Tucson to Sedona – What a flight!

Oh lucky lucky me. I’m on vacation this week celebrating my big birthday the “second best” way there is. Flying of course…right seat…in my husband’s Mooney 231. ‘Course, the best way to celebrate would have been in a taildragger, say my Rans S7…..or a hotshot Supercub…or maybe even a 200 hp RV8! BUT I’m willing to make concessions when I can travel in style in this kick-butt, turbocharged 231, perfect for the high elevation fields we’re hitting this week.

Oops, locked the Mooney door overnight at Tucson but forgot the rather obvious baggage door.  ;) No problem, nothing missing in the a.m.

Oops, locked the Mooney door overnight at Tucson but forgot the rather obvious baggage door. 😉  No problem, nothing missing in the a.m.

So far, a night at Roswell, AZ, a night at Tucson and tonight at Sedona. Left KAVQ this morning and climbed to 10,500′, navigating between a restricted area SE of Phoenix class B and the outer veil on the east side of Phoenix. North of Phoenix the terrain turns very inhospitable (if the engine should stop “cooling the pilot”) but strangely beautiful and very rugged peaks above our 10,500′ MSL altitude.

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Yes, we made it to Sedona – a truly gorgeous flight around the east side of Phoenix. What a massive area of development Phoenix is, seemingly going on forever in an area that was once just a desert valley.

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After Phoenix it’s a straight shot into Sedona. Boyd and I were both hyped up big time for today’s flight. You can’t have seen pictures of KSEZ and not get all wound up about actually flying into it. It’s like a carrier landing except the carrier is a 5000′ flat topped mountain. Winds just love to swirl around this big rock which keeps most pilots very busy on final approach.

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Coming from a flat-land mid-westerner, the views out here are mind boggling.

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We did a crosswind then turned a wide base for 03, the favored runway. (Favored because it’s slightly uphill) On the approach, the lower we got the bumpier it got.

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Base to final.

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Winds were 17 with gusts and we stayed a wee bit high on the initial final and then slipped hard to the right to get in position so as not to over shoot. Got one good sinker about 500 feet short of the threshold and Boyd added power to get to the runway. Boyd’s pretty proud of himself for slicking the Mooney on yet one more time on this trip. Personally, I think my position sitting right seat, navigating and getting my 2 cents in (repeatedly) was invaluable. I mean, could he really have done it without me on short short final yelling “GIVE IT POWER! GIVE IT POWER!” 🙂

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