Sunday, October 26, 2008

Phoenix - Sedona / Beechcraft Baron 58 / VFR

I'm expanding my fleet. I now have two each of a Cessna 172R, a Cessna 182RG II, a Beechcraft Baron 58, a Beechcraft Bonanza A36, a Boeing 747-400, a Boeing 737-800, and a Boeing 767-300ER. The idea is to have enough aircraft scattered about so that I can fly them consecutively, that is, so that I can take off from the same airport at which I last landed for each aircraft. I can pretend that I took a flight as a passenger to get from one aircraft to another.

This morning I decided to take a couple of virtual passengers with me from Phoenix up to Sedona, in Baron “A” (N2734W). It was a nice morning and tolerably cool even in Phoenix (20° C); Sedona was better still at around 16° C (that's 60° F for those of you still doing things the old-fashioned way).

Phoenix Approach signed on while I was taxiing to runway 8 and sounded a bit sleepy, but they got me cleared and into the air okay. The trip up to Sedona is short and mostly scenic, and I know the way quite well, but it's always reassuring to have my Baron panel chock full o’instruments. I was cleared up to and maintained 8500, and I turned towards the Verde River valley, heading towards Horseshoe Dam. I navigated mostly visually and checked terrain altitudes on the ST3400 TAWS that I installed; with the TAWS I could have done exactly the same thing on instruments at night without compromising safety. In any case, at 8500 feet, there were not too many terrain issues, but I stayed over the valley just to be extra safe.

I've been to Sedona many times, and there are some handy waypoints that can help me into the airport. MINGY is handy for getting up there, but there are several IFR waypoints that are useful for VFR: I aim first for BOWSU, then EXUTY, then turn east to LYRIT. Runway 3 is then right ahead of me. Although the weather was clear, it can be difficult to spot the airport, so using the waypoints to double-check keeps things safer.

After flying the Cessnas for a while, I note that the Baron is definitely faster and more slippery—it takes a more delicate touch to bring it in smoothly. I did manage to get down to about 80-90 KIAS on the approach; I'm trying to make my approaches slower, although this could be problematic if I have an engine failure while going very slowly, so I can't be as daring as I am in the Cessnas.

Landing was without incident under clear blue skies. I disembarked my passengers and filled the tanks for next time.

Blog Archive