Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sedona - Lake Havasu / Cessna 182RG Skylane (N7109V) / VFR

Late in the afternoon, I set out from Sedona again with my virtual pax, this time heading towards Lake Havasu.

I planned to fly more or less to the Drake VOR, then roughly west-southwest to get past the mountains, then slightly north again to get to KHII. It went pretty well. I didn't want to fly too high, so I climbed to about 7500 feet west of DRK and made a slight detour around the mountains west of Jerome and then headed back towards the VOR.

After crossing the VOR, I wanted to pick up the 246 radial and head out over Bagdad. I set the Nav-O-Matic (I can't believe that's its real name—what was Cessna thinking?) to 246 and maintained about 7000 (less than 3000 AGL). I kept drifting south off the radial (which was just as well, because terrain was lower), and finally got back to the radial only as I reached Bagdad.

Over the Bagdad airport I turned to 270, which I figured would take me through the mountains where I could turn and head towards Lake Havasu (ignoring winds). Somehow, though, I ended up drifting over the southern part of the Hualapai Mountains, and I had to climb a bit to stay in my comfort zone. Then I saw a big lake off in the distance, and incorrectly assumed that it was Lake Havasu. It wasn't until I was about 40 miles from the Needles VOR (which I was now tracking) when I plotted my position on the chart and realized that the lake was just east of Needles (it didn't have a name on the chart, unless it's technically part of Lake Havasu?), so I turned to 210 to head further south towards Lake Havasu, which was visible when I looked for it.

Assuming the winds would be from the west, I selected runway 32 and announced a right downwind thereto (although it has a left-hand pattern, but nobody else seemed to be in the pattern). I did pretty well in the pattern, and the landing wasn't too bad considering the crosswind of 10 knots or so. I don't plan to linger in Havasu City as it is blazing hot, and I long to again dance the skies on laughter-silvered wings.