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Burning Man by Plane

September, 2009

You can’t really explain Burning Man in one short post so I won’t try.  If you are not familiar with it, just Google Burning Man and see what comes up.

There were four of us in two planes.  Mark and Ken in Mark’s Cessna P210, while Graeme and I went in my Cessna T210.  I also had three bikes, a big cooler and full camping gear so it was quite a load.  Mark had one bike and maybe a couple of water bottles.  Geesh. (I’m kidding, Mark)

What I found from Burning Man is that you can get out of it what you want.  We spent a night in a slightly drunken state walking around watching the massive fire effects and stopping at wine bars.  That was fun.  We also spent a quiet morning biking around out on the playa looking at the incredibly creative art work, and that was also fun.  And it was most definitely fun landing your plane on a makeshift runway in the desert!

Burning Man is supposed to a participatory experience – they don’t want everyone to just come and look around or it wouldn’t be the crazy event that it is.  So with that in mind I wired up some black-light LEDs on the bike handlebars that pointed back up on the rider.  I powered them with a Lithium 18V power-drill battery strapped under the seat. Then I had my son make some tie-dyed T-shirts with fluorescence  dye.   It turned out really nice and at night the shirts would glow like crazy.

Note: Ken Kurtz passed away after a long fight with cancer a few months after our trip.  He always wanted to go to Burning Man so I’m glad he was able to finally make it.   I met Ken in 3rd grade and we shared many adventures together all over the world. Ken was an intensely honest man (he always struggled with difficult questions like, “honey, do I look fat in this dress?”) with a level of integrity that I will always admire, and he was also an eccentric goofball.  I will miss him.

Black Rock City from the air

Mark’s plane on the playa, taped up for the inevitable sandstorms

Black Rock City Airport (the runway is out there somewhere)

Daytime art

Nighttime fun.

Ken, Graeme and Mark. Did I mention I’m going to miss Ken?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Guy Guyerton permalink
    April, 2011 5:37 pm

    Hey, I was thinking of flying in here myself and would love some pointers from a pilot who has already done so. If you could get back to me about this, it would be incredible. Thanks!

    • May, 2011 6:35 pm

      Hi,

      i really had a lot of fun flying into Burning Man. One of the best ways to prepare is to subscribe to the Burning Man aviators mailing list. Many questions are asked by newbie pilots flying in there, and are answered by pilots far more experienced than I (I’ve only gone once). i looked it up and you can subscribe by visiting this site: https://lists.burningman.com/mailman/listinfo/aviators-list Have fun! – Ney

  2. Lillian permalink
    August, 2016 9:17 pm

    Hey Ney! Thanks for your post and blog. I was wondering… do you need a ticket to get into burning man by plane? I’m sure the official answer is “yes”… but I do wonder if they actually check. Just trying to find a way to go! Awesome blog, what a way to travel. Your adventures are inspiring.

    Thanks for any insight you have on this topic.
    Cheers!
    Lillian

    • August, 2016 8:01 am

      Hi Lillian,

      Yes, they definitely check and have for many years. The airport has blown up into two runways and official charters so it is a very busy operation now.

      Regards, Ney

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