Thursday, September 3, 2009

Phoenix - Wickenburg / Cessna 152 (N706YL) / VFR

Well, this flight went perfectly, from start to finish. Not that there was a whole lot that I could mess up, but still, I was happy.

Still parked on the northwest side of Sky Harbor, I started up and asked for my clearance into the Bravo and a taxi to the active runway. I was assigned 26, which is right next to the GA ramp where I was parked, albeit at the opposite end of the runway. I prefer that because it lets me turn north after departure without crossing any other traffic. Instructions were to remain at or below 3500.

Departure went very smoothly. I flew the runway heading until I was past downtown, then turned northwest looking for Grand Avenue, which leads all the way out to Wickenburg. To my surprise, just as I was wondering if I'd spot it, I saw it right in front of me. I followed that all the way out. I asked for and got approval to climb to 4500, as 2500 was a bit tight and 3500 wouldn't be quite right for a northwest heading.

I'm much better than I used to be at trimming my various aircraft, and I managed to hold my altitude with great precision after tweaking the trim for only a short while. There weren't any significant changes of heading, as Grand Avenue just goes all the way up, although it's not always referred to as Grand Avenue. I don't have DME on the 152, and I have only one VOR and an ADF, and no NDB was handing to plot an intersection to help me find the airport, but the weather was clear, and the landmarks on the chart were good enough. I knew that the railway that parallels Grand Avenue would turn west just beyond Wickenburg, and I knew that the city itself was on the avenue, and that the airport was west of that. But in any case, in the clear air just before sunset, I easily spotted the beacon at Wickenburg long before I got there.

My descent and approach went very well, too. When I rolled out of my turn from base to final, not only was I lined up with the runway, but I was on the glide slope as well! Flying in to land was a piece of cake, and I managed to touch down so smoothly that I almost didn't feel it.