Monday, February 15, 2010

Salt Lake City - Brigham City / Cessna 152 (N701YL) / VFR

[Note: I've been flying a lot, but I've been very negligent in logging all my flights. I don't think anyone reads this blog so it probably doesn't matter. — AA]

Tonight's flight in an incredibly slow Cessna 152 was another screw-up, I'm afraid. Once again the extremely slow speed of the aircraft threw me, although I made other mistakes as well.

The weather along my route was just barely legal for VFR. I departed Salt Lake City on runway 35, right next to the FBO, and stayed quite low as I headed out over the lake. The clouds were right above me so I couldn't climb to my originally planned altitude of 5500. And I couldn't really fly over houses at 400 feet, so I stayed just off the shoreline.

With clouds above and unfamiliar terrain below, I got lost pretty quickly. I tried following the shoreline, although the shoreline isn't constant in SLC because the lake rises and falls. I tried comparing what I saw to the charts, but a lot of the curvy parts of the shoreline looked the same. I worried that I was going too far. Finally I saw what I thought must be my destination airport, Brigham City, but after I landed I realized that I was at Hill AFB (there was no ATC online at the time, so no radar back-up). That's what I get for trying to fly a 152 under such conditions. I had miles of visibility under the cloud deck, but I just didn't know what I was looking at, not being at all familiar with the SLC area.

Better luck next time, I suppose. I'm starting to think that the poorly-equipped 152 is not a very good choice for anything other than very short flights in severely clear weather during the day.