Calgary and Denver: Part 1

The Plan

In the Summer of 2003 we flew across the country from Boise to Boston and it was such a wonderful experience that we decided to try to make an extended flying trip at least once per year. For our 2004 trip we wanted to go back to Calgary and visit Banff National Park again (we previously flew ourselves to Calgary in 1999). Phil also wanted to attend the Mooney Mountain Flying course in Denver. Flying from Boise to Calgary to Denver and back seemed just right for this year’s big trip.

Entire Route — the blue line is our actual track from Boise to Calgary to Denver and back


Last time we flew to Calgary, we went VFR and it was a piece of cake. This time we decided to go IFR just for a change of pace, and because we consistently found it is easier to fly in unfamiliar busy airspace while IFR. That turned out to be a good plan since we had to fly an ILS approach to land in Calgary (details in the next part).

We reserved a hotel in Banff for 2 nights to give us a little time to hike around Banff National Park.


After an early morning start out of Calgary. We made an enroute stop at Great Falls, MT to clear customs and stretch our legs before flying to the Jeffco airport in Denver.

Mountain Flying

The Mooney Aircraft Pilots Association Safety Foundation (now that’s a long name!) conducted a mountain flying course in Denver. It was a great course, I learned a lot and had fun flying around the Rockies too.

Back Home

Before we knew it our week was up and it was time to fly back home. We’ll probably continue our tradition of doing at least one big trip like this each year.

Trip Statistics

Route Time (hours) Dist (NM) Avg Speed (KTS)
Day 1 Boise, ID – Calgary, AB 3.9 544 139
Day 2 Calgary, AB – Great Falls, MT 1.6 258 161
Great Falls, MT – Denver, CO 3.8 574 151
Day 3 Denver, CO – Boise, ID 4.0 574 144
Trip Total 13.3 1,950 149

The times listed are the number of hours recorded by the GPS, which starts and stops timing when the groundspeed goes above/below 30 knots.

The speeds above are simply the distance divided by the time to get the average speed of the leg.

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