52 States in 8 Months

My private aircraft.

Posted in Las Vegas to El Paso by Ulf on April 23, 2009

On March 31 I went from Albuquerque, NM, to El Paso, TX. Originally I planned to do this trip by car, but Alamo refused to let me take a New Mexican car to Texas. I have no idea why, but I could not change it. I tried Amtrak, but their proposal to get from Albuquerque to El Paso (266 miles) was taking a train from Albuquerque to Los Angeles (789 miles) and then another train from Los Angeles to El Paso (802 miles). Unfortunately I did not try Greyhound who would have taken me all the way for $20. Instead I booked a flight with Pacific Wings which cost me about $60. According to their website the regular fare is $156.00, but I booked it on cheaptickets.com (or was it expedia.com?).

When I arrived at Albuquerque Airport I found out that the flight was operated by New Mexico Airlines. The check-in process was quite different from what I was used to. There was a little phone on a desk. I picked up, a woman asked me where I am, I said “Albuquerque”. She asked for my name, and then she said “Ok, you’re checked in. Please proceed to gate E something.” — yes, that was it!
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So I went to the gate. Both my pilot and my co-pilot were already waiting for me. They scaled my bag and asked me for my weight. After a few minutes we went to our plane. On the left-hand side picture you can see my copilot (she put on some make-up just for my flight, but I believe she would also have been cute without it).

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Well, they started our Cessna Caravan 208B, and flew me to Alamogordo. We stopped at there for two reasons: For one thing Alamogordo Regional Airport is the New Mexico Airport of the Year 2001, awarded by the New Mexico Airport Managers’ Association. Wow! For another thing, we had to drop one more passenger (an old lady) who I did not mention so far. But yes, on the leg from Alamogordo to El Paso there was just me in the plane, and the two pilots. Still they had to give me a safety briefing in the beginning of both flights, telling me about emergency exits and so on *g*.

Just the fuel for that flight cost about $200 (my own estimate). So how can New Mexico Airlines survive and continue wasting energy? It’s very simple: There is a law in the US which declares NMA as an “Essential Air Service“. The company gets an annual subsidy of 1.6 million dollars. That means that the US tax payers have paid for my stupid flight and my waste of energy. Sorry folks, but seriously I was not aware of these facts when I booked the flight!

Anyway, these are some of the things I’ve seen during the flight. First of all, there is the Trinity site. It must be somewhere on the next picture. It is the place were the USA tested their first atomic bomb, about 2.5 weeks before they dropped a bomb over Hiroshima. If I had done a better job while planning the trip I could have visited the Trinity site on April 4th. They do only open it twice a year since it is in an active missile testing range. But since I was in the area four days earlier, I could only see it from about 10 miles away.

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The next two pictures show Alamogordo Airport and a bit of that area. I’ve probably taken the pictures for a very simple reason. Alamogordo simply is the only seriously inhabited place between Albuquerque and El Paso. And if they didn’t have the Holloman Air Force Base, then Alamogordo most probably wouldn’t be inhabited at all. Btw: There are about 700 Germans in Alamogordo. The German Luftwaffe uses the US facilities as a training site since they don’t have good test grounds for the Tornado in Germany.

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Near the Holloman Air Force base you can once again find strange stuff somewhere in the landscape. This is how some strange stuff looks from the top, and this is what another one is like on Google Maps. This was my view:
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Somewhere close by there is a really dense system of roads in a place where I would not expect any roads. Once again, I don’t know why. Maybe they searched for oil at this place?

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Or maybe they train invading $ARABIC_COUNTRY$?

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3 Responses

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  1. Tommy said, on April 23, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    ROFL LOL ROFL PIMP!!! Watt ne story! :D

    (… hättest du dich mal ein bisschen leichter geschummelt, dann wärst du noch ein wenig rumgekommen. ;) … )

  2. Din Mor said, on April 25, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Obelix würde sagen: Die spinnen, die Amis.

  3. […] to Albuquerque. Both Paul and I had to catch our planes in the next morning (I already wrote about my private, state-sponsored flight). We drove through Alamogordo (having trouble pronouncing it? try Alamo-Gordo), and then we once […]


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