Nevada, California, New Mexico and Utah flying trip - Sept 2016

Discussion in 'Cool Places to Fly' started by Eagle 2000, Mar 10, 2016.

  1. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Everything Offends Me
    Just want to point out - anyone that claims this is "really high" flying, or that you'll have to make special plans to successfully depart, has never flown the routes you're flying. The runways are REALLY long in Albuquerque, for example. You're basically being told "Beware! The runway is only 14,000ft long there." I've seen the most anemic airplanes take off in like 2 or 3 thousand feet max on days where the DA is over 12,000ft. That leaves you with only 11,000ft to stop if something goes wrong...

    That's not machismo speaking, that's real life experience. Always calculate DA, but if you can't takeoff in 14,000ft even on the worst days, I recommend a refresher training on basic flying skills, not a "mountain flying course." You can do that entire trip without crossing 8500ft if you want to. BTDT. Its not like you're flying over the Denver mountains.

    Signed, Colorado Transplant from New Mexico.
     
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  2. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Umm, some airplanes may have trouble taking off in any length of runway when the DA is 12000.

    For certain 172s, that's very close to the service ceiling (the lowest is 13000), so it would not be recommended.

    And winds become critical when operating that high.

    The Ercoupe I watched barely wheezing off at sea level is not one I'd like to try at a DA of 12000.
     
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  3. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You are making my point - you must have never done it. I've seen Cessna 152s takeoff routinely from that DA before and still use very little runway. With 14,000ft, you can do pretty much anything.
     
  4. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No, I have done it. The problem with your statement is that you haven't done it with pretty much anything, but rather with a small number of planes and extrapolated.

    And you don't seem to understand how excess power works. Once you don't have any, you will never climb out of ground effect.

    You seem to think a 152 is the smallest airplane. No. And it's only handling 12000 DA in no wind, much like a 172. A long runway doesn't help you much if you can't outrun a modest 200 FPM downdraft.
     
  5. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Ok. I doubt that a 40 hp ultralight would takeoff very well (although they do quite regularly), or anything much smaller than a 150. But that's not what the OP is flying, is he?
     
  6. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The OP is flying a 172. We don't know the load or the actual conditions on the day he will be flying. He MAY find a combination that works; it's definitely not impossible. But it's far less assured than at sea level, and there is a very real possibility he will get stuck, and unless he's done high altitude work before, there is also substantial risk of misconfiguration or misjudgment. Flatlanders crash with alarming regularity at even moderate altitude airports with long runways (Lake Tahoe being a significant example). A "go" decision should not be made lightly.

    Engine power isn't most important. It's excess power, and it's close cousin power-to-weight. Some 172s are pretty chunky and loading to max is not advisible at high density altitude.
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2016
  7. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    I've lived here my entire life (53 years old). Sure a plane taking off at ABQ has a ton of runway. The guys not used to it are going to wonder what to do when they do get airborne, wallow in ground effect, and have afternoon gusts steal their lift leaving them level at 50-100 feet despite trying to climb. If you flew here regularly, I'm sure you had to have seen it.

    I trained in one and took off near MGTOW in order to fill with a whopping 14 gallons. We got off the ground fairly quickly ... but enjoyed an anemic 50 FPM climb rate:eek: During summer training with the CFI using the short El Paso Class C runway (we had it to ourselves), we'd be lucky to get to 600 AGL by the base turn ...
     
  8. zaitcev

    zaitcev En-Route

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    I, too, feel super qualified to get into a forum discussion. The key is that you can fly as long as DA is lower than your practical ceiling and the wind is low. What helps us around the Duke City is that 1) Cessna clearly sandbagged the published ceiling of 172 and 2) KAEG, KABQ, and KSAF are very benign airports. There's almost no way to screw up. The only time I know someone got caught out by DA was a guy in a Mooney who could not climb and hit a berm north of Double Eagle.

    My own Carlson tops at about 10,000. So, I managed to get stuck in Estancia with bad DA once. I took off, but I could not clear the ridge between Mosca and Sandia, because the headwind pushes you down on a slope. When I flew eastward, the tailwind pushed me up and over the ridge. I had to go back to Moriarty to refuel and then return through the Abo gap. There was no other way to get home :)

    Compared to that sort of flying, cruising solo in a massive powerhouse of 172 is a pure luxury even in the afternoon. Sure, always calculate DA, but it's going to a "go" decision 99% of the time.
     
  9. Eagle 2000

    Eagle 2000 Filing Flight Plan

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    Well we made the trip, and just got back. Spectacular flying. We reversed the original route and flew:

    Day 1 - North Las Vegas - South Lake Tahoe
    Day 2 - Sacramento - Golden Gate - Monterey
    Day 3 - morning - Santa Monica
    - afternoon - over LAX - McClellan Palomar (Catalina didn't work out because of low cloud)
    Day 5 - Morning - Yuma
    - afternoon - Tucson
    Day 6 - Sedona
    Day 7 - rest day
    Day 8 - Monument Valley
    Day 9 - Page to refuel, then Bryce Canyon overflight and back to Page
    Day 10 - North Las Vegas

    IMG_0307.jpg

    Broadly as per the above route.

    It was a wonderful trip, pretty good weather all the way apart from some cloud along the California coast as some had predicted.

    Most memorable was the scenery in Arizona / Utah, though the overflights of LAX and Golden Gate were spectacular too. The mini route at 2,000' over LAX was closed, but we were allowed to take the Special VFR route at 3,500. The sight of an A380 landing below me was a great experience.

    Thanks to all for their advice. Happy flying.
     
  10. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Nice. You made it to Truckee as well. I'd have suggested South Lake Tahoe, but Truckee really isn't bad at all. Just watch out for all the gliders.

    Napa, Santa Monica and Carlsbad, as well? Nice. I'd have chosen airports further inland given the lack of instrument rating, but it seems to have worked fine.
     
  11. Eagle 2000

    Eagle 2000 Filing Flight Plan

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    We didn't go to Truckee, we stopped at South Lake Tahoe.

    I do have an instrument rating, but if we had not got into Carlsbad we had a diversion planned to a more inland field.

    It was a great, great trip though. The only thing we missed was the Grand Canyon, it was such a windy day and with OVC forecast at 3,000' we decided to route direct from Page to KVGT. Having meticulously planned our way around or over Las Vegas class B, the Nellis controller gave us a direct descent into North Las Vegas. A perfect and to the trip.
     
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  12. iflyvfr

    iflyvfr Pattern Altitude

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    Eagle, glad you made your trip. The first time I really got out and experienced that part of the country I was amazed. I've said (half in jest) it should be a requirement for U.S. citizens to see Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon. I'm curious a bit on the backstory: had you been to the USA before and if so, had you flown GA here? Were the other pilots also from outside the USA? Sounds like an impressive, ambitious trip. So, can you post a favorite photo or two?
     
  13. Eagle 2000

    Eagle 2000 Filing Flight Plan

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    I had not flown in the USA before, apart from when I did my IR in Kissimmee earlier this year. But I had never flown VFR in the US before. though I have flown in Canada. The other pilots had some limited experience of US flying. Most found the ATC the most difficult aspect (the accents and the different terminology) though I got used to that quickly and really enjoyed it. Air Traffic in the US is amazingly helpful and vastly superior to what we have here. The altitudes combined with the temperatures were a challenge though I had no problems. Nevertheless, taking off with a 172 at MTOW at Sedona was definitely interesting (and at Tahoe too). Still, the aircraft performed exactly according to the POH.

    The FBOs are really amazing, such good service at such low cost. Of all of them, Million Air at Yuma and Tucson were the most impressive.

    I can't wait to go flying in the USA again, though I would like to do more IFR and rent a better aircraft - a 182 G1000, a 210 or a Bonanza if I can find one to rent.

    IMG_3157.jpg
    Monument Valley

    IMG_3309.jpg
    Bryce Canyon

    IMG_6293.jpg
    My wife and I

    IMG_6298.jpg
    I ended up liking the Avidyne, and the autopilot was a boon


    IMG_6343.jpg Golden Gate


    IMG_6393.jpg
    Over LAX

    IMG_6396.jpg
    Korean A380 landing below me at LAX

    IMG_6429.jpg
    Million Air welcome at Tucson

    IMG_6463.jpg
    Wonderful Sedona
     

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  14. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Great pictures!
     
  15. Skywalker

    Skywalker Line Up and Wait

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    :yeahthat:

    That is an awesome trip! Hope we do something similar one time - we would fly the Mooney from the Detroit area to the Westcoast... :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2016
  16. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    Nice flight!
     
  17. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Nice, again!

    FYI, 182s, sometimes with RG and/or turbo, are not THAT hard to find for rent, especially in high altitude spots. Even the occasional Bo can be found, though they cost around twice what a 172 does. But I've never seen a 210 on the line. I wouldn't rent a G1000, unless it was the same price as a steam gauge airplane with a 430. I have a fair amount of time in a CAP 182 G1000, and it's nice for IFR, but serious overkill, and not worth the $50/hour premium. They also add a lot more weight than you might think; I fly a G1000 182T and a steam 182R locally for CAP; the latter is 150 lb lighter with all the same limitations. The G1000 182 is essentially a 3-place aircraft, and even then, it's hard to load if the occupants are a bit chunky. The steam 182 is a whole lot easier.
     
  18. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I got checked out in a turbocharged Centurion at West Valley last year, but it's gone now. Lots of fun, but expensive!
     
  19. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    One of the CAP GTLs we both know is talking about buying one and putting it on the line at West Valley. I think he'll change his mind when he sees the insurance bill.
     
  20. abqtj

    abqtj Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Love the pics, great stuff!
     
  21. jkaduk

    jkaduk Cleared for Takeoff

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  22. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    No more than 3 people per airplane. In fact, because it's summer, 2 people per airplane plus luggage. Hot, density altitude, even
    when not in the mountain areas.
     
  23. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yup, just remember that the G1000 seems to be worth nearly one person in gross weight. I'd rather have a real person, or perhaps the additional excess power, but I suppose your choice might be different.
     
  24. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Holy mackerel!

    By the way, the IFR prohibition on the round-dial plane has been removed, because several pilots who have flown it since the squawk was written up were unable to reproduce the problem. Still no ILS capability though, due to the CDI problem.

    On another subject, do you still fly at Sundance? I just rejoined, because I wanted to get checked out in their Brazilian-made LSA, a Paradise P-1, which I did this evening.
     
  25. ircphoenix

    ircphoenix En-Route

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    Why do I feel the sudden need to fly to Tucson?
     
  26. MAKG1

    MAKG1 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No, I've been flying out of Reid. Thanks for the update.

    I found it kinda shocking that 483 was so much lighter than 445, 448, and 481, but it's right there in the W&B, and it's in line with a few other round dials I've flown around the Wing. That's one of several reasons I prefer it for orientation rides (where the 2950 lb max landing weight is the major constraint). Other big ones are that it cuts down on the video game distraction, and the right seat adjusts higher.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
  27. danhagan

    danhagan Pattern Altitude

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    Because the temps are below 110* now and you might be able to actually use the Gatorade jug as a urinal inflight now that TB is decreasing?:eek::confused::D
     
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  28. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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    That picture was taken a chip shot away from my hangar. I'm thirsty often.
     
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  29. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ Final Approach

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    Great pictures. Glad you enjoyed the tri. 60W is a nice bird to fly.
    We're you with the group that took most of the aircraft from WAA?
     
  30. Eagle 2000

    Eagle 2000 Filing Flight Plan

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    Affirmative Sir
     
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  31. garyb

    garyb Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Hmmm... something seems fishy. That photo of Bryce Canyon looks more like Cedar Breaks.
     
  32. Twin_Flyer

    Twin_Flyer Cleared for Takeoff

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    Nice pics... Glad you had a great trip...:yes::yes::yes: