When was the last time you saw an old airport brought back to life? The airstrip, running close to the banks of the San Rafael River, is in a great position to serve as a base camp for hiking the Black Boxes, Spring Canyon, and Mexican Mountain itself. Will you have enough avgas to make it to the strip and back, or will you need to refuel, and do you know all your potential fueling points (including the three aforementioned airports closest to this airstrip)? Located on the Eastern edge of the Swell, just west of the San Rafael Reef and north of I-70, is majestic Mexican Mountain, cut off from the surrounding plateaus by the continual eroding effect of the San Rafael River, and rising some 2,200 feet above the desert floor. The approach to the Mexican Mountain airstrip is not a normal approach. […], […] I have been traveling in the airplane together since he was about 7 and have enjoyed many trips to remote airstrips in Utah and Idaho over the years. Sign in. If it is necessary, the go-around is fairly open from either direction, and should not be a cause for additional stress. From hosting regular meetings, to back country fly-ins, and our random meet-ups on Fremont Island, the UBCP aims to build a community of back country aviation enthusiasts. See locations on Google Maps.. Download the PDF Safety Brochures for these airstrips: This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Monthly lows: Jan-14f, Feb-22f, Mar-30f, Apr-38f, May-47f, Jun-55f, Jul-61f, Aug-60f, Sep-49f, Oct- 37f, Nov-25f, Dec-17f. Backcountry flying is an amazing way to see the countryside. Hite (UT03) As we approached Canyonlands National Park, LaVar asked if I wanted to see Upheaval Dome. Every day in January has had record low of over -10 degrees F. The lowest recorded temperature was -25°F in 1979. Escalante Airport has a 5,000 ft paved runway. Understanding your planes performance capabilities and flying within those capabilities, knowing the current weather and conditions in the area, having all the information possible about your destination, and adequately planning the trip in advance are all an important part of being able to enjoy the vast and untamed beauty of the Swell without falling prey to it’s stark and unforgiving dangerous side. He developed unique aeronautical charts for Idaho, Montana, Utah, New Mexico, and many other states depicting backcountry airstrips, reporting points, … Because of the great initiative exercised by the UBCP Board Members of the past, airstrips such as Mexican Mountain, once sought to be closed, are open to the public today. Search Airports; For Landowners ... We know there are some excellent books on backcountry flying in Idaho and Utah, and online resources for many other states. The Airstrip’s beginning and evolution The Mexican Mountain backcountry airstrip is located deep in the Mexican Mountain WSA, on the banks of the San Rafael River. Our Idaho Backcountry Map allows you to explore the target-rich opportunity at our doorstep - we’ve included more than 70 airstrips! These may seem like simple common sense questions, but it is important that you’re properly prepared for backcountry flying. I am a pilot, photographer, avid outdoorsmen, and aircraft owner. The Utah Back-Country Pilots Association (UBCP) has posted warnings about Mineral Canyon being too soft, so I was happy to heed all the warnings and to admire the airstrip from just above it. Friday was spent in ground school; Saturday was reserved for flying to the magnificent backcountry airstrips of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness area. Coming in from the west, there is one imposing Cottonwood in particular that is situated somewhat close to the runway, but as long as you are aware of it, and line up with the center of the runway, it shouldn’t be a problem. http://www.ok3air.com Backcountry flying in Utah and Idaho with OK3 AIR of Heber City, Utah. When landing in the morning, it is recommended you land on 11, or to the west, to avoid the sun in your eyes. Some private-use and former airports may be included where notable, such as airports that were previously public-use, those with commercial enplanements recorded by the FAA or airports assigned an IATA airport code. Utah Backcountry flying / Airstrips Flying Pooch Productions; 11 videos; 7,636 views; Last updated on May 17, 2014; Play all Share. Fly Utah Backcountry and Explore all the Off Field Airstrips in detail, […] (More information about flying to the Utah backcountry airstrips can be found here.) is because I also use Foreflight on my iPad air, and I do  a lot of cross country flying. First, this is a short runway. The best time of day to land at or takeoff from the airstrip are early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Utah Outback with Todd Peterson. The other reason is that it’s hot, midges and mosquitoes are out in force, it’s really hot, and did I mention that it’s really, uncomfortably, blazingly hot? The Kinky Creek airstrip is near the top of the mountain in the background in-line with the airstrip. Through the sharing experiences, the UBCP has built upon a foundation of safe operating practices in some of the most challenging aspects of back country aviation. It was constructed by an oil company that drilled a test well in the area in 1975, but was quickly abandoned in that same year after the company hit a dry hole and capped the well. This is also a dirt and gravel strip, all of which offer a more challenging landing and takeoff. Utah Backcountry Airstrips: February, 2016 Mexican Mountain, Selenite Mine & Hidden Splendor Airstrip is within a WSA designation (Wilderness Study Area); BLM controlled. The Hidden Splendor airstrip provides access to a stunning wilderness area with rich history. The UBCP and its members endorse and exercise responsible use practices such as “Pack it in / Pack it out” and “Tread Lightly” as well as some of our own in-house programs. Passed thru last spring but its never enogh time to enjoy more of that great area. Unique aeronautical charts for Idaho, Montana, Utah, New Mexico, and many other states depicting backcountry airstrips, reporting points, obstacles, and other data not typically shown on FAA charts. The UBCP created this website to help educate the public about who we are, what we do, and how you can help. The UBCP created this website to help educate the public about who we are, what we do, and how you can help. Photo left: Lori … A mere 11 nautical miles east/southeast of the Mexican Mountain airstrip, over the spine of the Swell, and just off of I-70, is the Green River Municipal Airport. For those with a pilot’s license who fly the Utah backcountry, Mexican Mountain stands as one of their most treasured places to visit. A few of these new features include: Online renewal of memberships. First 500' from the east is soft and has a "dark spot" that appears wet throughout the year. Monthy highs: Jan-41f, Feb-51f, Mar-63f, Apr-72f, May-82f, Jun-93f, Jul-99f, Aug-95f, Sep-86f, Oct- 71f, Nov-56f, Dec-44f. With this new tool, we hope to implement a few new changes to how our members can further aid in the mission of the UBCP, in PRESERVING AND PROTECTING SOME OF AMERICA'S GREATEST BACKCOUNTRY FLYING AIRSTRIPS. Pilot Shortage: Where’d All the Pilots Go? Along with the expected things you might find, like logs, tree branches, or large rocks, keep in mind that there is wildlife in the area, such as deer, and bighorn sheep, and cattle occasionally pass through. Lower Loon Airstrip . The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument has six backcountry landing strips approved in the final Monument Resource Management Plan. It is one of only two operating airstrips on the north side of the canyon. Save … This video allows one to visit some of the best backcountry airstrips of the American West as highlighted in Galen Hanselman's new book Fly Utah! But like with most things of beauty, you must be careful. Horn's strip lies from the center right to the upper left. Utah also has active remote recreational landing strips on BLM and State lands and also in Wilderness Study Areas. backcountry landings (except for ski operations) cease in most of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. I know, its been mentioned before, but this is an important thing to understand. Written by Richard H. Holm Jr. of Boise and McCall, the book chronicles the personalities and aircraft important to nearly a hundred of Idaho's isolated airstrips. Escalante Airport. Congressional Action: U.S. House of Representatives … The RAF with the Utah Backcountry Pilot's Association constructed a pilot shelter on the field. One Utah group has done just that. Information provided by:  THE UTAH BACK COUNTRY PILOTS ASSOCIATION. Galen now introduces Southern Utah, an area with more backcountry airstrips than Wyoming, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Montana combined. The rugged San Rafael Swell, a million acre expanse of sun parched and stark redrock country located in central Utah, filled with seemingly endless slick rock expanses, deep canyons, sheer high walls, arches, pinnacles, towers, mesas, and mountains, stands as one of the most amazing untamed wilderness areas still left in the United States. Checking the weather and staying current on changing conditions is a necessity. The Utah Back Country Pilots Association was created in 1996 to help preserve and protect Utah's premiere back country airstrips. Tell the @ForestService to permanently close four backcountry airstrips located in the Big Creek drainage within the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho. A detailed look from above. Fly Utah Backcountry For those with a pilot’s license who fly the Utah backcountry, Mexican Mountain stands as one of their most treasured places to visit. I've landing in a lot of places and flown over a lot of scenery and there is nothing else like the places I flew here. If you’ve never flown to this airstrip before, there are a few things to keep in mind that will make this a less stressful experience. The strip is narrow, roughly forty feet wide for most of its length, and has cottonwood trees on all sides of the runway within fifty feet of the strip. They treasure flying in to one of Utah’s best kept secrets: the Mexican Mountain Airstrip. The area, with multiple canyons, the reef, the San Rafael River, and the mountain itself creates the perfect landscape for a hideaway. We welcome any and all who may have an interest in the back country to join us at one of our events! We are looking for camping, Petro's, Photo /geology stuff. Music Credit: Massive Attack, "Teardrop" If your destination is in Utah, the Utah Back Country Pilots Association's website provides data and recent reports on many Utah airstrips, www.utahbackcountrypilots.org. Do you know your plane’s load carrying capacity, how it will be affected by all the given conditions, and can you stay below that threshold? Small airports closing down, pressure and complaints from local residents, rising land values, or government agencies evaluating the need and use of a small airport all play factors. There is also a small collection of petroglyphs in a boulder field just a five minute walk away from the airstrip, and many great camping options exist all around the airstrip. UPDATE: In October of 2014, the UBCP and the RAF teamed up to regrade and repair the 500 feet on the eatern end of the airstrip that had become overgrown and soft. We fly through the canyons of Utah and visit the following airstrips: (in order) Mexican Mountain, Dirty Devil, Mineral Canyon and Happy Canyon. Copyright 2020, Utah Back Country Pilots Association Privacy Policy | Code of Conduct | Code of Conduct I was given the aviation bug by Jim Hoddenbach and we started this blog together to share our experiences in aviation with like-minded pilots. As you can tell, the Utah Backcountry Pilots website has undergone an extensive overhaul. […]. We rarely top it off for backcountry operations. This is also a popular hiking area, and there are campsites just off the sides of the runway, so also keep an eye out for parked planes, campsites, hikers, campers, little kids, and dogs. Airplane Crash Survival Tips: Backcountry Bug-out Bag. The UBCP, and in large part board member Cory Wolf, worked with local representatives to accomplish quite a historic event...the re-opening of a transcontinental airmail route airport - Locomotive Springs. It is too short for a Cessna 172 to takeoff due to the density altitude, but a lightly loaded Cessna 182 has no trouble operating here. Though it appears that the strip was originally graded and packed at about 2,000 feet of length, nature has reclaimed some of it in the intervening years, and about 1300 feet of runway remains open. During the height of the day, the desert temperatures rise which produces a high density altitude and in turn, less stable flying conditions. In the early 1950’s, Amoco Oil laid down the airstrip so they could drop an exploratory well in the area. Bird's eye. The airstrip, oriented southeast/northwest at 110 and 290 degrees, is located at coordinates N39.01.127, W110.27.024 at an altitude of 4,461 feet. We think the Airfield Guide complements these resources. You need to be able to land on a short runway. Slopes uphill slightly to the west. The airstrip now once again has roughly 1800 feet of usable length. I currently have the honor of owning a backcountry Cessna 182 and a Cessna 210 for landing on pavement. The most precipitation on average occurs in October. Your speed must be on target when landing, due to the short nature of the runway. After the well came up dry, they capped it and moved on, leaving the airstrip behind. For those with a pilot's license, Mexican Mountain stands as one of their most treasured places to visit, flying in to one of Utah's best kept secrets: the Mexican Mountain Airstrip. Runway: 1900 ft long x 40 ft wide dirt runway in good condition. A Letter From Your Pilot: the Germanwings Tragedy. They treasure flying in to one of Utah’s best kept secrets: the Mexican Mountain Airstrip. This month’s Featured Airstrip is Escalante Airport in Utah, (1L7). The windsock, located on the north side and eastern portion of the strip is occasionally a little tattered, but is replaced often enough that it’s generally of use. Mineral Canyon is one of the three back country airstrips included in the State's "FLY UTAH Passport Program". Moon National Monument in Idaho has three backcountry public airstrips. Loading... Save. If you are coming in fast, It is heavily recommended you make a go around and try again. Motorized or wheeled conveyances are not to be used on the airstrip or surrounding areas. Another handy tool is the special Idaho Aeronautical Chart showing all airstrips and reporting points, available in the IAA's online store for $10. In 1957, the Mexican Mountain area was designated a wilderness study area, but because the strip was constructed prior to this time, it remained available for use to the general public and any work necessary to maintain the airstrip was allowed. It is used by the Bar Ten Ranch to fly in guests and pick them up for flight-seeing adventures around the western canyon area. Rich with history dating back to antiquity, dinosaur footprints, marine fossils, petrified wood and Indian artifacts such as petroglyphs, pottery shards, and structural remains mix with more recent trade and cattle trails, mining tracks and mining equipment. The COM frequency for the airstrip is 122.9, and as Mexican Mountain is one of Utah’s busier backcountry strips, it’s recommended you use to frequency to properly communicate your moves and listen for communications from other planes in the area. This 5,000 ft paved runway is just southeast of town on Highway 12, the “Journey Through Time Scenic Byway”, and is lined on both sides by picturesque Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Every day in Jun-Aug has had a record high over 100 degrees F. The average coolest month is January. The stock Super Cub is authorized for spins in the utility category, which is 1,550 […], […] The reason I like this kit (and it’s pricey!) Anything going on this spring ? Fly-in and explore in more seasons with more pleasant temperatures than Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico. Another reason it is preferable to land and takeoff in the morning and late afternoon is that the winds can occasionally be unpredictable during the day, and in the spring months, often fairly constant. We are landing at a few Utah backcountry strips in a few weeks. In the 557-page hardcover "Bound for the Backcountry: A History of Idaho's Remote Airstrips," those moments of recognition might be plentiful for any pilot with experience in the Idaho backcountry. It provides great camping. Are you aware of the density altitude limitations, how they may affect your planes performance, and if you can safely fly within those potential limitations? Head to the NEWS section to see what we're up to today. If you are one, you know it, and you recognize others like you. Is you plane powerful enough for this strip, especially with the short runway? Instead, when entering the Swell area, if you fly in over the Buckhorn Wash, and then turn east at the campground, and follow the San Rafael River out to Mexican Mountain, you will arrive at the airstrip at a more manageable altitude below the cliff line. A better angle of aerial photography Take a journey with expert pilot Todd Peterson in his King Katmai while he explores some of the remote and beautiful country in what may be the last aviation frontier of the American West. Currently the runway extends for 4,600 feet and is considered in "good" condition. Due to the surrounding terrain, there is no rectangular pattern for this airstrip. The reward for this discipline is the immediate and immense beauty of the back-country. I make a living as a photographer and spend that living on aviation. The COM frequency for the airstrip is 122.9, and as Mexican Mountain is one of Utah’s busier backcountry strips, it’s recommended you use to frequency to properly communicate your moves and listen for communications from other planes in the area. We have been to Oshkosh together as well as several times to […], […] 182 Skylane in and out of hundreds of backcountry airstrips in Idaho, Baja California, Montana and Utah, doing the research necessary to publish my backcountry airstrip guidebooks. The Utah Back Country Pilots Association was created in 1996 to help preserve and protect Utah's premiere back country airstrips. This is a list of airports in Utah (a U.S. state), grouped by type and sorted by location.It contains all public-use and military airports in the state. One the eastern end, there are an additional 500′ feet of semi reclaimed strip available, but this should be considered run out ONLY! In particular, the Swell is quite beautiful to fly over, especially after a recent storm has covered the craggy rock landscape with countless sparkling jewel like water pockets. The strip is hard-packed dirt and gravel, though the final 300 feet or so before the eastern section hits the run off area has a thin, soft and dusty top layer that is less packed. Reminder to all pilots this airstrip exists within a Wilderness Study Area. One thing to consider, especially if you’ve never flown to this particular strip before, is contacting fliers and operators in the area to see if they can give you a recent appraisal of the airstrip’s condition. To learn more, head to their website. The high cliffs around the area make a straight approach extremely difficult, as you would have to first descend steeply to be at an appropriate altitude to land on the strip. When preparing your plane for flying to this airstrip, there are some questions to ask yourself, and you must be absolutely sure on the answers. With the solar panel, I can also keep the charging station full of power even on overnight stays in the backcountry. When flying around the Mexican Mountain area, is it possible to lose sight of the strip and its orientation, and to not be aware of your current altitude versus the strip’s altitude. Introduction to Idaho Backcountry Airstrips. This cool kit will let me charge my phone, my iPad, and my GoPros! Airport Description Description: A historic airstrip on the north end of the Great Salt Lake. More Power: Transitioning to High-Performance Airplanes, Sorrel River Ranch: Luxury and Adventure in Utah’s Redrock Country, Piper PA-18 Super Cub • Disciples of Flight, Tips on Using a GoPro camera for Aviation. Most recently, I spent […], […] you still have 7 gallons left when the fuel disappears in the sight gauge. #KeepItWild via @WildernessWatch Runway: 2000 ft long x … NOTE - This website and map are not intended to replace official sources, navigational information or charts required for safe and legal flight. This is not the recommended approach. It is also not recommended to land here during a storm, but then again, you probably shouldn’t be flying during one either. The highest recorded temperature was 110°F in 2002. March, April, May and September, October, and November are the ideal months for flying to this airstrip. Georg Himmeroeder's awesome video of visiting Backcountry Airstrips with his Bearhawk in Utah. Sign in to YouTube. So, now let’s talk a little about the condition of the airstrip, weather in the area, and the optimal conditions for flying. Our mission is to make it easy for pilots to find detailed information about 'backcountry' airstrips. If you want to see the canyons, formations, and hide-away airstrips of Utah's back-country, then you should leave any cowboy attitudes behind. These bulletins were produced by the APA and RAF to provide information to increase the safety of pilots choosing to fly into these backcountry airstrips. Very goo… The Montana Search Pilot Clinic instructors, Aeronautics Division, attended the McCall Mountain/Canyon Seminars backcountry flying school on June 15-16, 2001. This is also one of the two reasons it is not recommended to fly out to the Mexican Mountain airstrip in the months of June, July and August. 38 nautical miles north/northwest is the city of Price, and the Buck Davis Field; and 30 Nautical miles northwest is Huntington Municipal Airport. In general, the strip doesn’t get muddy or boggy, but after a recent storm, be aware of this possibility. Don’t try to land the plane until you are comfortable with the strip, surrounding terrain, and have a clear path in. 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