Finally, the posts on Burning Man. I have been getting a lot of requests from friends and family but ultimately some pilots who have been following my blog suggested that they might finally get the low down on Burning Man by visiting me in person. NOT NECESSARY! Stay home, PLEASE, this is what you have been waiting for.
First I would like to thank Sareh, Dean and Susan for sending me some photos from our rides out over the playa together. Without them all I would have are the pictures I took on the ground. As it turned out I did not take many of these either as I decided the more time I spent documenting the less time I would spend experiencing. So, thanks guys! Between the four of us I think I have enough pictures to put a few posts together.
I got a good night’s sleep in Winnemucca and headed out to the airport after a quick breakfast. The Black Rock City airport opened at 6:00 but the gate to the festival would not open until 10:00. Everything was in order and I packed my gear back into Niner-Zero and departed just before 9:00 in the morning. It was a beautiful morning and the flight was amazing and only about 40 minutes in length. I pretty much followed the railroad tracks from Winnemucca to Black Rock City. I was able to cut some corners over some low mountains and that saved a few minutes and my arrival was uneventful.
Although taken a few days later this is a nice view of our airport although it does not show the two (yes two) runways we had this year. The airport is located at point five of the Black Rock City pentagon. Our camp is just inside the city at point five. The airplanes are parked outside the fence. Some of us just arrive in our planes and head into the city for the week, others have an RV or structure in the airport camp while some of us, me for example, camp in tents with our airplanes. The airplanes in the very bottom left corner are in “transient parking” and were gifting rides to burners when this was taken. The location is easy in and easy out. Near the end of the landing runway and also the beginning of the take off runway. The two runways was an huge improvement over last year. No more waiting for two or three airplanes to land before departing or having to go around on landing because the airplane that just took off created too much dust, making the runway difficult to see.
After I landed I parked close to the runway and an interceptor loaned me a sledge hammer so I could drive my Fly Ties into the playa and secure my airplane. Then he drove me to the gate in his golf cart and I entered Burning Man just after the gate opened at 10:00 AM. I was even able to give a couple of rides on the first day there. Since I had full tanks leaving Winnemucca and had not burned much fuel in the short time it took me to fly to Black Rock City I had to limit myself to passengers weighing in at about 130 pounds or less. So it turned out I gave rides to two lovely young ladies and I was left contemplating keeping the tanks fairly full for the remainder of the festival. Solely as a safety measure, of course.
Last year I arrived on Monday and did not take any scenic flights until Tuesday and by then the city was pretty much filled in. Much like it looks in the first picture of this post which was taken mid-week this year. But when I went for those first two scenic flights this year the gate had just opened and the city looked pretty sparse. I wish I had a picture so if either of you two see my blog and have pictures, get in touch!