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Yellowstone To Zion On OO: EM2, CRJ And The Subway  
User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 612 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 10027 times:

This report features two airports that I don't believe have ever been reviewed in this forum: WYS (West Yellowstone, Montana) and SGU (St. George, Utah). The flight numbers are Delta, but don't let that confuse you. This trip was 100% SkyWest. I will also include pictures from a fantastic day hiking the "Subway" trail in Zion National Park.


BACKGROUND
Southern Utah is home to some of the world's most stunning landscapes. The area has an unrivaled colelction of five national parks, not to mention the Grand Canyon just over the border in Arizona. IMO, Zion National Park is the crown jewel of the Utah parks. Zion has an incredible variety of scenery and ecosystems. Zion is famous for its hiking trails, whether it be the soaring, vertigo-inducing climb up Angel's Landing or hiking midstream through the slot canyons of the Virgin River Narrows. Zion also has several technical routes that require ropes and other gear to complete the hike. The most popular of these is probably the route known as "The Subway." The Subway hike is about 9 miles in total length, but at it's heart is a deep slot canyon about 1 mile in length. The trail goes through the bottom of a narrow canyon with vertical walls hundreds of feet high on each side. There are four drop-offs that can only be passed by rappelling, and several places where the canyon floor is flooded and the only option is to swim. Access to the Subway is by permit only, and the limited number of daily permits are distributed by a lottery process.

I have a brother in Utah who has been trying to organize a Subway excursion for quite some time. He called me a few months ago to let me know that he had secured a permit for June 27th and invited me along. I immediately agreed. The only problem was getting there from my home in Bozeman, MT. Driving would require 10-11 hours in each direction, and given that I needed to be home to leave on another trip on the 29th, I was in no mood to drive. Flights to SGU or CDC from BZN were pricey, and I'm trying to save my SkyMiles for something else. The problem was solved about a week later. I was returning from a business trip on the east coast and volunteered to bump off of an oversold MSP-BZN flight in exchange for a nice Delta voucher.

As I researched my options for using the voucher to get myself down to SGU (where my brother had arranged for us to stay at his friend's vacation house), I quickly realized that this was the perfect opportunity to do something that I've wanted to do since moving to Montana--catch a flight out of WYS, about a 90-minute drive from Bozeman. Prices out of WYS were lower than BZN, the schedule was similar, and the money spent on gas to drive there would easily be offset by the free parking at WYS. Not only would it be a new airport for my log, but a new aircraft type as well: the Embraer 120. The decision was very easy.



THE JOURNEY

The day of travel finally arrived, and I head out on the road to WYS.

Looking South from Bozeman toward the mouth of Gallatin Canyon and the Spanish Peaks beyond. That's the direction I'm going today.
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1167.jpg

Ted Turner owns a large bison ranch just over that first hill.
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1160.jpg

Entering the canyon. 67 miles to West Yellowstone, which means about 65 miles to WYS.
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1172.jpg

Uh oh.
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1173.jpg

The road though the canyon steadily gains elevation as it follows the Gallatin river though narrow gorges and broad meadows, passing the Big Sky resort along the way.
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1181.jpg
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1182.jpg

Stuck in construction behind cars from Minnesota and California. Not unusual to see a variety of license plates around here this time of year. Yellowstone road trips are an American tradition as old as the automobile itself.
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1186.jpg

The road cuts through the northwestern corner of YNP, where the speed limit is reduced and you have to watch even more closely for wildlife. It's rare not to see big game between Bozeman and West Yellowstone. I've seen deer, moose, elk, bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, pronghorn antelope, wolves and countless bison along this road. Today I saw one lonely doe.
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1188.jpg

The road makes a brief incursion into Wyoming, climbs over a 7200 foot mountain pass, and eventually emerges into the upper Madison River valley. The town of West Yellowstone is somewhere in this picture:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1197.jpg

Don't blink! You might miss the airport!
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1199.jpg

I think I'm going the right way now:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1201.jpg

Turn here for the Forest Service fire center:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1202.jpg
(BTW-- A local resident on my return flight told me that the WYS runway was seriously damaged during the historic 1988 Yellowstone fire season by heavy C-141s that were brought in to support the fire fighting effort. He said that the airport had to be closed for a long time for major runway reparis. I've never heard anything about that. Does anybody on A.net know more?)

My first view of the terminal. Short-term parking is along the curb in front. Long-term parking is in the gravel lot to the right:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1204.jpg

Long term parking on both sides of the fence?
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1205.jpg

Terminal airside view from long term parking:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1210.jpg

Check-in area:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1212.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1213.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1719.jpg

There are 2 SSKs at the DL counter, but it didn't really matter. The OO ground staff had already printed out cardstock itineraries for every passenger on the flight and had them laid out behind the counter. As each passenger approached the counter, the very friendly agents would check their ID, find their printed itinerary, and check them in. The only people I saw using the SSKs were those who needed to pay a baggage fee with their credit card. Two groups checking in ahead of me were tourists connecting home to SNA and LGB via SLC.

WYS has very limited service. The airport is only open from June through September, and the only service is about 15 weekly flights to SLC, all on the E-120. SkyWest does their own ground handling here. From what I could tell, they had a crew of 4 people handling everything from check-in to baggage loading to chocking the tires on the plane. It looked like a very efficient operation.

I was helped by a very friendly agent named "C." She noticed the Bozeman address on my ID, and I explained that I drove up from Bozeman partly because the fare was better and partly because I'm an avgeek and like to collect new airports and types for my log. She agreed that logging the E-120 was worth the drive, and reminded me that the parking is free too. Clearly excited, she announced to the other 2 OO employees in earshot that "Mr. Zeppelin drove all the way from Bozeman to fly with us today!" She got even more excited when she noticed that my destination was SGU. "Do you know that our company headquarters is in St. George?" "Yes, I do." C was clearly proud to work for SkyWest. She proceeded to suggest that I tell everyone in Bozeman to give WYS a try for their next flights as she printed my boarding passes and tagged my bag. She handed over my BP, and said, "6A, overwing exit. Does that sound right?" "Yes... Unless there is something better available." "Let me check row 9 for you. I think you'll like it." She handed over a new BP for 9C, explained that security would open about 20 minutes before flight time, and wished me a good flight.

The small waiting area, car rental desks, and security all in one shot:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1214.jpg
There is a small sitting area just beyond security, with about as much floorspace as an E-120 cabin.

OO's primary competition on WYS-SLC is the Salt Lake Express bus service, which has a prominent ad on the wall near security:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1215.jpg

Entrance to the SmokeJumper Cafe, the airport's only food service (with a surprising gluten-free menu):
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1216.jpg

Gate 1, viewed from windows near car rental desk. It's an actual gate!
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1226.jpg

There was still about an hour until security would open, and there was talk of the inbound flight being delayed, so I went back out to my car and made a quick drive into town to do an errand. West Yellowstone claims to be the snowmobile capital of the world. "Watch for snowmobiles on side streets" is good advice all year long around here:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1224.jpg

Back at the airport 30 minutes later, I find that the flight is expected to depart with a 25 minute delay. The fantastic OO agents are going from person to person in the waiting area to review their connecting flight information and giving careful instructions to those who aren't familiar with SLC. I have a long connection, and know SLC all too well, so I'm not concerned. A few foreign tourists with poor English skills look nervous--maybe they'd be more comfortable with an electronic FIDS display. Apparently there was a storm threatening the usual approach path and there was concern that the inbound plane would need to divert to BZN (ironic). But everything worked out, and security opened when it was clear that our plane would be arriving soon.

I waited and went through security near the end of the line. I could see that there was a tiny hold room beyond security, and also it looked like the last one to the room would be the first out the door to the plane. That was a good call.

C briefed the passengers in the holding room about the boarding process just as the inbound plane touched down. She recognized me and called me by name. "Mr Zeppelin, would you like to lead us out to the plane today?" "Of course!" We chatted for just a minute, and I learned that this is her 22nd (22!) summer working for OO at WYS. She is based in SLC, but works WYS in the summers and works some of OO's seasonal ski destinations in the winter.

The inbound flight arrived and came to a full stop at 11:48 by my watch, right on our original departure time. The OO rampers went to work immediately. Here is the arriving plane as seen from the hold room, with my friend C standing guard at Gate 1:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1227.jpg

Boarding began as soon as all of the arriving passengers were safely in the terminal. No barcode scanners here--C stood at the door and checked off passenger names from the manifest as we boarded.

First flight:
Wednesday, 26 June, 2013
DL 7412, WYS-SLC, operated by SkyWest
E-120, N297SW
Personal: First flight from WYS, first flight on E-120



Leading the way to my first E-120 flight:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1228.jpg

N297SW. I really wanted to reach out and give that prop a spin:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1230.jpg

Seat 9C. Thanks for the tip, C! I think I'll get the same one for the flight back on Friday.
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1231.jpg
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1232.jpg

My view for the next hour or so:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1233.jpg

SkyWest-branded safety card:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1234.jpg

The cabin door was closed at 12:05, just 17 minutes after the inbound came to a full stop, and only aobut 13 minutes after the door was opened. We took off to the south, wheels up at 12:13. The captain announced that we should arrive with minimal delay at SLC, and the passengers cheered. The climbout was pretty rough as we passed through a few big storm clouds. It was a bit of a roller coaster ride, but with a lot more yaw motion. Our F/A, in the rear-facing jumpseat at the front of the cabin laughed gleefully as we hit a few good bumps and downdrafts. She seemed to genuinely enjoy her job. I got the sense that there was nowhere she would rather be than working the turn to WYS on the E-120. She also had the type of friendly personality that immediately put people at ease, while also giving the sense of competence and professionalism. Great job.

Climbing out of WYS, crossing the continental divide and entering Idaho airspace:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1243.jpg

We eventually reached calm air and cabin service started. The F/A came around with a snack basket while taking drink orders, then served drinks from a tray. Pretzels and ginger ale for me. No pic, because row 9 has no tray table and getting to my camera was a little awkward.

The town of Ashton, ID:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1245.jpg

St. Anthony, ID:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1246.jpg

Rexburg, ID:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1248.jpg

Lava Hot Springs, ID:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1250.jpg

Descending over the Great Salt Lake and the large salt evaporation basins in Bear River Bay:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1262.jpg

We circled to land from the south on 34L. Here's a shot of the South Valley Regional Airport:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1275.jpg

The mighty Wasatch mountains and the southeastern suburbs of SLC:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1276.jpg

Downtown SLC over the wing as we come in on final:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1281.jpg

Touchdown!
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1284.jpg
Notice the DL A330 just over the engine. We landed right behind the daily flight from CDG, and it was taxiing back toward the terminal after a long roll out. We braked hard, turned off the runway, and made the short taxi to the E gates.

A few scenes from around SLC:
Always nice to see the international fleet come this far inland:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1290.jpg

Delta tails:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1293.jpg

One of these is not like the others:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1295.jpg

Toward the city center:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1297.jpg

I spy a turtle:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1303.jpg

I spent my layover catching up on work emails with the free wifi, watching a movie on my tablet, and enjoying a fantastic burrito from Cafe Rio (still waiting for them to come to Bozeman...). Soon enough, boarding was called for my connecting flight to SGU.

Pushing the bridge:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1310.jpg

The EM2 fleet:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1312.jpg

SkyWest tail, and SkyWest hangar in background:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1313.jpg

I wonder if OO rampers go home at night and put their headset in the mailbox:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1314.jpg

Stay hydrated. It's hot out there on the ramp:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1316.jpg


Second flight:
Wednesday, 26 June, 2013
DL 7395, SLC-SGU, operated by SkyWest
CRJ-200, N477CA
Personal: First flight to or from SGU


My ride to SGU -- N477CA:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1320.jpg

Seat 8A--overwing exit on the CRJ:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1321.jpg

We took off from 34L, turned left and climbed over the Tooele valley and set a course for St. George. The flight attendant announced that there would be no service on the flight due to it's very short duration. This somewhat surprised me, given that the flight distance is only one mile shorter than WYS-SLC, but of course the CRJ is a bit faster than the EM2. However, she did come around and offer a cup of water to anybody who was interested. Despite the lack of service, the flight was quite enjoyable as we passed over some stunning scenery.

Great Salt Lake wetlands:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1325.jpg

over the Great Salt Lake, turning to the south, looking back over the Salt Lake Valley:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1327.jpg

The west slope of the Oquirrh mountains:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1331.jpg

The town of Delta, Utah, from the window of a Delta Connection jet:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1338.jpg

The red cliffs of Cedar Breaks National Monument capturing the late day sun:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1350.jpg

Starting to descend now, we get our first glimpse of Zion National Park's fabled canyons:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1353.jpg
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1355.jpg

You can see why there were concerns aobut noise pollution in the park prior to construction of the new SGU airport.
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1356.jpg

maybe I'm crazy, but I felt like our final descent was really steep and sudden. I wondered if that might be a noise mitigation procedure due to our proximity to Zion NP. We landed to the south. Here we are at SGU, rolling past the terminal:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1360.jpg

Terminal view from our final parking position:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1363.jpg

SGU is one of America's newest airports, having opened in 2011 to replace the old airport atop the mesa closer to central St. George. The airport has a single jet bridge, and is curerntly served by 4-5 daily flights to SLC and a single daily flight to DEN. All flights are operated by OO, which of course has its headquarters here. SkyWest started out as a small commuter operation in 1972 carrying businessmen between SGU and SLC. Despite the limited service, the terminal is very modern and attractive. I'm sure that the city would love to get more flights, but it's hard to compete with LAS. Here are a few pics of the terminal I snapped while waiting for my brother to pick me up:

Gate area:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1364.jpg

Ramp view:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1365.jpg

Check in:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1367.jpg

Bag claim:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1368.jpg
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1369.jpg
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1370.jpg
Observation deck!
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1371.jpg

There's a small area with a display about local aviation history, including some SkyWest memorabilia. I'd love to see OO and DCI bring back this livery. The caption says, "The Canadair, the world's most environmentally sound jet, also provides the quietest ride of any regional jet aircraft." ...so why are they falling out of favor?
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1372.jpg

[Edited 2013-07-16 23:34:49]


Flown: DL,OS,NZ,UN,VV,NW,AA,UA,HP,TZ,AS,AF,KL,SK,WS,AZ,OK; op by OO,MQ,XJ,9E,G7,EV,QX,RP
31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 612 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 10042 times:

The SUBWAY

Self-portrait at the trailhead:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1380.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1387.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1388.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1396.jpg

Looks like sand, but it's solid rock:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1400.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1411.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1412.jpg

See that little beehive-shaped knob on the ridge at left-center?:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1421.jpg

Here it is again at full zoom. You can see a few hikers from the group ahead of us gathering in the shade. The trail from here to there is all solid red sandstone "slickrock".
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1427.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1433.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1443.jpg

Eventually we get our first view of the narrow, deep, slot canyon known as the Subway and prepare to descend to the canyon floor.
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1459.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1473.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1497.jpg

The Subway gets its name from the concave, undercut canyon walls, which give the feeling of underground train tunnels at times.
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1509.jpg
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1517.jpg

It's funny how you can take hundreds of pictures of stunning landscapes, only to come home at the end of the day and realize that the best picture of the entire day is a close-up view of a little frog sunning himself on a rock:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1520wp.jpg

At several points of th trail, the only choice is to jump in the cold water and swim:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1527.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1552.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1560.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1569.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1571.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1573.jpg

The water is murky only because we all just walked through it after making our way through this keyhole formation:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1578.jpg

Columbines:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1584.jpg

For scale, that log is a good 30-35 feet long:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1588.jpg

Running water can do amazing things to a rock:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1596.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1604.jpg

Now we're reaching to lower area of the Subway that is accessible by hiking from the bottom without a permit.
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1605.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1610.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1612.jpg

We now leave the Subway behind. The canyon starts to open up now, we are more exposed to the hot desert sun, and we have several miles of rough trail and some mid-stream hiking to get back to the parking lot. But it's still gorgeous.
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1620.jpg

http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1624_edit.jpg

Happy Contrails!
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1637.jpg

The trail eventually climbs up out of the canyon via a series of very steep switchbacks. This is what we've come through since exiting the Subway:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1648.jpg

[Edited 2013-07-16 23:46:39]


Flown: DL,OS,NZ,UN,VV,NW,AA,UA,HP,TZ,AS,AF,KL,SK,WS,AZ,OK; op by OO,MQ,XJ,9E,G7,EV,QX,RP
User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 612 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 10040 times:

GOING HOME

Friday, 28 June, 2013
DL 7392, SGU-SLC, operated by SkyWest
CRJ-200, N441SW
Personal: 210th logged flight segment.


Check in at SGU was quick and easy. The friendly agent tagging my bag to WYS expressed some jealousy about the destination, and I reminded her that she lives a beautiful place too. A couple in front of me seemed to be non-revving to JFK for the weekend. You can imagine that SGU gets a lot of non-rev traffic with the OO headquarters there.

My ride up to SLC, N441SW, with the reflection of vending machines in the glass:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1652.jpg

Seat 1A today. Knee room is great, but not so much room for my feet here:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1657.jpg

I didn't take too many pictures on this flight until we were on final appraoch to SLC. Here is the Bingham Canyon copper mine in the Oquirrh mountains -- one of the largest excavations in the world:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1664.jpg

On the ground in SLC with another lengthy layover, I took a few more pictures. It's always fun when the registration number matches the aircraft type:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1670.jpg

Alitalia's latest recovery plan apparently includes 5th-freedom flights between their SkyTeam partner hubs in SLC and SVO. (OK--so AZ codeshares with DL on a 738 flight to JFK, where the flight number continues to SVO after a change of gauge. But AZ flying SLC-SVO would be awesome!):
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1673.jpg

Self-explanatory:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1680.jpg



Friday, 28 June, 2013
DL 7412, SLC-WYS, operated by SkyWest
E-120, N564SW
Personal: 211th logged flight segment.


Boarding was soon called for my return leg to WYS. I was expecting a pretty routine flight following the I-15/US20 corridor, but I was in for a special treat today, with unexpected and spectacular views of 2 national parks.

Boarding via airstairs today. Registration is N564SW:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1682.jpg

Hill Air Force Base:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1683.jpg

Ogden Municipal Airport (OGD), which recently got commercial service from Allegiant:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1684.jpg

Cabin view. There were a few families with children making their first visit to Yellowstone. The kids were getting really excited watching for geysers out the window:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1688.jpg

Bear Lake, a very large natural lake on the Utah/Idaho border:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1691.jpg
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1693.jpg

Bear Lake County airport (1U7), near Paris, Idaho:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1694.jpg

Star Valley, Wyoming:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1698.jpg

The Snake River, between Jackson and Alpine, Wyoming:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1699.jpg

From the left side of the plane, looking down on Grand Teton National Park:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1702.jpg

At this point it started to become clear to many of passengers that we were going to fly right over the southwestern quadrant of Yellowstone National Park as we approached WYS. I didn't think overflights of the park were allowed, but I was happy to be wrong. Most of Yellowstone's popular thermal features are in this area of the park. We flew right over Old Faithful geyser, but I was on the wrong side of the plane to see it. However, I was able to get a great consolation prize a few moments later.

Here we are just crossing the park boundary. You can see Shoshone Lake over the engine, with Yellowstone Lake in the distance and Lewis Lake to the right:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1705.jpg

This was the consolation prize, a stunning view of Grand Prismatic Spring in the Midway Geyser Basin, the largest hot spring in the United States. The colors are a product of pigmented bacteria that live in and around the hot mineral water. At this point, the kids in front of me were going bananas. And so was I:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1708.jpg

Lower Geyser Basin:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1710.jpg

We've now made a sweeping left turn toward WYS. This is a view to the northeast over the Madison River as it flows westward out of the Yellowstone Caldera:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1712.jpg

Short final to WYS. Looking over Hebgen Lake and an area of burned forest:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1716.jpg

Baggage claim at WYS is in the open air on the curb outside the terminal. They bring the bags around on a cart and unload them ontl these little slides:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1717.jpg
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1718.jpg

While waiting for my bag, I step back inside the terminal to check on the ramp crew. It looks like they just about have the plane turned around now and will be bringing the bags out soon.
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1720.jpg

The bags come out, and after getting mine I make the ~25 second walk to my car, which is in long term parking, just outside of the frame of this picture:
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/subway/DSCN1724.jpg

The drive back home is smooth, with no construction delays, and I am free to ponder what may have been the best flight of my life. It's hard to explain how much I enjoyed this last segment. A great flight with a great crew on a great little airplane over beautiful scenery (and very familiar scenery as well--I've lived most of my life along the road between SLC and BZN, and have spent time on the ground within the frame of every photo from this last segment.) Thank you, SkyWest.


CONCLUSIONS

An all-around great performance by SkyWest, and an even greater performance by the iconic landscapes of the American west. The flight numbers were Delta, but this was truly a SkyWest experience. SGU-SLC is the original OO route. SLC-WYS is operated by planes in OO livery. I believe that both routes are operated by OO at their own financial risk. Their ground and cabin crews were friendly and professional. It was a great traveling experience. SGU and WYS are great airports with interesting contrasts. Both serve as the gateway to a national park, but one is very modern while the other, if I may say so, is very exotic. But both are staffed by helpful and professional people.

The Subway was a memorable experience. Photos don't do it justice. There aren't any angles from which you can capture the Subway's grandeur on camera. And my camera was tucked safely in a waterproof bag for some of the best parts, so I apologize for not having better pics.

The real star of the trip is the US National Park Service. Our national parks are a treasure, and I was excited to get aerial views of 3 and ground views of 2 on this trip. I personally consider Yellowstone to be the great American pilgrimage, and believe that every citizen should visit at least once. And when you visit, consider flying in to WYS!



Flown: DL,OS,NZ,UN,VV,NW,AA,UA,HP,TZ,AS,AF,KL,SK,WS,AZ,OK; op by OO,MQ,XJ,9E,G7,EV,QX,RP
User currently offlinemucdude From Germany, joined Mar 2012, 25 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 9713 times:

Wonderful trip report! The pictures from the hike look amazing. Zion National Park is high on my list of to-go-places. Now it is even higher!  


Next flights: ZRH-BOS-ZRH on LX; ZRH-SIN-AKL-SIN-ZRH on SQ
User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 612 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (1 year 3 months 1 week ago) and read 9471 times:

Quoting mucdude (Reply 3):
Wonderful trip report!

Danke!

Quoting mucdude (Reply 3):
The pictures from the hike look amazing. Zion National Park is high on my list of to-go-places. Now it is even higher!

Zion really is a fascinating place. Along the trail I met a family from Montreal who had previously visited Zion on a whirlwind tour of 10 national parks in the western states, and this time they were coming back to spend a week in Zion because they liked it so much the first time.



Flown: DL,OS,NZ,UN,VV,NW,AA,UA,HP,TZ,AS,AF,KL,SK,WS,AZ,OK; op by OO,MQ,XJ,9E,G7,EV,QX,RP
User currently offlineKPWMSpotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 448 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 9062 times:

Wow, excellent report!

You just gave me inspiration for two more destinations to non-rev to. I hadn't even realized that there was DL/OO service to Yellowstone. With a Brasilia flying the route, I'm definitely going to have to fly out for a weekend sometime. Zion looks great too, that hadn't even crossed my mind as a potential destination.

Hope you don't mind if I steal your idea and make a trip report of it when I go...  



I reject your reality and substitute my own...
User currently onlineLPDAL From United States of America, joined Mar 2012, 904 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 8998 times:
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Now that is beautiful scenery, great report. I noticed those EMB-120s also when I connected in SLC to go onto Palm Springs, which is unfortunately operated by a CR2 instead of a Brasilia. The water features in the canyon are also astounding! I have to get a ride on one of those Brasilia's before they are gone  


Kilo Foxtrot Lima Lima Arrival Information, Main Landing Runway 9L, Wind Calm, Visibility 10 miles, Cloud Conditions
User currently offlinenkops From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 2673 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 8967 times:

Absolutely stunning scenery, thanks for sharing.


I have no association with Spirit Airlines
User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 612 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 3 months 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 8930 times:

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 5):
Wow, excellent report!

Thanks.

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 5):
I hadn't even realized that there was DL/OO service to Yellowstone.

OO has obviously been running the route for at least 22 summers, as C has been working in WYS that long, but I know the history goes back much further. WYS used to be a regular stop on WA milk runs through Idaho and Montana.

Quoting KPWMSpotter (Reply 5):
Hope you don't mind if I steal your idea and make a trip report of it when I go

Please do! I only scratched the surface here--there's plenty more to report about.

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 6):
I have to get a ride on one of those Brasilia's before they are gone

It's a great little airplane. I can't believe I waited this long to finally log it, and I'm hoping to have another opportunity soon.

Quoting nkops (Reply 7):
Absolutely stunning scenery, thanks for sharing.

You're welcome.



Flown: DL,OS,NZ,UN,VV,NW,AA,UA,HP,TZ,AS,AF,KL,SK,WS,AZ,OK; op by OO,MQ,XJ,9E,G7,EV,QX,RP
User currently offlineeastafspot From France, joined Jan 2008, 794 posts, RR: 20
Reply 9, posted (1 year 3 months 20 hours ago) and read 8227 times:

Excellent trip report i really enjoyed it

Very interesting to discover this small airport with one hour to kill you can just drive away to visit around!
The hiking part is amazing too because your pictures are great
Nice for you to get an emergency exit seat, particularly on a such cramped aircraft!!
Too bad, you picked up the wrong side for the views over the Yellowstone with a such lovely weather  

Many thanks for sharing



Fly with Air Burundi, Air Tanzania, Air Uganda, Kenya Airways and Rwandair...Jumuiya ya Afrika mashariki
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3311 posts, RR: 12
Reply 10, posted (1 year 3 months 19 hours ago) and read 8202 times:

Great report, and some wonderful pictures...some parts opf the US are so scenic!

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
WYS has very limited service. The airport is only open from June through September, and the only service is about 15 weekly flights to SLC, all on the E-120. SkyWest does their own ground handling here. From what I could tell, they had a crew of 4 people handling everything from check-in to baggage loading to chocking the tires on the plane. It looked like a very efficient operation.

Given how quiet it is, i'm surprised they bothered installing those machines.

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
Here is the arriving plane as seen from the hold room, with my friend C standing guard at Gate 1:

Ha, reminds me of the holding pen at Osh (OSS) airport in Kyrgystan, although I boarded an Antonov 24 there rather than a E120 (which is also missing from my list).



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LCY-ARN-AMS-LGW,STN-OTP-AMS-YUL,YQB-JFK-LAX-DUS-STN,LGW-DXB-BKK-HKG-
User currently offlineFshplns From United States of America, joined Oct 2010, 89 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 3 months 13 hours ago) and read 7957 times:

Thank you very much for the good memories. Last time I was in Yellowstone was on 9/11, and stranded there until the first flight by Delta could fly from SLC back to home here in ATL. Imagine getting stranded at Yellowstone for 5 days until the first flight could get out, what a rough vacation. lmao


Chris


User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 612 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (1 year 3 months 12 hours ago) and read 7939 times:

Quoting eastafspot (Reply 9):
Excellent trip report i really enjoyed it

Thank you!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 10):
Great report, and some wonderful pictures...

Thanks, I'm flattered.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 10):
Ha, reminds me of the holding pen at Osh (OSS) airport in Kyrgystan, although I boarded an Antonov 24 there rather than a E120 (which is also missing from my list).

That sounds like an adventure. I'm still waiting to log my first Russian/Soviet aircraft. Good luck catching the Brasilia some day!

Quoting Fshplns (Reply 11):
Last time I was in Yellowstone was on 9/11, and stranded there until the first flight by Delta could fly from SLC back to home here in ATL. Imagine getting stranded at Yellowstone for 5 days until the first flight could get out, what a rough vacation.

Five days stranded in Yellowstone sounds fine to me! Despite living so close, I rarely visit for more than a day at a time. Thanks for reading.



Flown: DL,OS,NZ,UN,VV,NW,AA,UA,HP,TZ,AS,AF,KL,SK,WS,AZ,OK; op by OO,MQ,XJ,9E,G7,EV,QX,RP
User currently offlineFshplns From United States of America, joined Oct 2010, 89 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 3 months 11 hours ago) and read 7887 times:

The 5 days was great, but stressed the whole time, worried if I was ever gonna get back home   

User currently onlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6072 posts, RR: 14
Reply 14, posted (1 year 3 months 5 hours ago) and read 7800 times:

Quoting redzeppelin (Reply 2):
You can imagine that SGU gets a lot of non-rev traffic with the OO headquarters there.

You don't know the half of it...  
Quoting LPDAL (Reply 6):
I noticed those EMB-120s also when I connected in SLC to go onto Palm Springs, which is unfortunately operated by a CR2 instead of a Brasilia.

The Brasilia doesn't quite have the legs for that route. The jet is needed, though, because of the additional seats, and it saves about 1:10 flying time.

-----

I jumpsat in and out of WYS several years back (with the only other passengers being Stephen Covey and family.) Indeed, it's a beautiful area!

What surprises me, though, is how the town manages to survive in winter with the park closed, and just about everything else covered in 10 feet of snow.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 612 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (1 year 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7702 times:

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 14):
You don't know the half of it...

I have heard elsewhere that OO keeps the frequency up on that route as a service to their employees, but you might know more about that. I know that my outbound SLC-SGU leg was showing at least 15 empty seats the day before the flight, and that the flight went out completely full. I assume those seats were all taken up by non-revs.

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 14):
What surprises me, though, is how the town manages to survive in winter with the park closed, and just about everything else covered in 10 feet of snow.

The west entrance of YNP is open to snowmobiles and snow coaches for most of the winter, but the numbers don't come close to the summer crowds. Even the West Yellostone McDonald's closed for the season last winter. The flip side of that is just how much the town grows and comes to life in the summer with the influx of tourists and seasonal workers. I've noticed this year that there are a lot of Eastern European women working in the fast food places -- reminds me of some of the tourist destinations I've visited in Western Europe in that regard.


The YNP visitation statistics at the link below are interesting. The west entrance (near WYS) is by far the most used gateway to the park, with nearly double the number of visitors entering by the south entrance (near JAC). It's partly because the west entrance is nearest to Old Faithful and the other geysers, but also because the west entrance is the easiest to drive to from SLC and other regional population centers. It's obvious that the 368k people entering the west entrance in July of 2012 didn't all fly to WYS! But as mentioned earlier, road trips to YNP are an American tradition.

look for "Yellowstone National Park Visitors by Entrance for 2012" at this link:
http://www.yellowstone.co/stats.htm

Historically, the north entrance (at Gardiner, MT, near Mammoth Hot Springs) was the primary gateway to YNP. The Northern Pacific Railroad served Gardiner with a spur line from Livingston and held an effective monopoly on YNP tourist traffic. To this very day you can buy NPRR-branded merchandise at gift shops in the park. The town of West Yellowstone, as I understand it, was founded by the Union Pacific Railroad, who wanted a piece of the pie. UP built a spur line to the town site from Pocatello, ID, and proceeded to develop the town to support the tourism traffic. Rail service to YNP ended decades ago, but the UP passenger depot at West Yellowstone still stands as a museum.

[Edited 2013-07-24 08:08:42]


Flown: DL,OS,NZ,UN,VV,NW,AA,UA,HP,TZ,AS,AF,KL,SK,WS,AZ,OK; op by OO,MQ,XJ,9E,G7,EV,QX,RP
User currently offlineCO777/200 From Germany, joined Sep 2000, 56 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 7682 times:

Thanks for that very very interesting report and pictures from these two smaller airports.
And your pictures from the Zion are just gorgeous. What a wonderful place! Many memories came up when I was there two years ago and my flight on a OO EMB120 from SAN to LAX.


User currently offlinefutureualpilot From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2605 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (1 year 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 7613 times:

I'm glad you enjoyed your travel with SkyWest, it is a good company with great employees. Just about any flying done by the Bro at OO is bound to be scenic.

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
"The Canadair, the world's most environmentally sound jet, also provides the quietest ride of any regional jet aircraft." ...so why are they falling out of favor?

Unfortunately it also costs a fortune to operate with current gas prices being what they are. In today's airline world, the economics of the airplane trump just about everything. That being said, SkyWest makes money in the pro rate markets that are served with the -200s.

Quoting LPDAL (Reply 6):
I have to get a ride on one of those Brasilia's before they are gone

You have plenty of time, the Bro's at OO are the biggest moneymaker after the CRJ-900s. It sips the fuel and I'm told it breaks even under half full. Word is OO has actually been trying to find a few more EMB-120s to add to the fleet but they're difficult to come by for a reasonable price without eleventy bazillion cycles already on the airframe.

Quoting Goldenshield (Reply 14):
The Brasilia doesn't quite have the legs for that route. The jet is needed, though, because of the additional seats, and it saves about 1:10 flying time.
OO used to use the Brasilia from SLC to several places in Southern California, including SNA and PSP. It has the legs and could make it with passengers and bags (likely weight limited during the summer of course) but given the demand the RJ is a better fit.

[Edited 2013-07-24 12:44:37]

[Edited 2013-07-24 12:45:29]


Life is better when you surf.
User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 612 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (1 year 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 7585 times:

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 17):
Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
"The Canadair, the world's most environmentally sound jet, also provides the quietest ride of any regional jet aircraft." ...so why are they falling out of favor?

Unfortunately it also costs a fortune to operate with current gas prices being what they are. In today's airline world, the economics of the airplane trump just about everything. That being said, SkyWest makes money in the pro rate markets that are served with the -200s.

I think that photo and it's caption date to about 1994 when the CRJ was the hot new thing at OO. It's interesting how nearly 20 years can change your perspective on an aircraft. I wonder if the CRJ, as it approaches retirement, will get the heroic send-off and fond memories that enthusiasts reserve for some of the classic airliners. I doubt it. Which kind of makes me sad.

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 17):
Word is OO has actually been trying to find a few more EMB-120s to add to the fleet

That would be cool if they can find some. I'm glad to hear that they'll probably stay in the fleet for a while.

Thanks for reading.



Flown: DL,OS,NZ,UN,VV,NW,AA,UA,HP,TZ,AS,AF,KL,SK,WS,AZ,OK; op by OO,MQ,XJ,9E,G7,EV,QX,RP
User currently offlinefutureualpilot From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2605 posts, RR: 8
Reply 19, posted (1 year 2 months 4 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 7547 times:

Quoting redzeppelin (Reply 18):
I think that photo and it's caption date to about 1994 when the CRJ was the hot new thing at OO. It's interesting how nearly 20 years can change your perspective on an aircraft. I wonder if the CRJ, as it approaches retirement, will get the heroic send-off and fond memories that enthusiasts reserve for some of the classic airliners. I doubt it. Which kind of makes me sad.

Agreed, things are quite different now than they were when the first CRJ's showed up. It has served it's purpose, and been a good airplane it just isn't as competitive as other RJs these days. I'm sure there will be some fanfare at OO when the last 200 is put out to the pasture, and maybe a nice photo op as the RJ crew boards the waiting Brasilia to deadhead home  
Quoting redzeppelin (Reply 18):
That would be cool if they can find some. I'm glad to hear that they'll probably stay in the fleet for a while.

I know they've repainted a couple into the latest UA paint job (CO colors), it is tough to beat the economics of a turboprop. Jets are great but sometimes they just can't hold up against a venerable old Brasilian blender.



Life is better when you surf.
User currently offlineWA707atMSP From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2245 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (1 year 2 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 7408 times:

Thank you for a fantastic trip report.

My father and I spent 1 1/2 weeks visiting all of the parks in the "four corners" area in 1995. Our only disappointment was that Zion was almost completely shut down, after a landslide into the Virgin River caused the river to wash out the main road through the park. I finally made it back to Zion two years ago, to see what I'd missed - it was spectacular.

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
This was the consolation prize, a stunning view of Grand Prismatic Spring in the Midway Geyser Basin, the largest hot spring in the United States. The colors are a product of pigmented bacteria that live in and around the hot mineral water. At this point, the kids in front of me were going bananas. And so was I:

I'd actually consider this 1st prize, and Old Faithful a consolation prize. Grand Prismatic Spring is so large that you can't grasp its scale from the ground - only from the air.



Seaholm Maples are #1!
User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 612 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 7208 times:

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 20):
Thank you for a fantastic trip report.

Thank you for reading!

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 20):
I finally made it back to Zion two years ago, to see what I'd missed - it was spectacular.

Indeed it is. This was my first trip to Zion since 1996, but this was a quick one-day trip to hike the Subway and we sadly didn't have time to visit the main area of the park. The Subway trailhead is accessed from a public road that traverses an undeveloped area in the northwest sector of the park.

Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 20):
Grand Prismatic Spring is so large that you can't grasp its scale from the ground - only from the air.

I'm going back in August to see it from the ground. Maybe I'll post an update on here then to show the difference in perspective.



Flown: DL,OS,NZ,UN,VV,NW,AA,UA,HP,TZ,AS,AF,KL,SK,WS,AZ,OK; op by OO,MQ,XJ,9E,G7,EV,QX,RP
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 22, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 7057 times:

Hello

Interesting review, thanks for sharing it with us.
Nice to see the EM2 in the log. Great landscaping in that part of the USA.
Yellowstone airport is unique as well.

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 612 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (1 year 2 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 6470 times:

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 22):
Interesting review, thanks for sharing it with us.

You're welcome. Thanks for reading.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 22):
Great landscaping in that part of the USA.

I couldn't have said it better.  
Quoting MSS658 (Reply 22):
Yellowstone airport is unique as well.

Indeed. I think that the terminal was built in the 1960s (anybody know exactly?) and hasn't changed much since then. It's a classic American flying experience. It's easy to imagine stepping out of the terminal and seeing a WA Electra waiting to carry you on to your destination. (Per Wikipedia, WA operated Electras at WYS in the 60s and 70s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellowstone_Airport). It fits well as the gateway to YNP, where many structures date to the early 20th century and have been preserved to maintain that heritage.



Flown: DL,OS,NZ,UN,VV,NW,AA,UA,HP,TZ,AS,AF,KL,SK,WS,AZ,OK; op by OO,MQ,XJ,9E,G7,EV,QX,RP
User currently onlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6072 posts, RR: 14
Reply 24, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 5880 times:

Quoting futureualpilot (Reply 17):
OO used to use the Brasilia from SLC to several places in Southern California, including SNA and PSP. It has the legs and could make it with passengers and bags (likely weight limited during the summer of course) but given the demand the RJ is a better fit.

Let me put it another way:

The Brasilia can fly the route non-stop, and has flown much longer repositioning flights, but never with max payload. Ever. Perhaps, back in the day when lower passenger weights existed, they could get away with 30 passengers and bags without bumping anyone, but not today. Going above 28 pax today is a treat given the new weights, thus, I would be very surprised if they could get more than 20 pax on SLC-SNA on even the best day presently.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlinetreebeard787 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 663 posts, RR: 1
Reply 25, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 5796 times:

Very cool report! The last flight I took on the E-120 was a UAX (OO) flight from LAX over to ONT several years ago, It was a cool little airplane, reminded me of the Saab 340 a bit.


Allons-y!
User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 612 posts, RR: 0
Reply 26, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 5799 times:

Quoting treebeard787 (Reply 25):
Very cool report!

Thanks!

Quoting treebeard787 (Reply 25):
The last flight I took on the E-120 was a UAX (OO) flight from LAX over to ONT several years ago, It was a cool little airplane, reminded me of the Saab 340 a bit.

Wow--short flight. How long has it been since that route was cut? My shortest logged flight is RST-MSP, which I flew several times while living in RST about 10 years ago. At the time, that route was usually served with a mix of DC-9s and Saab 340s. I haven't actually been on a Saab since 2004, but it's easy to see the similarities.



Flown: DL,OS,NZ,UN,VV,NW,AA,UA,HP,TZ,AS,AF,KL,SK,WS,AZ,OK; op by OO,MQ,XJ,9E,G7,EV,QX,RP
User currently offlinetreebeard787 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 663 posts, RR: 1
Reply 27, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5802 times:

Quoting redzeppelin (Reply 26):
Wow--short flight. How long has it been since that route was cut? My shortest logged flight is RST-MSP, which I flew several times while living in RST about 10 years ago. At the time, that route was usually served with a mix of DC-9s and Saab 340s. I haven't actually been on a Saab since 2004, but it's easy to see the similarities.

I took the LAX-ONT flight around 2004 if I remember right, I don't think the route has seen service for awhile now.
It was around 30 miles I think, it took about 20 minutes from gate to gate, was a fun flight. I remember the 120 was painted in the Skywest colors vs the UA colors. I haven't been on a Saab since DL retired them in 2010.



Allons-y!
User currently onlineGoldenshield From United States of America, joined Jan 2001, 6072 posts, RR: 14
Reply 28, posted (1 year 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 5524 times:

Quoting treebeard787 (Reply 27):

I took the LAX-ONT flight around 2004 if I remember right, I don't think the route has seen service for awhile now.
It was around 30 miles I think, it took about 20 minutes from gate to gate,

It was cut in late 2006/early 2007, along with SNA at the same time. I used to fly this route when I visited my parents vs. taking the Metrolink.

It's 40 miles point-to-point, with flight time of 15 minutes LAX-ONT, and 8 minutes ONT-LAX, assuming west flow at both airports.



Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.
User currently offlineBZNPilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2006, 264 posts, RR: 1
Reply 29, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 5167 times:

Hi redzeppelin,

I hadn't been following the forum at all in the last weeks, but when I returned to it and read this report, I was in for a real treat! That was one heck of a great report, with interesting airports, great little turboprops, and amazing scenery both from the air and on the ground. And it was especially wonderful to see some pics from home. Well done!!

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
This report features two airports that I don't believe have ever been reviewed in this forum: WYS (West Yellowstone, Montana) and SGU (St. George, Utah).

Indeed, I think you snagged two new ones for A.net!

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
The trail goes through the bottom of a narrow canyon with vertical walls hundreds of feet high on each side. There are four drop-offs that can only be passed by rappelling, and several places where the canyon floor is flooded and the only option is to swim.

Sounds cool!

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
I was returning from a business trip on the east coast and volunteered to bump off of an oversold MSP-BZN flight in exchange for a nice Delta voucher.

Nice! Always great to get a freebie.

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
something that I've wanted to do since moving to Montana--catch a flight out of WYS, about a 90-minute drive from Bozeman. Prices out of WYS were lower than BZN, the schedule was similar, and the money spent on gas to drive there would easily be offset by the free parking at WYS. Not only would it be a new airport for my log, but a new aircraft type as well: the Embraer 120. The decision was very easy.

Good choice to go for WYS. With that said, somehow I've never taken the opportunity myself to fly to/from WYS commercially. I guess the fact that commercial service is limited to three months out of the year has something to do with that, not to mention I've been flying with United (through DEN/ORD) a bit more in recent years. Nonetheless, your report made me want to try to get on one of those OO E120s sometime! I have flown into/out of WYS as a kid, with my father at the controls of a Cessna. I would love to experience that again!

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
Looking South from Bozeman toward the mouth of Gallatin Canyon and the Spanish Peaks beyond. That's the direction I'm going today.

Familiar peaks!!  
Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
BTW-- A local resident on my return flight told me that the WYS runway was seriously damaged during the historic 1988 Yellowstone fire season by heavy C-141s that were brought in to support the fire fighting effort. He said that the airport had to be closed for a long time for major runway reparis. I've never heard anything about that. Does anybody on A.net know more?

I hadn't heard about the damaged runway during the '88 fire, but I do remember that summer very well. I was 6 years old at the time and was really into airplanes already at that point. My father, who had just earned his private pilot's license and was also very much into airplanes at the time, took me everyday out to Gallatin Field (BZN) to see the huge military transports that were delivering national guard troops to fight the fires. There were C141s, C5s and C130s, sometimes several on the ramp at once. It was a lot of action for a small airport like BZN (at that time). I also remember my parents driving me down to WYS in the summer of 1989, one year after the fires, to see Air Force One (707) arrive with President George H.W. Bush, who landed at WYS before hopping on a helicopter to survey the fire damage of the previous summer. Even though I was only 7, I'll never forget that moment, seeing the President waving, standing atop the airstairs after emerging from the door of that beautiful 707. This was probably my most memorable moment from WYS; I suppose it also illustrates that the runway, if it was indeed damaged in the summer of '88, was repaired by the time the next summer rolled around, when the President came to town. Maybe other A.netters know more of the story than I do; that's just what I can remember from WYS from that era.

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):

There are 2 SSKs at the DL counter, but it didn't really matter. The OO ground staff had already printed out cardstock itineraries for every passenger on the flight and had them laid out behind the counter. As each passenger approached the counter, the very friendly agents would check their ID, find their printed itinerary, and check them in.

Wow, excellent customer service! Kudos to they Skywest WYS employees.

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
C was clearly proud to work for SkyWest. She proceeded to suggest that I tell everyone in Bozeman to give WYS a try for their next flights as she printed my boarding passes and tagged my bag. She handed over my BP, and said, "6A, overwing exit. Does that sound right?" "Yes... Unless there is something better available." "Let me check row 9 for you. I think you'll like it." She handed over a new BP for 9C, explained that security would open about 20 minutes before flight time, and wished me a good flight.

Again, great to read that you had such good treatment! Genuine customer service, from a person who seems to take pride in her work and goes above and beyond doing just the bare basics of the job.

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
No barcode scanners here--C stood at the door and checked off passenger names from the manifest as we boarded.

Cool. I wonder how many airports still see this style of boarding? Not many these days...

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
rafts. She seemed to genuinely enjoy her job. I got the sense that there was nowhere she would rather be than working the turn to WYS on the E-120.

Again, most impressive. Skywest seems to be doing things right. To be honest, I've never had a bad experience with OO in all my years flying with them both as United Express and Delta Connection. As a company, they seem to reflect the friendliness, work ethic and hospitality of the west. Of course there are always delays and mishaps, but on the whole, I have a very good impression of OO. It sounds like they did well in your case, too!

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):

It's funny how you can take hundreds of pictures of stunning landscapes, only to come home at the end of the day and realize that the best picture of the entire day is a close-up view of a little frog sunning himself on a rock:

True enough. Your photos from the Subway were all stunning (great work) but I agree, that frog photo is particularly good.

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
This was the consolation prize, a stunning view of Grand Prismatic Spring in the Midway Geyser Basin, the largest hot spring in the United States. The colors are a product of pigmented bacteria that live in and around the hot mineral water. At this point, the kids in front of me were going bananas. And so was I:

Amazing!! How wonderful that you got to see these features from the air.

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
It's hard to explain how much I enjoyed this last segment. A great flight with a great crew on a great little airplane over beautiful scenery (and very familiar scenery as well--I've lived most of my life along the road between SLC and BZN, and have spent time on the ground within the frame of every photo from this last segment.) Thank you, SkyWest.

Your words and photos conveyed, at least to me, how great of a time you had on this trip, and especially the last segment. A very excellent trip report which really gave me the sense of being there and experiencing it myself.

Quoting redzeppelin (Thread starter):
The flight numbers were Delta, but this was truly a SkyWest experience. SGU-SLC is the original OO route. SLC-WYS is operated by planes in OO livery. I believe that both routes are operated by OO at their own financial risk. Their ground and cabin crews were friendly and professional. It was a great traveling experience. SGU and WYS are great airports with interesting contrasts. Both serve as the gateway to a national park, but one is very modern while the other, if I may say so, is very exotic. But both are staffed by helpful and professional people.

A great summary to a great trip, and a great trip report. Thanks a lot for sharing!! This one really made my day (or week or month)!
All the best!
BZNPilot


User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 612 posts, RR: 0
Reply 30, posted (1 year 2 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 5007 times:

Quoting BZNPilot (Reply 29):
I hadn't been following the forum at all in the last weeks, but when I returned to it and read this report, I was in for a real treat! That was one heck of a great report, with interesting airports, great little turboprops, and amazing scenery both from the air and on the ground. And it was especially wonderful to see some pics from home. Well done!!

Thanks for reading! I have enjoyed reading all of your reports featuring BZN, and I'm glad that you liked this one. I borrowed a little bit from your style of pointing out various geographical features along the way--I hope you don't mind.

Quoting BZNPilot (Reply 29):
Good choice to go for WYS. With that said, somehow I've never taken the opportunity myself to fly to/from WYS commercially. I guess the fact that commercial service is limited to three months out of the year has something to do with that, not to mention I've been flying with United (through DEN/ORD) a bit more in recent years. Nonetheless, your report made me want to try to get on one of those OO E120s sometime! I have flown into/out of WYS as a kid, with my father at the controls of a Cessna. I would love to experience that again!

I can understand why you might like to keep your miles with United/Star, but you should really give WYS a chance sometime.

Quoting BZNPilot (Reply 29):
I hadn't heard about the damaged runway during the '88 fire, but I do remember that summer very well. I was 6 years old at the time and was really into airplanes already at that point. My father, who had just earned his private pilot's license and was also very much into airplanes at the time, took me everyday out to Gallatin Field (BZN) to see the huge military transports that were delivering national guard troops to fight the fires. There were C141s, C5s and C130s, sometimes several on the ramp at once. It was a lot of action for a small airport like BZN (at that time). I also remember my parents driving me down to WYS in the summer of 1989, one year after the fires, to see Air Force One (707) arrive with President George H.W. Bush, who landed at WYS before hopping on a helicopter to survey the fire damage of the previous summer.

Thanks for sharing. I only moved to BZN in 2009 and I haven't yet learned all of the local aviation history. I was about 10 years old and living in Southeast Idaho during the '88 fires. I still remember the smokey air making the moon look red, over 150 miles from Yellowstone.

Quoting BZNPilot (Reply 29):
Wow, excellent customer service! Kudos to they Skywest WYS employees.

They really did a fantastic job. I was impressed with the service on all 4 flights, but especially the segments to/from WYS.

Quoting BZNPilot (Reply 29):
All the best!

To you as well.



Flown: DL,OS,NZ,UN,VV,NW,AA,UA,HP,TZ,AS,AF,KL,SK,WS,AZ,OK; op by OO,MQ,XJ,9E,G7,EV,QX,RP
User currently offlineredzeppelin From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 612 posts, RR: 0
Reply 31, posted (1 year 2 months 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 4577 times:

Quoting redzeppelin (Reply 21):
Quoting WA707atMSP (Reply 20):Grand Prismatic Spring is so large that you can't grasp its scale from the ground - only from the air.
I'm going back in August to see it from the ground. Maybe I'll post an update on here then to show the difference in perspective.

As promised, here are a few pics of Grand Prismatic from the ground. Indeed, the perspective is very different and it's difficult to fully appreciate, but still spectacular.
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/DSC00173.jpg
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/DSC00167.jpg
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/DSC00166.jpg
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/DSC00165.jpg
http://i1172.photobucket.com/albums/r577/bigredzeppelin/DSC00171.jpg



Flown: DL,OS,NZ,UN,VV,NW,AA,UA,HP,TZ,AS,AF,KL,SK,WS,AZ,OK; op by OO,MQ,XJ,9E,G7,EV,QX,RP
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