The Leadup: I showed up to the Hilton Hotel in Burbank at around 9:00am and at around 10:10 I, and around 30 other people got onto a "Paddy Wagon" bus and drove around the airport to Mercury Air Center where the plane had not yet landed. We then sat on the bus right outside the airport perimeter for about 10 minutes and the plane landed right in front of us on Runway 8. The bus then drove up to about 10 feet away from the left wing and we lined up in a single file line (me first). After all passengers were now off the plane we made our way to the back temporary steps.
On Board: I selected the first row to sit because the blades were right at that window and I figured it would be the most noisy there. It was actually row 2 because row 1 was taken out and replaced with a storage area. There's a door in the cabin, when you walk through that door you're in the baggage area and beyond that is the flight deck, just to give you a mental image. I selected seat 2D and within 10 minutes the number 2 engine was spinning. The high pitch scream filled the cabin as did the smell of Jet A. Engine 1 is now being started and the aircraft is jumping and lurching around like an off-balance washing machine. With both engines started we taxi for about 3 minutes to Runway 15 and wait off to the side to let a WN735 by. At around 10:40 we then taxi around the corner onto 15 and the takeoff power is applied in the turn.
The Flight: I was pushed back more than I expected and we were off the ground in around 3,500ft and then climbed slowly over the fence is a slight right turn to 210. We then turned right to 330 and flew directly over Van Nuys airport and then it was hot desert all the way through. The sound from the propellers was nothing like I had ever heard, various beat frequencies and noises that sounded like chains rattling, whistles and jackhammers combined. The flight attendant served Nutri-Grain Apple Cinammon bars and Cool Glacier water 16oz bottles. We were jolted with some updrafts over the desert and thrown around pretty good, there were people yelling "ooh" and "what was that?" and various other phrases. We made our approach into Laughlin by paralleling the hotels and circling in a sweeping right turn to final. We touched down around at around 11:50am and the sound of the reverse was deafening. We taxied to the tiny terminal and I was off the plane at about noon.
Flight Two: Now at dusk, 7:40pm we load onto the same F-27 for the return from IFP (International Fun Place) as they call it and I selected seat 7D so I can look at the main landing gear during takeoff and landing, this time with about 20 on board. The sounds during start up and taxi were much more tolerable from this seat. At about 8:00pm we lifted off into the still 100 degree dry heat and left the desert mecca behind. During cruise (13,000ft) we were now offered Goldfish snacks, but the same water. We were again in turbulence on two seperate occasions, this time with no yells and such. Now almost to BUR, after descending to around 4000AGL we passed almost directly over Magic Mountain. We made a straight in Runway 8 approach now completely dark outside and the gear came down 5 miles out and a very nose down attitude to correct began. We touched down about 500ft past the numbers and we pulled off the runway after using only 3,000ft. We began a taxi back to Mercury Air Center and all passengers were off about 9:10pm.
I know this was too long of a post but it's past 1:00am and my brain is fried from the 110+ temperatures at Laughlin. So if this doesn't make sense, I'm sorry. Any questions or if you want me to clear something up just let me know
Photo © Eddy Gual - Aviation Photography of Miami