A Flowery Charter

Departure Airport: Arcata/Eureka Regional Airport (KACV)
Arrival Airport: Grand Canyon National Park Airport (KGCN)
Aircraft and Livery: E175 Tulip (Private)
Flight Time: 1 hour, 48 minutes
Server: Expert

A few weeks ago, I received an email, instructing me to be at the Acrata Airport on the morning of October 18th, for our charter down to the Grand Canyon. I was excited. We’d been planning this trip for months, part of our research program into avian migration patterns in deserts. We were going down to the Grand Canyon to study nesting birds in the area.

So, sure enough, bright and early, I arrived at the small Acrata/Eureka Regional Airport for our charter down to Arizona. Because of the relatively remote location of our project, at least in relation to any commercial airport, it wouldn’t make sense to have all 50 or so people on the team take a multi leg trip to a larger city in Arizona, and then drive hours through the desert with all our gear.

So, a charter was in order. Our plane today was a beautiful E175, wearing the Tulip Charters livery.

After quickly speeding through security, we dutifully filed onto the aircraft, and took our seats for the 2 hour hop to the Grand Canyon. The seat was nice and cushy, with plenty of legroom. To make things even better, we have gate to gate Wi-Fi, although it was quite laggy.

It was a drizzly, chilly morning as we pushed back, started our engines, and taxied the 100 yards to runway 32. The takeoff was quick, and we soon rotated straight into the clouds, making for a rather turbulent climb. When you factor in the brisk 10 knot crosswind, it wasn’t a particularly comfortable start to our flight.

The plane looped around to the south side of the airport, and then headed directly east towards Nevada.

The clouds cleared just a few minutes after we reached our initial cruising altitude of 28,000 feet. Our flight took us east out of Acrata, into Nevada, and then southeast towards the Arizona border and Grand Canyon National Park.

After maybe 20 minutes at cruise, the flight attendants, Mike, Terry, and Jeanette, came through with a delightful full breakfast service and drink cart. I thoroughly enjoyed my omelet with a side of fresh fruit and freshly made honey butter and bread.

Near Topanah, in Central Nevada, we enter a small circling pattern, to kill a little bit of time before Air Force Two, carrying the Vice President, moved a little farther south, so we didn’t get too close (in reality, it was an autopilot thing where it went in a loop because I placed two waypoints slightly too close to each other).

It was only a delay of a few minutes, and once we were underway again, I got up and used the restroom at the front of the plane, giving me a good look at the forward cabin. It was around this time that we climbed up to 34,000 feet, to avoid some turbulent air.

Soon enough, we began our decent, as we entered the vast Grand Canyon. Because of the mid day desert heat, and mountainous terrain below, things got a little bumpy and the seatbelt sign was turned back on.

On approach, heading over a plateau in the center of the canyon. The views on the approach were stunning, and everyone was glued to their windows.

Crossing over the canyon once again. We flew past the airport, made a tight U-turn, and came in to land on Runway 03.

A hiker in the canyon caught a cool shot of us flying high overhead, and posted it on Instagram.

We touched down rather hard, and braked, using up most of the 9,000 foot runway. The altitude of the airport is close to 7,000 feet, so the aircraft needed much more space to stop than at sea level.

After we slowed to a sedate 15 knots, we pulled onto the ramp, and were guided into the stand. Boarding stairs were wheeled up the jet, and as the door was opened, a blast of Arizona heat filled the plane.

All and all, a good experience with Tulip Charters.


might want to change this to “my”

Nice trip report!!!

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Thank you! Fixed! I always proofread before posted, but it must have slipped through.


I must say, it’s fun doing these “charter flights” I’ll be doing KDFW → SKCL tomorrow as a “cargo” flight with the AA 777-300ER

Nice snaps! @Mort


Thanks! I know, charters open a whole world of opportunities (literally!). And it’s really hard to tell someone it’s “unrealistic.”

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