Sunday, June 27, 2010

Phoenix - Casa Grande - Phoenix / Cessna 152 (N706YL) / VFR

I haven't been logging flights for quite some time, but I'm still flying (or should I put that in quotation marks to please “real” pilots?).

Anyway, this was a very short flight, which is the only sort of flight that I undertake in pokey Cessna 152s. It started at fabulous Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and ended in Casa Grande. I didn't fly it very well, considering how short the distance was (31 nm).

My intention was to fly from the Phoenix VOR (PXR) to the Stanfield VOR (TFD), then turn east to reach the field. It seemed more elegant to follow an airway, even over this short distance. Unfortunately, I didn't exactly time my progress and the very slow airspeed of the 152 again misled me into thinking that perhaps I was flying too far. I used the CHD NDB to try to triangulate my position but it was very awkward. Finally I decided to turn off the airway and head east to intercept the 143 radial out of PXR. I had flight following and Center asked why I was turning east when I had my destination field just ahead (odd to hear that from Center—it must have been a slow day). Center said the field was now at my 2 o'clock, so I turned right 60 degrees, and after a minute or two I could make out the hangars. I then landed without incident.

All in all, a poor performance for a 32-nm trip. Yes, I could have flown by pilotage, but the objective was to practice with radio navigation aids. I deliberately ignored Interstate 10, which leads almost in a straight line between KPHX and KCGZ.

For the return trip, I just followed the highway, which was quite easy in the perpetually hot but clear weather of the Great American Southwest.