On Sunday morning, we arrived at the Midland Airpark bright and early so that we could fly the remaining 1,000 nautical miles back to San Jose. But mother nature had other plans for us.
We found that the airplane had a nice coating of frost on it. The temperature was still in the high 20s, so we maneuvered the airplane to better face the sun and set about figuring a way to accelerate the defrosting process.
After doing some work with warm water, rags, and a long stick, we eventually got most of the frost off and let the increasing temps handle the rest of it.
We departed about 2 hours later than expected and flew along a route of flight that included: Hobbs, New Mexico; Roswell, New Mexico; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Gallup, New Mexico; and Flagstaff, Arizona.
Along the way we saw a big hole in the ground that I eventually recognized at the big meteor crater.
We arrived at Flagstaff airport for a quick lunch and refueling. There was an impressive amount of snow piled up around the airport.
From there we flew on to the Peach Springs VOR (just south of the Grand Canyon) and got some amazing views of the canyon on our way to Lake Mead and Las Vegas.
Flying over Lake Mead was a fun experience.
While talking to Las Vegas approach, we got to watch lots of airliners flying into and out of Vegas. We crossed just north of Las Vegas airport, over flew Nellis Air Force Base (seriously!) and continued on toward Beatty, Nevada.
At this point it was getting dark quickly and we had to decide what to do. Talking to the folks at Nellis Control (I should mention that we had Flight Following almost the entire day), we decided to go direct to Bishop, California. It was getting rather dark and I didn't like the idea of crossing the higher part of the Whites at night (even with terrain awareness on the GPS).
We got handed off to Joshua Center and decided to direct to Independence, California where we could pick up Highway 395 and follow it up to Bishop. From there we'd decide to either press on to Minden or just stay in Bishop for the night.
We arrived over the Bishop airport and decided to just land for the night. We'd had a long day of flying and weren't going to try flying over the Sierras at night. Given the weather, we figured there'd be a good route home on Monday morning.
I slowly spiraled down over the airport and landed at Bishop. The night landing there is a bit freaky because you know you've got big terrain nearby and can't see a damned thing. And the terrain display on the Garmin 430 starts to go crazy as you get down to pattern altitude.
It was quite a learning experience. Soon I'll write up the trip home on Monday (yes, we made it back).
The pictures are here: N601SF: Midland to Flagstaff to Bishop
- Flying Cessna 182 N601SF from Michigan to California
- Flight Report: Sturgis, MI to Lebanon, MS to Texarkana, AR
- Made it to Midland, Texas
Posted by jzawodn at December 18, 2007 08:02 AM