Sedona Arizona,USA

Trip Start Sep 01, 2012
1
15
25
Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A cold  (5c) start from Oklahoma for a 800mile leg to Sedona in Arizona. Climbed to 10,500ft, an almost direct track to my destination (KSEZ) . I kept a relatively low altitude to beat the predicted headwind of 25kts, which turned out wrong as I soon saw 45kts right on the nose ! However my safety height after 400 miles demanded 12,000 minimum. Cruising on top of a stratus layer at 12,500ft there was not much to see as I crossed the States of Texas and New Mexico. But ahead I could see the cloud break and finally disperse to show a totally different landscape of open desert. Although my height was constant I could see the ground slowly rising as I headed West. I noticed a small airfield ahead which gave an elevation of 7000ft above sea level !
As I passed the city of Albuquerque I then experienced some quite strong updrafts (and down) as the midday heat increased. In the end it was prudent to switch off the autopilots " height hold" to avoid a possible stall (or over speed) as it trys to maintain height. I noticed regular 1000ft/min rises and falls as I "rode the waves"!  It was difficult getting photos that were in focus with the turbulence, but there were spells of total smoothness when I could snap a few good ones.
Immediately ahead I noticed an unusual shape on the desert floor which I later got confirmation was the famous "Meteor Crater". This crater is almost a mile in diameter and several hundred feet deep. I snapped a couple of photos as best I could.
As I approached my destination the views become quite outstanding. The mountains become red in colour, and took the form of those Western movies I was brought up with. Deep canyons and stunning shapes, and heights !
Sedona airfield is perched on a plateau at 5000ft above sea level and has no air traffic control. All aircraft just use an airborne frequency, and it seems to work very well. The approach takes the form of landing on an aircraft carrier, but with mountains ahead.
 On the ground safely after 5hrs and 15 mins, but with slightly sweaty palms ( it was 28c) !
 This airfield is situated in one of the most stunning areas you could find. Everywhere you look these red mountains surround you. I could almost imagine seeing John Wayne or Ronald Reagan riding into view. 
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Comments

Nick Stokes on

28degrees that sounds lovely, back here it is really quite cold and continuously raining. But at least we dont have to look out for poisonous snakes and insects, and definitely no Indians. The scenary looks stunning, it takes a trip like this to show just how big America really is and how varied the Landscape is. The pictures are really appreciated, I look forward to reading this Blog every day, keep up the good work, Nick

Sam Jerrett on

We love the blogs, Dave, following every move. The pictures are brilliant and bring home just what a huge country US is. With you all the way. Joan sends best as well.
PS Night flying start at Sleap in a couple of weeks - think of us in the cold and dark!!

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