Rachel Visit by Air, Nov 13-14, 2020
by Gabe Zeifman

Dreamland Resort Webmaster Joerg Arnu and Pilot Gabe Zeifman
with Groom Lake Road below and Area 51 in the background
One of my little brothers, Noah, came out west to join me at the Gold Point flyin. My friend Max had organized this event for his birthday and invited the backcountry pilot community. Max and I both had the Friday prior to the event off and we thought a visit to Rachel would be a fun pre-flyin. A couple other planes planned on joining but bailed due to winds. So it ended up being just Max and I (with my little brother riding along).

Max and I met up at the Fish Lake Valley Hot Well, where we landed on the road. Max is a flight instructor and took Noah on his first flying lesson, at ten years old! We stopped at Tonopah (TPH) for gas along the way. It was getting close to sunset, so our friends on the ground in Rachel set up vehicles on the two ends of the "runway" we were using and lit it up. As we passed Reveille Peak, I was in ham radio range of Joerg and communicated with him via that, and I maintained air-band contact with the second plane (Joerg also had air band capability just in case).

Once we were both safely on the ground, we were greeted by Joerg and a hefty contingent of the Rachel crew. We secured our planes in some friendly driveways and Joerg took us to the "Party Room". What a great time! We spent the better part of the night chatting aviation and other topics with Joerg, Pat (Vietnam Army helicopter pilot, Gulfstream/Falcon corporate pilot), Bob (Boeing 747 and corporate pilot), and Jim (USAF vet). Noah kept the fire going and we all talked shop. Joerg was gracious enough to let us camp in his living room for the night.

In the morning, Joerg let us use one of his vehicles to go on a little adventure in the mountains near Rachel. Max, Noah and I got some breakfast at the Inn then went back to get the planes ready for some sightseeing. My plane had been on pre-heat for a few hours, and Max started up and let the Cub idle for a while. Max and Noah departed first, then Joerg and I shortly thereafter for some sightseeing southbound.

I called Nellis Approach to ask if transit of any of the restricted areas was possible, but was denied. So we continued along the edge of R-4808N "the Box" without any ATC services, just shy of a mile from the boundary. Joerg brought his camera with a 400mm zoom lens and caught some shots of Groom Lake. After two passes along the boundary, we returned to Rachel.

Max and I topped up our planes with some jerry cans of AvGas I'd left with Joerg on a previous trip (best idea I've had in awhile, it's great to have a stash of fuel in Rachel). We then departed for the Gold Point flyin, again stopping at Tonopah, with a wave goodbye to our friends in Rachel. It was a great trip, I'll be glad to return again soon, thanks Joerg and the rest of the Rachel gang for a great visit!

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