St. Louis Arch

St. Louis Arch

I am planning on flying to St. Louis Mo to take my wife and daughter to see the arch.  It's only 2.5 in my C172 and will make a nice day trip.  Any one ever fly into this are for this purpose and can recomend an airport to land at?  STL is the obvious chioce, they have a tram that runs from the field to the arch, but going into such a large airport seems a bit overwelming to me.

Any advice?

    Dave

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Re: St. Louis Arch

I have not flown into STL.  I fly for some attornies and we often go into unfamiliar airports.  Consulting the AOPA directory online or in book form, www.airnav.com, and approach plates usually do the trick for me.
Call the airport and ask when it is the least busy.  Plan your arrivail and departure around these off peak times.
Study the airport diagrams.  Know where you will be park before you go.  Since you are new to this airport, ask for progressive taxi if in doubt of where you are going.  Have your wife write down the taxi clearence instructions.
These are just a few things to do before launching into the wild blue.
Oh yes,  besure to use your best deep airline voice.  lol
Good luck and enjoy the Arch.

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Re: St. Louis Arch

I am in the planning stage for a trip to St. Louis over New Years.  So far, I am planning on landing at Cahokia-St. Louis Downtown CPS, which is only 3 miles from the Arch.  The FBO, Midcoast Aviation (618) 337-2100, says they have courtesy cars but a cab doesn’t cost much for 3 miles.  If you go before Jan 1 please let me know where you land and how it goes.
Lenny

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Re: St. Louis Arch

Thats where I plan to go in to.  Probably won't go until March now, we are going to do it when my daughter is out of school on sprint break.

Post back here your trip when you go and I will do likewise.

     Dave

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Re: St. Louis Arch

There has been a change in plans, we are going this Friday weather permitting.  I am going to patron Ideal Aviation since fuel from them is 50 cents a gallon cheaper...  I'll let you know how it goes.

     Dave

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Re: St. Louis Arch

I finally made my St. Louis trip; here is an article I wrote for our EAA Chapter newsletter.

During December 2003 my wife asked if we could take a trip to St. Louis to see the Arch, she had never been there and wanted to go.  My first thought was no way, that’s a long drive just to see something and then come home.  Then I thought to myself, if the weather is decent I can fly us down.  I own a plane, why not?!?!?  I did some preliminary flight planning on how long it would take to fly down and did some research on the FBO’s at the field using www.airnav.com, if you’ve never used it give it a try.  It has good information regarding the airports and FBO’s.  I realized that the trip would be very doable in my C172.  I let Terri know my plans and she was very excited to go, as was I.    Due to our work schedules and the way the weather was looking we decided that we would need to go around the end of the month, December 26th was the day.

We got up early on the 26th and I checked the weather while Terri got dressed and got our daughter Allison (she’s 6) up and ready to go.  The weather looked like it was going to be fantastic going down but a low cloud layer was set to move across Iowa in the afternoon.  The ceilings were forecasted to be high enough so I decided we should go.  If we ran into low ceilings or weather problems on the way home we would land and stay at a motel or something to wait it out.

We departed home for the Ankeny airport at 6:15am, we arrived at 6:30am and had the plane out of the hangar and loaded up.  I started the engine and we were airborne at 6:50am, after departing from Ankeny I contacted Des Moines approach and picked up VFR flight following for the trip down.  We got to watch the sunrise from our cruising altitude of 7500’ in beautifully smooth air.  As I got near the class Bravo airspace at St. Louis the approach controllers were very helpful and routed me right across the airspace so I would not have to circumnavigate it.  The 244nm trip down was great, it took 2.9 on the tach (no one ever said a C172 was fast) and my Garmin 196 worked beautifully.  It made the navigation a no brainier.

We landed at the St Louis Downtown Airport (CPS) and when ground asked where we were parking I told them Ideal Aviation.  I informed them that I needed progressive taxi instructions since I did not know where Ideal Aviation was located on the field.  Ground control directed me to where I needed to go.  I would encourage anyone flying into an unfamiliar airport to take advantage of progressive taxi instructions if they are unsure of where to go.

When we got out of the plane the FBO called a cab for us.  We were dropped of at the Arch and were ready to spend a few hours exploring.  We took a tram ride to the top and spent several hours looking around.  There is a museum where you could buy gifts; they had a really nice display of Amana Colony food items.  It seemed really weird to be so far from home but yet see Amana products.

After we left the Arch we walked a few blocks to the old court house with is filled with a lot of interesting history regarding slavery and how the town grew over the years.  We spent an hour or two there and the decided to walk a few blocks to get lunch.  We came across was a Wendy’s so we stopped and ate there.  When we were done we called the cab company and they came and took us back to the airport.  The cab driver was really friendly and talked to us for the 10 minute ride back to the airport.  He was so nice I gave him a good tip.

I paid my fuel bill and checked the weather.  Just as had been forecast a low cloud layer was over all of Iowa, the cloud bases were are 2000’ AGL.  We departed and picked up flight following with St. Louis approach, they had to route me around a bit before they let me pick up my heading for home.  We flew directly over the top of the St. Louis airport; that was really cool to see!  I climbed to 6500’ but knew that when we got to Iowa I was going to have to descend.  The ride home was really smooth and we had a bit of a tail wind.  About the time we got to the border the clouds started to lower, I started my descent to stay below them.  After a few miles I had to descend another 500’ and then another.  By the time we got back to Des Moines I was at 2000’ indicated.  We landed, put the plane back in its hangar and went out for a nice dinner.

It was a perfect end to a wonderful day.

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