Luscombe Road Trip—Wish me luck!

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by birdus, Sep 2, 2020.

  1. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    That's one of the cool things about piloting your own plane. You can change up the schedule (sometimes the weather makes you do that :p ) and explore places and meet people you might never otherwise.
     
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  2. Arnold

    Arnold Line Up and Wait

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    I loop the lanyard around the steel tubing so it doesn't go anywhere in the event I need to use it.
     
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  3. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I was thinking about what I would do with it so that if I crash, it doesn't end up 100 yards away. That seems like a good idea. I'll try it.
     
  4. Arnold

    Arnold Line Up and Wait

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    I expect you will make a controlled descent, sacrificing the aircraft as necessary, but surviving the accident. Crash is such an ugly word.
     
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  5. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Made this gizmo for my Luscombe 8E. It's fiberglass and very light. The main purpose is just as a good place to put my iPad, but it also gives me an armrest and a place to store stuff. I put my tie down kit and wheel chocks in there. The front is angled for stick clearance, and the front left corner is angled so I can stretch my right leg out over onto the right side.

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  6. Arnold

    Arnold Line Up and Wait

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    Very nice. Did you build the chocks? I would put some Velcro between the electronics and the surface so significant bumps don't move it around. I use 3M command strips so they come off easily with no residual glue.
     
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  7. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Yes. I made the chocks. Also made the tie down "cleats." May post of picture of those sometime.

    I can't really use Velcro on the back of the iPad because then the magnetic case wouldn't attach to it correctly. However, between the magnetic case (which has sort of a velour on the inside, which becomes the back when open) and the felt that's on that surface of the holder, it seems to stick pretty well. Weather strips which are on the bottom and right side of the holder help it stay in place, too. With the exception of turbulence which is rougher than I'm interested in, I think it will stay put pretty well. We'll see!
     
  8. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    Flight Aware seems to be working well. See you are about 30 minutes out from LaGrande.
    Doesn’t look like you turned the tracking on, on your Inreach.
    Expect Flight Aware will probably lose you in the Idaho Mountains.
    Understand you may not have internet access until tomorrow, but am looking forward to hearing about you experience not this leg of you flight.

    Brian
     
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  9. idahoflier

    idahoflier Line Up and Wait PoA Supporter

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    Looks like he made it to Smiley Creek!

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  10. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    Cool, looks like it has been mowed since I was there in a tri-pacer. Grass was a bit long.

    Brian
     
  11. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I'm in Evanston, WY (KEVW) right now (landed with winds 20G29!!!) doing some planning and trying to decide if I'll continue on to Rifle today. I think I have a good route, mostly over roads, and the weather looks pretty good in Rifle. Some clouds in the direction I want to go, but I may go up and take a look. I wanted to stretch myself on this trip (without undue danger), so this may be a good opportunity. The additional planning I'm doing is already more than I've ever done before.

    Day 1:

    Not 30 minutes into the flight, I came around the south side of Rainier, ran into few bumps, and took a 2,000 foot-per-minute elevator towards the ground. After forcing myself to continue eastwards rather than turning around and going home, I decided I would make 9,500 my cruising altitude for the day rather than 7,500. After leaving the Cascades, it was smooth sailing all the way to La Grande. There was, however, a not-insignificant amount of smoke. I could see the ground if I looked straight down, but if I looked straight ahead, it looked like a solid layer of clouds.

    It got worse. After fueling up at La Grande and continuing towards Idaho, I was not even able to see the ground while looking straight down. My GPS told me I was over the Snake River, but I couldn't see it. That was disconcerting. I hoped my engine didn't quit, not being an IFR pilot and all. I've heard about spatial disorientation and don't want to try it out.

    For the last 30-40 minutes of the flight, there was light turbulence, but I still don't like it at all, even if it was light.

    2.9 hours from Tacoma to La Grande and 2.3 hours from La Grande to Smiley Creek. I'm tired. Make up your own captions.

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  12. brcase

    brcase Pattern Altitude

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    Thanks for the report, I was out flying over a bunch of that smoke and dodging TFR's this morning as well.
    Low temps dropped about 15degrees over last week.
    Still my best guess is you had about a 8000ft+ density altitude departing Smiling creek. Hopefully the grass was as short as it looked in the photo.

    What did you think about an 8000ft DA departure off of grass?
    How were the early morning winds?
    Still probably a pretty slow climb to get over Galena Summit?

    Thanks again

    Brian
     
  13. Jill

    Jill Filing Flight Plan

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    Those are amazing photos!
     
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  14. GaryM

    GaryM Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Cool photos! In photo 7, is the larger lake Alturas, and the smaller one Perkins, both maybe 15 miles north of Smiley Creek? I think I can see my old summer camp on Perkins Lake!
     
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  15. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Unfortunately, only 3 out of my 4 cylinders were working. Not sure what happened to the other one. Probably took me 2,000 feet to get off. Very interesting. No doubt the short grass helped, though. On a hot summer day, I'm not convinced 4,900 feet would be enough for my little Luscombe. Wind was in the direction of takeoff. It was several knots a little before I took off, but almost calm when I took off at around 9:00. I did one complete orbit over the field and that got me plenty high to clear the mountains to the south.
     
  16. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Thanks, Gary. I'm glad you liked them. Correct. Also, Redfish Lake, just north of those, was beautiful.
     
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  17. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Took off from Smiley Creek this morning at 9:00. Long ground roll. Quite interesting. The Luscombe didn't like it and neither did I. Experienced light turbulence off and on throughout the day. Not terrible, but I still don't like it. I flew over Craters of the Moon National Monument before an uneventful landing at American Falls for gas.

    Had another good leg to Evanston (although I did get bounced around pretty good coming across the valley towards the airport) where I had possibly my 2nd most interesting landing ever. The winds were 20G29, but mostly down the runway. I got fuel and was there a few hours, relaxing and planning my next leg. The weather was iffy, so I was pretty cautious about it. I talked to a few other pilots and finally decided I would give it a try. Long story short, I ran into low clouds (probably quantifiable as fog) and hung a 180 pronto. I flew back to Evanston and had my MOST interesting landing ever. Lots of gusts and it really made me work hard. I came within a hair's breadth of ground looping, but I kept the little wheel in back. The huge runway helped.

    Hopefully the weather is better in the morning and I can make it to Rifle and beyond.

    Smiley Creek (U87)
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    My Luscombe at Smiley Creek
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    Smiley Creek
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    Approach to American Falls (U01)
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    Turning back! Yes, I was low!
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    Returning to Evanston-Unita (KEVW)
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    Last edited: Sep 10, 2020
  18. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    For my first leg, the inReach was on, but in the seat next to me. Maybe the GPS couldn't get through the top of the cabin. For the second leg, I put it on top of the glare shield by the front window. It still didn't seem to work. I don't know why. It looks like it's working now. I don't know why the second leg didn't work. I have it set to automatically upload the points when I power it on. In any event, I'm glad it's working now.
     
  19. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Cleared for Takeoff

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    And, so it begins! You're doin great! The plane is doing fine! The pix are awesome! Keep 'em coming! There are those of us flying formation with you, albeit vicariously!

    Enjoy the journey, one leg at a time, bumpy or not.
     
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  20. Jill

    Jill Filing Flight Plan

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    Sounds like a great day - - good weather decision making and even better piloting! Bravo!!
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
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  21. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    ????:eek2: Only 3 of your 4 cylinders were working and you continued the flight
     
  22. mcdewey

    mcdewey Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The top picture of the aircraft shadows on the airfield is stunning!
     
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  23. perwahlen

    perwahlen Filing Flight Plan

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    Hey Jay, amazing photos! I was also concerned about that none working cylinder... Fly safe and enjoy your trip! What an awesome adventure!
     
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  24. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Yeah I wasn't sure what he meant by that. Hopefully it was alluding to the high DA and loss of power.
     
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  25. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    If I tried taking off from Leadville, I bet only 2 of them would work! :D (guess not everyone got my density altitude joke—sorry for causing any undue concern)
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2020
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  26. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Sounds like your saying that full throttle would give you about half the power it would if at sea level. I guess saying only half of the cylinders were workin is a way of saying it. But I was just sitting here fat dumb and happy on my couch and had an almost physical reaction when I read that you took off with one of the cylinders not working.
     
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  27. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I woke up to beautiful weather this morning in Evanston, Wyoming. There was frost on the loaner truck outside my hotel room, but luckily none on the Luscombe. I had a good flight from Evanston to Grand Junction, Colorado—a few bumps, but not bad. Much of the way, I was going more than 130 mph over the ground. My Luscombe is one fast plane! I really enjoyed flying down the river valley from Rifle to Grand Junction over I-70 and the Colorado River. Since the weather was good, I actually cut some corners off my carefully planned route from yesterday. Still, I was in the plane for about 3 hours. My knees hurt when I got out, so it felt good to just walk around and limber up a bit. In Grand Junction, I met a cousin for the first time and spent a nice afternoon at their house and then getting a tour of Colorado National Monument. Tomorrow, I'll continue down the Colorado to Page.

    Near Evanston Airport
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    Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area
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    Yampa River (maybe)
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    Yampa River (maybe)
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    Heading south to Rifle from Meeker
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    Coming around the corner just before calling Grand Junction Tower.
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  28. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Colorado National Monument

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  29. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Today's flight from Grand Junction to Page was spectacular. The weather was just about perfect. I started by flying along the Colorado River which soon ate its way deep into rugged red canyons. After departing the Colorado River and flying over Arches National Park, I landed at Canyonlands Field Airport, and I did so by flying a 45 to a left downwind for 21. If you're familiar with that airport, then you know that the pattern for 21 is right hand. The reason is that there's skydiving there and they land on that side of the runway. I apologized over the air, and the other pilots flying the skydivers were very cool about it. Sloppy on my part. There was a relatively constant 7-knot direct crosswind. I've gotten very little crosswind practice in the Luscombe, but I felt pretty good about that landing. I'm sure my crosswind skills will improve over time.

    After leaving Canyonlands, I cut over to the Green River to land at Mineral Canyon, but upon peering down into the chasm, I decided against it. If I'd had another pilot or pilot/plane with me, I'm confident I could've done it with someone to follow or with some guidance, but thought better of it this time around. I continued down the Green River and its awesome rugged canyons all the way back to the Colorado and then hung a right. I then followed the Colorado until it turned into Lake Powell. Flying along the canyons and shores of Lake Powell was the most fun I've had flying. My confidence is growing and bumps might be bothering me a bit less.

    My approach and landing at Page was uneventful. Classic Aviation sent out a cart for me to follow, had me refueled in no time, brought a van out to collect my far-too-much luggage, and took me to the hotel. I recommend them. Tomorrow, over the Grand Canyon and on to Sedona.

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    Last edited: Sep 12, 2020
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  30. CharlieD3

    CharlieD3 Cleared for Takeoff

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    Great photos! Glad to see you're trusting your gut, avoiding the uncertain, but trying the uncomfortable... I look forward to the Sedona shots... I "flew" a biplane tour out of Skyranch (I was just a passenger in one of their stearmans) great fun. Look for Snoopy rock.
     
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  31. Dave Binkley

    Dave Binkley Filing Flight Plan

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    Looks like Jay is about 15 miles north of Sedona and the runway is now closed for the next 3 hours to recover a gear-up Baron.
     
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  32. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Diverted to Cottonwood. In the pilot's lounge now, starting on today's write up.
     
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  33. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    What are the chances I'll be able to get from Truth or Consequences to Alamogordo tomorrow? Lots of restricted areas. Might have to take a HUGE detour. That would really suck.
     
  34. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pattern Altitude

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    Head down to Hatch, NM, and get a cheeseburger at Sparky's.

    That'll perk up the mood.
     
  35. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I started out nice and early today. Woke up at 4:00, an hour before my alarm went off. I’d arranged a taxi back to the airport (no pun intended), and got there around 6:15. Watched the sun come up over the mountains around Page while I was getting the plane ready. I made the voyage over to the Glen Canyon Dam, about 2 miles, and flew a few circuits around it before making the brief but quite stunning and fun flight down (direction and altitude) to Marble Canyon to get some breakfast at the Marble Canyon Trading Post.

    While eating, I watched a few Caravans land and bring some tourists in for whatever tourists do in Marble Canyon. Another crew was getting a Twin Otter ready. That’s one sweet ride. My departure was uneventful and I spent the next 5 hours climbing from 3,603 feet up to 10,500. Remember, I’m flying on only 3 cylinders, so my rate of climb is reduced. Flying over the Grand Canyon was awesome, and I mean in the true sense of the word, not as in totally rad. I started by flying south through the Zuni Corridor, then climbed up to 11,500 and flew north up the Dragon Corridor, then descended back down to 10,500 over lots of bumps over the trees above the north rim and flew back down along the Fossil Canyon Corridor. I decided that was enough (the flight was going to be a bit long, anyway, and I think I had gotten the gist of it by that point) and headed south out of the special flight rules area.

    During some detailed planning the night before, I had decided I would land at Clark Memorial (KCMR) and fill up, as their price is good for 100LL. However, while still many miles out, the AWOS had me a little concerned about landing there, verified by the ebbing and flowing winds bouncing me all over the place, and yet further verified as I flew over the field. Crosswind was at about 80 degrees and 12 gusting 17. I had already decided I would bypass that airport and go straight to Sedona, and my decision, while a few thousand feet directly over the field, was confirmed as the right one. The winds continued to batter me. Just when I thought I was getting used to turbulence, I got beat up for a half hour solid and quickly went back to disliking it. I couldn’t wait to get on the ground in Sedona.

    So, I tuned in Sedona’s AWOS. Winds didn’t sound too bad. Sweet. Wait. What was that? There was something tacked on at the end. I listened to whole thing again. Yup. The runway was closed. Crap. Well, I guess I asked for an adventure. My first diversion. Thankfully, there was another airport fairly close by. Cottonwood (P52). I tuned in the AWOS, hoping winds would be better than they’d been at Clark, but dreading they wouldn’t. The AWOS was silent. Thankfully, there were some other pilots in the pattern. I inquired as to the wind and got a report after one of them landed. Light and mostly down the runway. Phew! I felt much relief. I just wanted to get on the ground without breaking the plane. That would make me happy.

    Bonus: fuel was even cheaper at Cottonwood! $3.19 a gallon! So, I filled up.

    I parked my plane right out in front of the pilot’s lounge (pretty sure I’m not supposed to park there, but it was a Sunday and no one was around) and went inside for some rest and to take advantage of electricity, Internet, and my laptop. At about 1:30, we (there were some other people waiting to go into Sedona, too) learned that the runway was open. The other pilot, who was flying a Cirrus, had flown in there many times and he headed over. He would text me his recommendation after landing. Should I go right away or wait for calmer winds? Winds were 180@7 (AWOS over the Internet), so about 30 degrees off of 21. Doesn’t sound too bad to me, but I wanted to hear what an experienced pilot thought. Why not? I was sitting in a leather chair in an air-conditioned lounge. It was still relatively early in the afternoon (about 2) and I wasn’t in a rush. Waiting until evening wasn’t ideal, but not a big deal, either.

    Not long after leaving, he texted me:

    “150 at 8 kts, gusts 17 kts”
    “Winds variable from 110 to 100”

    Then, almost immediately after that, he sent another text:

    “Winds have just died down.”
    “Strange but true.”

    I leapt up, got my things together, stuffed them in the plane, hopped in, and left. On the short flight over, it was quite turbulent. I entered the left downwind for 24 on a 45. My approach was terrible. Speed, altitude, all off. I overshot final. It’s a big runway, though, and I saved it. I came in fast, but that worked out fine, as I did a wheel landing. There were a few gusts, but not bad.

    Unfortunately, filling up at Cottonwood might have ended up costing me more. Not fueling up at Sedona cost me $20 for the tie down.

    I’m feeling pretty tired. Tomorrow, I have another long day (to me, anyway). If I can’t get across the restricted areas between Truth or Consequences and Alamogordo, I’m in for a slog.

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  36. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Jay Williams
    I started out nice and early today. Woke up at 4:00, an hour before my alarm went off. I’d arranged a taxi back to the airport (no pun intended), and got there around 6:15. Watched the sun come up over the mountains around Page while I was getting the plane ready. I made the voyage over to the Glen Canyon Dam, about 2 miles, and flew a few circuits around it before making the brief but quite stunning and fun flight down (direction and altitude) to Marble Canyon to get some breakfast at the Marble Canyon Trading Post.

    While eating, I watched a few Caravans land and bring some tourists in for whatever tourists do in Marble Canyon. Another crew was getting a Twin Otter ready. That’s one sweet ride. My departure was uneventful and I spent the next 5 hours climbing from 3,603 feet up to 10,500. Remember, I’m flying on only 3 cylinders, so my rate of climb is reduced. Flying over the Grand Canyon was awesome, and I mean in the true sense of the word, not as in totally rad. I started by flying south through the Zuni Corridor, then climbed up to 11,500 and flew north up the Dragon Corridor, then descended back down to 10,500 over lots of bumps over the trees above the north rim and flew back down along the Fossil Canyon Corridor. I decided that was enough (the flight was going to be a bit long, anyway, and I think I had gotten the gist of it by that point) and headed south out of the special flight rules area.

    During some detailed planning the night before, I had decided I would land at Clark Memorial (KCMR) and fill up, as their price is good for 100LL. However, while still many miles out, the AWOS had me a little concerned about landing there, verified by the ebbing and flowing winds bouncing me all over the place, and yet further verified as I flew over the field. Crosswind was at about 80 degrees and 12 gusting 17. I had already decided I would bypass that airport and go straight to Sedona, and my decision, while a few thousand feet directly over the field, was confirmed as the right one. The winds continued to batter me. Just when I thought I was getting used to turbulence, I got beat up for a half hour solid and quickly went back to disliking it. I couldn’t wait to get on the ground in Sedona.

    So, I tuned in Sedona’s AWOS. Winds didn’t sound too bad. Sweet. Wait. What was that? There was something tacked on at the end. I listened to whole thing again. Yup. The runway was closed. Crap. Well, I guess I asked for an adventure. My first diversion. Thankfully, there was another airport fairly close by. Cottonwood (P52). I tuned in the AWOS, hoping winds would be better than they’d been at Clark, but dreading they wouldn’t. The AWOS was silent. Thankfully, there were some other pilots in the pattern. I inquired as to the wind and got a report after one of them landed. Light and mostly down the runway. Phew! I felt much relief. I just wanted to get on the ground without breaking the plane. That would make me happy.

    Bonus: fuel was even cheaper at Cottonwood! $3.19 a gallon! So, I filled up.

    I parked my plane right out in front of the pilot’s lounge (pretty sure I’m not supposed to park there, but it was a Sunday and no one was around) and went inside for some rest and to take advantage of electricity, Internet, and my laptop. At about 1:30, we (there were some other people waiting to go into Sedona, too) learned that the runway was open. The other pilot, who was flying a Cirrus, had flown in there many times and he headed over. He would text me his recommendation after landing. Should I go right away or wait for calmer winds? Winds were 180@7 (AWOS over the Internet), so about 30 degrees off of 21. Doesn’t sound too bad to me, but I wanted to hear what an experienced pilot thought. Why not? I was sitting in a leather chair in an air-conditioned lounge. It was still relatively early in the afternoon (about 2) and I wasn’t in a rush. Waiting until evening wasn’t ideal, but not a big deal, either.

    Not long after leaving, he texted me:

    “150 at 8 kts, gusts 17 kts”
    “Winds variable from 110 to 100”

    Then, almost immediately after that, he sent another text:

    “Winds have just died down.”
    “Strange but true.”

    I leapt up, got my things together, stuffed them in the plane, hopped in, and left. On the short flight over, it was quite turbulent. I entered the left downwind for 24 on a 45. My approach was terrible. Speed, altitude, all off. I overshot final. It’s a big runway, though, and I saved it. I came in fast, but that worked out fine, as I did a wheel landing. There were a few gusts, but not bad.

    Unfortunately, filling up at Cottonwood might have ended up costing me more. Not fueling up at Sedona cost me $20 for the tie down.

    I’m feeling pretty tired. Tomorrow, I have another long day (to me, anyway). If I can’t get across the restricted areas between Truth or Consequences and Alamogordo, I’m in for a slog.

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  37. perwahlen

    perwahlen Filing Flight Plan

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    Display name:
    Per Wahlen
    awesome photos jay and what a great adventure! get some rest and good luck for your trip tomorrow! all the best!
    cheers, per
     
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  38. Bender Aviation

    Bender Aviation Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Display name:
    Bender Aviation
    Be careful on the west coast, there is a lot of IMC due to smoke from San Diego all the way up to Washington, and where it's not from smoke it's IMC in the mornings along the coast up to 10 miles inland (up to afternoon sometimes). Brown Field KSDM gets some marine layer IMC that usually burns off around 10am. If you can land there, First Flight (all the way west on taxiway golf to the self serve fuel) is a great FBO - and I'm sure you've seen the cheapest gas in the region. Let me know if you need anything while you're there Eight cero five eight zero sleven, fore sicks one aight. A good alternate to SDM is KSEE - marine layer burns off there first. RNM is also an option but is short, and has more DA.
    Edit: forgot my own number
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
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  39. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Jay Williams
    Thanks, Per! I appreciate it. I flew 5.2 hours today. I'm wiped out. I think I've been getting more tired each day. I fly, then go to the hotel, recharge batteries and copy video footage to a hard drive, write a blog post and upload some photos. I'm going to spend 2 nights with some friends here in Alamogordo, so that will be a one-day delay, but I feel like I need the rest.
     
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  40. birdus

    birdus Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Jay Williams
    Thank you! It will be interesting to see how things are when I get there, more than a week from now. For a variety of reasons, I hope it's better.
     
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