Life Photography Travel

My First Flying Adventure in a Cirrus SR20 with Jessica Ambats

In a life changing trip, my best friend, Jessica Ambats, world famous aviation photographer, and I flew a Cirrus SR20 from Santa Monica across the Grand Canyon to Sedona and Page, Arizona. I had only clocked 10 hours in a Cessna 172 before this trip, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to fly this beautiful low wing plane over some of Arizona’s most incredible sights.


Our journey started at the Santa Monica airport. After only flying a Cessna 152 & 172, I was immediately smitten with the Avidyne glass cockpit and the Garmin GPS upgrades.


From Santa Monica, we headed to Sedona with a quick stop for gas at Blythe airport, the tiny airfield in Riverside California that was once used by the US Airforce in WW2. The old Wolfe Aviation hanger was a cool backdrop for some cool plane photos.



You can tell a few planes have been through Blythe in recent years from their insane wall of badges.


Once our fuel was topped up, we made our way to Sedona. The landscape turned from miles and miles of sand to jagged red rocks as we greased our way into Arizona. Not my words, the guy on the radio actually tells Jessica to “grease” the landing. I’m proud to say, she totally did.



After eating a copious amount of tacos, we set off to Page, Arizona. On our way out of town we passed over the Meteor Crater in Northern Arizona. The world’s most well-preserved meteor crash site (50,000 years ago) spans 2.4 miles and is over 500ft deep. It was quite an impressive site in the vast desert landscape that surrounds it.


Next we make a bucket list item of mine come true, as I take control of the plane over the Grand Canyon and Dragon Bravo. I have a petrifying moment when Jessica cautions, “watch out for the updrafts”. Gulp!  Those updrafts/downdraft combos did throw me for a bit of a loop.

flying over grand canyon


After the grand excitement, we settled into the rest of our flight and made our way to the gorgeous and surreal Lake Powell region near Page, Arizona.

Rocking my new Bose A20 headphones.




Immediately after we landed in Lake Powell, we quickly grabbed a rental car and our photo gear. Horseshoe bend was right around the corner and we were both keen to capture the sunset there. It was one of the most spectacular and dangerous landscape locations I had ever seen and the sky did not disappoint. Jump to the VIDEO of our adventures and the resulting image.



Stay tuned for Part 2 of our adventure. Too much awesome to put into one post!

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  • Reply
    March 30, 2016 at 12:54 PM

    I could not find SR70 in wiki !! Looks like it is SR20.

    • Reply
      Mostly Lisa
      March 30, 2016 at 3:36 PM

      Yes you are right! Typo!! Thanks for catching it :)

  • Reply
    March 30, 2016 at 4:01 PM

    That is awesome that you flew a plane. And what gorgeous scenery. My husband and I flew over part of the grand canyon when we were on our honeymoon, but we were just in a small passenger plane–not flying it ourselves.

  • Reply
    Your Fan
    March 30, 2016 at 10:58 PM


  • Reply
    April 1, 2016 at 10:27 AM

    That is an awesome trip!

    • Reply
      Mostly Lisa
      April 1, 2016 at 10:42 AM

      thank you! An incredible adventure where I learned so much. I miss the Cirrus! Back in C172s now ;)

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