Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sky Ranch - Phoenix / Cessna 152 (N701YL) / VFR

Now that I'm wary of the extreme slowness of a 152, I make short flights, and this flight was very short. I've had a 152 parked at Sky Ranch in Carefree since July, and I finally decided to fly it back into Phoenix. Despite the very short distance involved (42 nautical miles over my actual route, 23 nm as the crow flies), it still took half an hour to fly.

I was surprised when ATC told me to stay at or below 2200 feet in the Class B, since this put me below most of the mountains in the area (I should think it put me below their MVA, too, but that's their problem, I guess). Fortunately, it was daytime and very clear, and I know the area well, and since this is only 1000 feet AGL, I had a great view of the city, such as it is. ATC had me swing way out to the east and southeast, which left quite a hefty safety margin considering that I wasn't doing better than 90 KIAS. Ultimately I was directed to 25L. I touched down just beyond the numbers and had come to a stop before reaching the first taxiway after touchdown, thanks to the anemic speed of the 152.

The most salient feature of this flight was the turbulence. From the time I took off to the time I landed, I was riding a bucking bronco. Gusts of wind banged me to and fro in the cockpit (but of course I was well strapped in) constantly. Vertical movements weren't as frequent but occasionally I found myself swiftly rising or falling for a few seconds. I wasn't really close to any of the mountains in the valley (I came within a few miles of Pinnacle Peak, and I was on the upwind side), but I guess the afternoon heat or something produced a lot of movement. Fortunately it let up as I descended to landing at Sky Harbor.

I parked at Cutter. In the virtual world, it seems that half the planes on their ramp are mine.