Grand Canyon VFR Howto

Last weekend me and my brother and step-father flew over the Grand Canyon.  As a heavy user of Foreflight on the iPad I was disappointed that they don’t have the Grand Canyon VFR Chart available.  I wasn’t near anywhere where I could purchase the paper chart, so what to do?

My brother wound up finding a copy of the Grand Canyon VFR chart over at ChartBundle.  They don’t charge for things but they do ask for donations and I think he left them a few bucks.  I stored the chart in the “documents” section of Foreflight.  This method of looking at the chart is pretty painful though because to be able to get enough resolution to be able to read the numbers on the chart you have to keep it at fairly high resolution, which makes a huge document (I think it was something like 40M) and takes forever to render as you attempt to scroll around.  It also of course doesn’t do moving map over the pdf.

What I realized was that you really only need 3 pieces of information from the chart and then you can put it away:

  1. Vfr corridor lat/long gps coordinates
  2. Altitudes for the corridors
  3. Frequencies

You can take the gps coordinates from the chart and type them directly into Foreflight (and your Perspective / G1000 / 430 / whatever you have, Perspective in my case).  Here’s the list of coordinates for the corridors:

Foreflight will take Lat/Long as time based coordinates as long as you follow the values with a “T”.  north is positive values, south is negative, East is positive, West is negative.  I made waypoints for each of the north and south ends of the corridors.  For example, for Dragon corridor I made DRAGONN and DRAGONS.  Using this method, DRAGONS would be: 360100T and -1121551T.  After typing these all in I made a reference route which contained all of the corridor waypoints, connected on the south of the Canyon.  Here’s what that looks like (including the northeast edge of the canyon which heads up to Page AZ):

So now we have a reference about where we can fly across the canyon.  Don’t deviate too far from the center because there are “no fly” areas in between each of those corridors.  Adding these to Perspective was even easier because user waypoints of type “Lat / Long” take time based GPS coordinates directly.

The altitudes they want you are are 11,500 or 13,500 northbound and 10,500 of 12,500 southbound:

As for frequencies, it’s basically just 127.05 on the south of the Canyon and 120.05 on the north and east of the canyon.  The chart says to “monitor” these frequencies.  Are you supposed to self announce?  It doesn’t say that, but we did just to be careful: “Cirrus 812CD crossing Dragon corridor northbound and 11,500”.

We came up the Dragon corridor, flew up the Page AZ, and then came back down via the Zuni corridor.  The FBO named “Classic Aviation” in Page AZ was really nice and let us take their car into town to get some lunch.

That whole area is really beautiful looking from the air.  Here’s the departure from KPGA:

It was a great flight.  I’d definitely do it again if I wind up in the area.