Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Phoenix - Escalante, UT / Beechcraft Baron 58 (N2751W) / VFR

Inspired by a Facebook wall post, I decided to try flying up to Escalante, a tiny town in Utah that happens to have a small municipal airport.

I filed VFR via a couple of waypoints that would take me up over Prescott and through the Dragon Corridor over the Grand Canyon in the Grand Canyon SFRA before taking me to Escalante. The distance was about the same as a flight from Phoenix to San Diego, but I do PHX-SAN all the time and I was looking for variety.

All went well. Cleared into the Bravo and departing from runway 26, I immediately turned north, climbing to 4500 initially and then more gradually up to 8500 as I left the Bravo, for terrain. Unfortunately I found myself heading right into a cloud layer, so for a while I bounced between altitudes looking for clear skies, going from 8500 to 12500 and back down again at various intermediate altitudes. Finally I just made a wide swing around the clouds, ultimately rejoining my filed route at KACEE. As I approached BISOP I climbed again to 11500 to pass through the Dragon Corridor of the Grand Canyon SFRA. (The name of the corridor sounds a bit ominous, but it's just named after a specific landmark in the corridor.) I went direct CABER, descending after I was clear of the Paria Plateau, and then down to Escalante at 5744 feet, swinging slightly east to stay clear of Canaan Peak.

The landing was very smooth, weather was good, and it was a nice change of pace.

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