Aerial Sight Seeing Over the DFW Metroplex


Well-Known Member
Hello! Next Saturday I am planning to fly into Dallas Love-Field with a 172. Some friends of mine from out of state will also be in town for the day, and I have offered to take them up sight seeing for an hour or two in the 172. I have a few questions pertaining to this trip.

How GA friendly is Love Field? I have heard good things about the "regal aviation" FBO. Does anyone have any advice to offer about Love Field? I would prefer to use a reliever airport but it is more convenient for my friends to meet at DAL. In addition, they are photographers and would like to get up close to some airliners, even if they are just wn 737's.

How difficult will it be to pull off the sight seeing trip on a saturday afternoon? I will, of course, talk to clearance delivery before I take off, but should I also call the tower and talk to them about things before hand?

There is a VOR/DME in the center of DFW, and if I remain more than 20 NM out and below 4000 MSL I will be clear of the Class B. Such an altitude should be adequate for our sight seeing purposes and the distance would still allow us to get within 7 or 8 miles of downtown dallas (class B is to the surface over downtown itself). I do not want to interfere with incoming traffic to DFW and DAL any more than I have to.

Do any of you feel that our current terrorism alert status of "code orange" would interfere with my capability to execute this operation? Personally, I don't see what the problem would be if I stay out of the Class B and stay in contact with approach, but I could be wrong.

Any advice is greatly appreciated, and thanks for reading!
The terror threat level might be a problem, but then again, they're usually pretty friendly down there, and willing to help people out. I've never flown into Love, but I've heard they charge some outrageous landing fees. Could be just a rumor though. Also, you might try Addison (north of Love) or Redbird (south of Love). Haven't been to either, but just some options.
I went on airnav for comments about the FBO's and they mentioned that Regal didn't charge for anything but fuel. There's no mention of Landing Fees in the AFD either, so hopefully I can get in and out Tax-Free. ADS and redbird are options, but it would be more convenient for my friends to go out of DAL and I think I'll give it a shot. Thanks for your help!
Let me know what you find out! I've got some friends that live in Hyland Park, so Love is right down the street from them, so that would be easy to fly in there, but I've shyed away cause of the "landing fee rumor"
There aren't any landing fees at Love Field, but if you don't buy fuel wherever you park, they may try to charge you a ramp fee, handling fee, etc. Fuel is expensive, however I've flown in there several times and never had any problems. GA has its own side of the airport away from the airliners, but there are lots of biz jets there at all times, so be prepared to feel like a little guy especially at the FBO. Last time I was there, the Portland Trailblazers were getting off their 757 at the FBO...about to go play the Mavericks. Those are some TALL guys!
Thanks kismet. I called DAL airport ops today and they also confirmed that there are no fees. The fuel prices don't look too bad at regal but the people I rent the plan from will reimburse me for that anyway. We also have plenty of bizjets here in AUS so I'm used to being dwarfed
I'm happy to report that our flight over the metroplex went very well.

First off, I filed IFR, took off around 9 AM local time, and flew solo from AUS to DAL. When I arrived, the ceilings at DAL were somewhere between 1000-1500 AGL with tops at about 5000 MSL, so ATC assigned the ILS 31R approach into Love. On the approach there was quite a bit of "moderate turbulence" so the 172 got trounced significantly as I descended. The airplane wasn't exactly rocksteady on the localizer but I managed to keep it oriented properly until I broke free of the clouds (what a relief this was!). Just as an aside, this is the first Instrument approach in actual conditions I have made as the sole pilot in an airplane.

Unfortunately I was about an hour late arriving at Dallas but still managed to meet up with "the crew" (thanks to some patience on their part) and do some spotting around DFW and DAL for a few hours. By afternoon the ceiling had lifted to 4000 AGL or so and we decided to give the sight seeing a try.

Before we departed, I told Love Clearance my intentions to do a round robin "to Alliance, then to Mecham, then to Addison, then back to Love with a touch and go in each place and a full stop at Love". Clearance responsed by saying they'd just send us to Alliance and we could make the rest of our requests as we went along.

After takeoff from love, I was instructed to turn south and we were vectored around DFW to the south. Specifically, We flew over "Mountain Creek Lake" and just south of the "Millenium Dallas" airport. A few minutes later, ATC instructed us to resume own navigation to Alliance, which we did (thankfully the aircraft today had a GPS, or these airports would've been considerably more difficult to spot). We did a touch and go at alliance and we all got a pretty good view of the various Fed Ex and American Airlines widebodies that were parked there.

After taking off again from Alliance, we did a 180 degree turn to the west of the airport and headed south for Mecham. We got a great view of downtown fort worth on this leg and also saw some old planes parked on the ramp.

Then we headed for Addison....this time regional approach vectored us north of DFW, which was slightly dissappointing since we were all hoping that we might get to overfly DFW. The closest we ever got was probably over the middle of "lake grapevine". Finally, we did a touch and go at Addison, flew by downtown dallas and did a full stop on 31R at Love field. The flight was a great experience and very fun. I feel like I actually know my way around the metroplex now.

All in all the flight took about 1 hour and 20 minutes. After refueling the plane with 100LL and my stomach with a plate of good tex-mex, I headed back to AUS, again in IMC but this time at night. Although I made a few mistakes on the radio, things went smoothly and conlcuded with a visual to 35 R at AUS. I'm pretty tired now, but I have to say it was a lot of fun and I learned alot about flying single pilot IFR and especially about how to get around DFW.