Flight Back from Las Cruces in Google Earth

Flight Back in Google EarthYesterday I flew a Cessna 182 back from Las Cruces, New Mexico to Sanford, NC. Fortunately, there was a 15-35 knot tail wind the whole way – which made it possible to make it back in one day. Normally, this plane cruises at 140 knots. But, I was averaging about 165 knots (190 mph/305 kph) for the trip. You can see my GPS track in Google Earth colorized by altitude. I stayed up at 9,000 feet altitude where the winds are a bit faster. I ended up making two stops – one in Sherman, Texas where I fueled and got some lunch; and another in Winchester, Tennessee for some fuel and a bio-break. This also helped give me a bit of a rest between legs of the trip. I took a few photos along the way which I will georeference and share later in the week. I may even overlay them over Google’s aerial photos just so you can compare. Oh, and I forgot to turn on the handheld GPS (just used to record the track) until shortly after takeoff from Las Cruces, New Mexico. I need to add that to my checklist.

For you pilots reading this: I used a useful planning tool at AirNav.com which lets you plan a trip (link seems broken at the moment) by finding the cheapest reported fuel at airports between two points. Both of the airports I picked had fuel as much as $1/gallon less expensive as other area airports. Sherman Municipal was only $2.75/gallon (self-serve). You will also note I got diverted around the Charlotte airspace – they rarely let general aviation planes through – even when the flight density is low.

  • Flight out to Las Cruces – make sure you read the bottom of the blog entry for more details on the flight conditions.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. This is realy cool the GPS track of your flight. It’s a shame that GPS units over here cost twice as much if not more than in the US.

  2. Way cool. Wish it was me. It looks a lot different from my glider-tracks. They tend to turn and twist a bit more 🙂

  3. The way the tracks are plotted in 3D is very cool. The takeoffs and landings look particularly good. It looks like GE even applies atmospheric haze to the track line itself (see http://i14.tinypic.com/4g3jluc.jpg).

  4. Does the GPS Navigation system map out the course in relation to other aircraft? I know NASA is planning on their sky highway and don’t know to what extent they use consumer data like this in their planning.

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