Saturday, December 6, 2008

Phoenix - Whiteriver / Beechcraft Bonanza A36 (N3758W) / VFR

After thinking about Hawley Lake, a place in Arizona that is regularly the coldest spot in the State, at all times of year, I developed an urge to visit the place—virtually, of course (given my distaste for travel). Fortunately I had a Bonanza parked at Sky Harbor, so it was a simple matter to fly to the nearest airport to Hawley Lake, which turns out to be Whiteriver (E24), a small GA airport belonging to the White Mountain Apache Tribe and on their reservation.

I recklessly elected not to file a flight plan (reckless because it complicates S&R if something goes amiss, and there are lots of mountains along the way), but it was a simple flight: all I had to do was ride the 065 radial out of PXR to 101 DME. It was getting dark but I could still make out the terrain. However, 101 nm is just outside the normal service volume for a high-altitude VOR like PXR at my cruising altitude (9500 feet), so to be safe I also tuned SJN and watched carefully for the 216 radial. I chose 9500 for my altitude because it provided terrain clearance throughout the flight, although I dropped to 7500 once I had visibly cleared some of the larger mountains. PXR stayed with me all the way, but in any case by the time I left 9500 I had the field in sight in very clear weather.

Landing was without incident.

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