Friday, April 3, 2009

Phoenix - Sedona / Beechcraft Bonanza A36 (N3759W) / VFR

After resting overnight in the Valley of the Sun, I was off to Sedona with two virtual passengers. With winds from the northeast, and very clear weather, I was able to get runway 8 again for departure. Cleared to maintain VFR at or below 5500, I turned to the northeast shortly after take-off and climbed slowly to 5500, flying over Fountain Hills to Bartlett Lake. The Verde River leads right up towards Sedona, so I just follow the river valley on up. In good VFR conditions, this flight is a cakewalk, and in fact I flew almost the whole way at 5500 feet. In IMC, it's scary.

Around Cottonwood I turned northwest towards LYRIT, and by the time I got close to there I could see the airport. The wind was coming from behind me according to the weather report, so I made a left downwind to runway 21. There was some significant turbulence around the buttes as I flew the pattern, but the landing was quite smooth.

After this flight, I checked out some videos of the same flight on YouTube, and it was eerie how much it resembled the sim. In fact, I immediately knew where the airplane was in the videos because I recognized the terrain. The sim doesn't have real-world detail, of course, but it has enough for you to recognize where you are right away. Some of the videos flew essentially the identical route to what I flew, so much so that I knew exactly when the airport was going to come into the frame as the airplane turned to final for 21 (which I had done only moments earlier). Even the turbulence was in the same spots! Very cool.

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