itself, but the Little Colorado is just outside the boundaries of restricted airspace. Here, we can get close to the terrain. N6221B is airborne out of Prescott to the North

Now, we have reached the canyon rim. Far below, the river winds between sheer rock walls almost 2000' high. We begin a gentle turn, tracking the canyon Northward, just outside the National Park boundaries.

A gentle descent brings us down toward the canyon rim. Tempting as it might seem, actually flying into this canyon would require rates of turn beyond the capabilities of the little Cessna and her pilot.

Soon, the canyon of the little Colorado turns Westward to join the Colorado river and the Grand Canyon. Here, we have to turn away, tracking North to our destination at Marble Canyon airstrip.

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