Sky Trails Concept Promoted

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A California pilot is hoping there will eventually be a series of "Sky Trails" over areas of national importance that pilots can use to view them from the best vantage point. Larry Dighera recently finished putting together an interpretive website that pilots can use as a guide for touring the vast Second World War Desert Training Center devised by Gen. George Patton to get recruits ready for the land war in Europe and Africa. The facility covers 18,000 square miles of high desert from the Mexican border north almost to Las Vegas and was home to as many as 250,000 troops and 5,000 tanks conducting mock battles and undergoing rigorous training for the war.

Because of the climate and conditions, most of the roads, divisional campsites and three airports built for the training center have been preserved and can be readily seen from the air. Dighera's effort, which was supported by the Wolf Aviation Fund, includes all the charts and routes needed to explore the huge facility. And so those on the plane know what they're looking at, the package includes a docent narrative designed to be read by one of the aircraft passengers. "I'd very much like to see the Sky Trail concept expanded to include other cultural resources throughout the U.S. that are best viewed from an aerial vantage point," said Dighera. "I'm currently working with the U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management and the California Department of Parks to have the DTC Sky Trail formally adopted."