Saturday, July 16, 2011

Long X-Country, Weather, & State # 38 (AZ)

This weekend I had a long cross country flight planned.  The destination was Sedona, AZ, which is a very famous airport for pilots.

According to the Sedona Airport website, they claim to be "America's Most Scenic Airport".  It is also sometimes referred to as the "USS Sedona" because it feels like landing on an aircraft carrier.  This is due to the fact that the airport is situated on a Mesa with a 500 FT dropoff on both ends of the runway.

To add further drama, Sedona is home to a number of "spiritual vortexes", which are clearly identified on tourist maps.  In fact, one of them is right on the Airport access road.  Some say that it may even contribute to the bizarre wind patterns that pilots wrestle with on final.

The route I planned was fairly simple, which you can see below:

The first leg from Tampa to Shreveport was a grueling battle with weather.  You can see from the screen shot below why I had diversion clearances of 20 degrees right or left most of the way.

Luckily after Shreveport, there was no more rain to contend with.  The next stop was supposed to be Truth or Consequences, NM.  I thought the name was unique, and their runway layout even more unique.  But as I was flying over West Texas, I needed a break.  So I pulled out the iPad and found a great little airport in Snyder, TX that was only 40 miles from my position and had cheap fuel, internet and a crew car!

Since I was on an IFR flight plan, I called ATC and told (not asked) to divert to Winston airport (KSNK).  Their immediate response was "WHY???".  I replied "NO emergency... Just change in plans".  Then I did a couple of 360s to get down from 16,000 FT and had an uneventful landing.  The crew at KSNK (Ray and Danny) were extremely friendly and helpful.  After a bite and a bunch of "hanger flying" with the crew, I was ready for departure.

However, it was 95 degrees out and I struggled with the hot start.  After 2 failed attempts, I pulled up Alex Wolf's YouTube video on SR22 hot starts and that did the trick. (Thanks Alex!!)

Now I was finally direct Sedona.  As I approached, I instantly understood why this airport has so much hype. The views were breathtaking!  I tried to capture some of it on video, which you can see below:

So Arizona is now officially state # 38 and because of my little detour, I will try to hit New Mexico on the way home.


  1. Thanks Victoria! (I still have so much to learn on video editing)

  2. Unfortunately, we don't have a whole lot to offer for airport food. Cutter at KABQ has rental cars, and possibly a crew car, and it's very close to town.

  3. Man, you really rack up the mileage in the Cirrus. Great views and a great trip!

  4. Agree with you put in the miles!

    What gorgeous scenery in the video, a welcome change from the flatlands out east.


  5. Thanks Gary! ... Next week I am flying to NY ... Just need to figure out a way for Continental or someone to start issuing me frequent flyer points for Cirrus travel ;-)

  6. Hi TJ, great post and videos as always.
    I've been following your blog for a couple month now. I'm a pilot based in the NY metro area (KCDW/KLDJ).
    Let me know if you come to New York and we can fly togeher(I'll show you how to fly the hudson route either in class B or VFR, for instance).
    By the way, how long was your trip to Sedona from FLorida? Must have been at least 4-6h!!

  7. Oh and by the way, this is the club I'm a member of:

  8. Thanks Michael! ... This week I am New York and had an interesting trip up here, which I will write about this weekend.... Heading home tomorrow... But maybe next time.

  9. Travel, I was coming to realize, was a metaphor not only for the countless options life offers but also for the fact that choosing one option reduces you to the parameters of that choice. Thus, in knowing my possibilities, I also knew my limitations. Cheap Flights to Karachi


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