Thursday, September 6, 2007

Mid-Air Over Minden

The reflection from a window of me with the plane I went up in today. Cool, huh?

So here's the thing. I went up on a four-seat Cessna this afternoon with a local flight instructor who told us he knew the location of the fancy Flying M Ranch, owned by Paris Hilton's grandpa and where Steve Fossett took off. I wanted to see it. I shared the tab for this flight with journalists from the Sunday Telegraph and the Sunday Times of London, lovely blokes both.

Sadly, for $200 an hour our pilot was a bit incompetent. We wandered through the region searching for it and couldn't find it. My cell phone was working from up above, so I text messaged Miles and my "Petcast" co-host Emily to get them to find me GPS coordinates. We ended up with five different sets of coordinates, the final one of which was probably the most precise although all would have been in the right area. Emily, in fact, managed to spot the thing on a Google Earth map, but by the time we had that specific a pinpoint, our pilot said he really had to get back in for another appointment! Later, one of the Civil Air Patrol officials expressed bafflement that the pilot couldn't find a landmark that obvious and easy to spot; it's apparently right at a fork in a very prominent river. Oh well. I started to think the place was like the island on "Lost" and worried that if we did find it, we'd have to kill a legion of Others to get away.

Anywho, it was still a nice ride that gave us good perspective on the vast and difficult terrain the planes are facing as they seek Fossett. And I may have set myself good for some future assignments with the British newspapers, too. Always working an angle, I am.

Here are some more pix, each of which can be enlarged by clicking on them:

The mountainous terrain (above) and the flat area. The greenery you see is hay farms.


Bay in TN said...

That's hilarious. I wish I had an aerial photo of East Tennessee to show you. Nevada -- a desert -- is greener than Tennessee this hot, desolate, drought-ravaged September. Our farmers ran out of hay in July, at which time they started selling off their livestock. I hope they sent 'em to Nevada!