Migration, how do I find thee?  Let me count the ways.

OK, so I’m not Elizabeth Barrett Browning! But, just how are you going to get to Migration this year? Sometimes, folks who fly in the relatively flat eastern half of the USA get a little nervous around the imposing terrain of the Rockies. So, with the great southwest being our backyard so-to-speak, Pierre Redmond and I decided to plot some cross-country flights from the four corners of the North American continent. Guess what? We have COPA members living in each of those four corners! And, they can fly all the way to M12 without using O2!! So, what does than mean for us mere mortals flying normally aspirated SR-20s and SR-22s? You don’t have to fly in the teens (unless you want to) to enjoy the upcoming Migration in Las Vegas on Oct. 9-12.

Here’s my first example. If you happen to live in beautiful Key West, FL (KEYW), here’s one way to join us at Migration in October:

Using a no-winds plan in ForeFlight, this trip is about 12+50 in my plane (without fuel stops) - a total of 1227 nm. Since winds are usually out of the west, someone leaving Key West would probably want to stay reasonable low until reaching west Texas. After that, I’d probably climb to about 8.5K’-10.5K’.

Great idea to have some lists of routes from all “4 corners.” I planned on just commercializing it from Charleston, SC, but you made it sound so interesting, you might just have changed my mind. Either way, I can’t wait for M12 in Vegas Baby.

Thank you to Pierre and Craig.

Hi, Ryan!

This could actually be fun! In fact, I’ve emailed our Regional Governors suggesting that we create some “gaggles” from the various areas so that the party can start even before Las Vegas. [<:o)] Maybe we can have some rendezvous points around the US where folks can join their fellow Cirrus owners and chat while enroute.


Ryan/Craig -

I will be flying my UPDT from Maryland - I have not yet started my actual route planning, however, I have reserved the plane, and made sure that I am on the vacation schedule at work -


So, how does someone living waaaay down in Guatemala get to M12? (Yes, we have a COPA member living down in Guatemala City!) Well, how about flying up the west coast of Mexico, initially along the Pacific Coast and then along the Sea of Cortez. Cruising at a modest altitude, the flight-seeing is incredible. It’s not until you near US Customs at Nogales (or Yuma) that you have to climb a bit - probably 10.5K’ to reach FSS prior to Nogales. After that, I’d probably fly at either 8.5K’ or 10.5K’ all the way to Henderson (KHND). Easy-peasy! Of course, this is a pretty long flight - 2031 nm. For no-winds and without including fuel stops, it’s about 12+19 in my NA SR-22.


PS - On a loosely related note, Thomas Daniel from COPA’s SW Region has organized an incredible Mexico fly-out! This is not meant to be any sort of notification since we (me, too!) are leaving tomorrow AM. I just wanted to note that we’re heading to Mazatlan, which is about half-way between MMCN (Ciudad Obregon) and MMPR (Puerto Vallarta) on the above map. Nice work, Thomas!

Hi, Jeff!

That sounds great! When you get further along in your planning, how about showing the rest of us your routing? Maybe someone will want to join you while enroute?


PS - You’re probably figured out that I like pictures. Long, verbal route descriptions just don’t do it for me. [:|]

If a group wants to leave from the front range of Colorado, I will help out. We can either go Zion National Park past Arches or down around 4 corners and Grand Canyon.

Lets all say Conga

via COPAme
Samsung SM-N900V

A Suggested Journey to M12 From the Northwest

M12 will be a great Migration itself, and getting there is what will make it memorable for many COPANs. The beauty of the Great American West from relatively low altitude is incomparable. Regardless of which direction you fly in from, the journey is likely to be stunning and memorable. But those of us who live and fly around here all the time already know that, so please, Western flyers, take a minute to post a suggestion or two to help our fellow COPAns enjoy the trip.

Craig asked me to write a bit about how I fly into Henderson. I am well known to the old-timers here as a fan of flying my NA SR22 VFR, between 10,500 and 12,500, so that’s mostly what I’ll write about. Hopefully we’ll find some IFR guys to write also. If not, I’ll write a separate post about IFR routes into KHND from this direction as well, as I occasionally do that too.

First, do yourself a favor and do NOT plan this trip based on cheapest fuel stops or on-field diners. I hope you all plan it to take advantage of the beauty that is there for the taking (well, at least for the enjoying!). Also, take advantage of the freedom of VFR and deviate from the “direct-to” route in your navigator. Go ahead, disconnect that autopilot, bank the wings, let your right seater snap some photos!

Mount Shasta

For example, until some of the savvy Northwest flyers chime in, I’ll start by highly recommending that anyone flying down from the Pacific Northwest proceed to Mt. Shasta and take a lap around that marvelous leviathan!

Lake Tahoe

Next, onward to the Lake Tahoe area and plan a fuel stop at South Lake Tahoe (KTVL). At about 6300’ MSL, KTVL affords an incomparable approach over the grandest alpine lake in the country, and a greatly reduced descent and climb for the fuel and rest stop. It is about three hours from Seattle in a normally aspirated SR22. There is a restaurant on the field. Oh, and take a “victory lap” around the Tahoe rim, taking in Emerald Bay and Desolation Wilderness.

Two Hours to Go, and Now It Is a Different Kind of Beauty

Depart Tahoe to the East, over either of the road passes toward the Minden-Tahoe airport (KMEV, my second hangar home for my SR22), then to the Beatty VOR (BTY), navigating visually just to the east of Mono Lake, reflecting the Sierra Nevadas (a favorite subject of Ansel Adams) and East of the mighty White Mountain range, which includes Boundary Peak, the highest point in Nevada. I have a permanent user-defined GPS waypoint just NNE of Boundary Peak that allows me to fly this route VFR at night and be assured of terrain clearance. (I’ll post the coordinates for reference later when I’ve been out to the airplane, however, I wouldn’t advise night VFR for anyone not familiar with the area. Besides safety, you can’t see much at night!)

I fly between Minden and Henderson almost weekly (about 400 laps) and usually fly the above route VFR at 11,500. For those who prefer IFR, you can head just a bit further east to either Victor 105 or 564 and go to 13,000. If you really want to get “up close and personal” with the route, you can fly at 9,500 down and 8,500 back, but you need to use sectionals and plan the route and just avoid the higher terrain.

Just north of the Beatty VOR and airport is the town of Beatty. Just West of that is the old ghost town of Rhyolite. You can see the ruins and the large open pit mine as well as the tailings from many small independent mines.

Approaching Henderson

After Beatty, my preferred approach into Henderson, ninety percent of the time, is to proceed to 3L2, Sky Ranch airport, then 0L7 (Jean airport) then direct Henderson (KHND), staying on the right (east) side of I-15. Plan your descent to be at 7,000’ MSL at Sky Ranch, cross the ridge, then continue the descent to 4,800’ to tuck under the 5,000’ floor of the Las Vegas Class B airspace. (If you’re doing the IFR thing, ATC will give you something like the Fuzzy7 arrival, over the Spring Mountains, Las Vegas, then a visual approach with a “brisk” descent.)

Solar Towers

After leaving 3L2 toward Jean 0L7, look to your right and you’ll see the now infamous brand new solar towers and mirror fields. Scott Williams recently posted a cool photo of them and some of the follow up posts were very informative. This is apparently a one of a kind installation and you might want to see how some of your tax dollars were spent. Hand fly over them for a good look, but I wouldn’t fly too close after reading about the thousand degree heat in the immediate vicinity of the towers!

Back to the Approach

Getting back to the VFR crowd, if you want to sound like a local, when you see the railroad tracks cross under the freeway, about 8 NM from KHND, call KHND tower up on 125.1, and just tell them you’re at “The Ruins” with information ______. For those fellow 1200-squawking flyers like me, who prefer the solitude of not talking to ATC much of the time, this will be your first and only radio call since your CTAF announcements leaving Tahoe. Depending on whether they’re using rwys 35 or 17, tower will likely ask you to report either a two or three mile left base for 35 or midfield right downwind for 17. Pattern altitude is 3500, field is 2500. For reference, the power transmission lines running east-west, south of the field are about a three mile final to rwy 35.

Plan B

Oh, I did say ninety percent of the time this is my approach. If the winds are brisk from the N to NE (unusual), or if I want to show someone Las Vegas, instead of flying down the Pahrump Valley, after Beatty, I go to the CENIT intersection, which just keeps you out of the restricted area that includes Area 51 (please PIREP any alien sightings!), then visually toward North Las Vegas airport (KVGT) on the NE side of the Spring Mountains. Call up Nellis Approach on I believe 124.95. They’ll give you a squawk code if you didn’t already have one, and hand you off to Las Vegas Approach who either will or won’t clear you through the Bravo. If yes, you may be treated to a flight right over The Strip, then right over McCarran Airport (usually to “the numbers” 25) then a quick descent from 4500 to Henderson. If “no” then you’ll likely be routed around the West side, under the Bravo floor, and into Henderson. Pay attention to the corners of the Bravo once you have KHND in sight, and don’t cut the corner. I know of a student pilot who did this once and had to call a phone number and be scolded!

(Tip, if you want to increase your odds of getting the Bravo clearance and approach over the strip, take some time to brief the TAC, make sure your SA is good, tell them you have McCarran and Henderson airports in sight and ask for “The Numbers” which takes you to the approach end of the main runways at KLAS. Depending on things like how busy things are and which way they’re landing KLAS, you may get it. Just please don’t screw up and make them less likely to give this shortcut to the locals! If you’re not sure of yourself, just admit to being unfamiliar and let them vector you. You still may get sent this way.)

Once you’ve taxied to the COPA ramp at the NW corner and shut down, come on in to the FBO. We are planning a special welcome for you!


Hi, John!

I think that’s a great idea. [H] I’ll PM Scott Williams, our SW Regional Governor, since you’re in that area. I’ve asked all of our governors to consider organizing something like you mentioned. “Let’s all say Conga!”


And when you find your way, this is the view you might see from our hotel.

Stop by. Stay up-to-date. Click “LIKE”


Photographed today

Stay tuned for more M12 arrival routes! Aviation planner extraordinaire Andy Brown and I have been talking about what route he’ll be taking. He’s coming IFR from the SE Region.