Sunday, July 27, 2014

Grand Junction to Salida to Taos to Home

Winds were still predicted to be high the third day in Grand Junction but we didn't have far to go this day so we decided to launch, get a feel for the air, and either return and land or carry on to Salida.  Well, it was very windy, 40kts+ at 16,000' but the air was no worse than what we encountered from AZ to CO a few days before so we kept going.

 A bunch of glider pilots were having a fly-in at Salida, but after our reports of the upper level winds they all decided to take a day off.  We spent a couple of days with JZ and Amy.  Our plan had been to fly south to Taos next to visit friends but we had had enough of the winds and turbulence.  Amy loaned us her Yukon to drive to Taos instead.

 We had a great hike with Tina, Liza, and McKenna in the mountains of Taos.

 I got to see a few good friends from the Taos Ski Patrol including Ricus and Eric here.

 Back in Salida, the winds had finally dropped off, so JZ and I took the Phoenix to 17,999' over the Collegiate Range.  JZ's Phoenix better arrive soon or he is likely to kill me.

 JZ has plenty or room for his Cessna 320, RV, and Phoenix in the hangar.

 Shortly after departure from Salida, we viewed the Wet Valley looking south with the Sangre de Christo Range off the wingtip.

 The Skyview now has the capability to display their "6 Pack" view, so I played around with it.

 Lunchtime.

 We had to land in Georgia and wait for the storms along the border to die out.  Then it looked better on the iPad, so we launched into Florida.  There were isolated storms to fly around, such as this one.

 This is how the Skyview depicts the storm in the photo above.

Flight following took us over the top of Orlando, then it was home sweet home.

Cottonwood to Colorado

 After we left Cottonwood heading northeast we crossed the Moenkopi Plateau. View to the right...

 And view to the left.

 Then we crossed Monument Valley, but the winds were to strong to be low. We have flown through Monument Valley on previous trips, treating the free standing rocks like a slalom course, so it was neat to see it from higher up.  Most of the flight to Grand Junction were in winds of 30kts or more with considerable turbulence, so we had to fly slow, below Va of 97kts, and also hand fly the plane rather than fly on autopilot.

 Our friends Terry and Chris picked us up at the airport and then we took a little hike in Colorado National Monument.  It was nice to be on the ground.

 We stayed with our friends 2 nights because of the strong winds aloft complete with wave clouds.

 Terry is a falconer and currently has a gyrfalcon.

Wow, the Colorado mountains and woods sure are beautiful.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Flight to TMGA Fly-In, Cottonwood, AZ from Melbourne, FL

Our flight to Cottonwood was generally in smooth air and light winds.  We would cruise at 4500' in the morning, and gradually increase altitude as the convection started, to stay in the smooth air.
the Skyvector map of our roundtrip route can be found at:

 Gulf of Mexico

 Smooth cruisin' before the weather turned ugly.
After spending the night in Jasper, TX (highly recommended), we left the next morning faced with ugly weather in the form of a front extending from southern Texas to northern Nebraska.  We tried to get around it to the south, but it was moving too fast and was too strong so we landed at Eagle Lake, TX (not recommended), which is primarily a crop dusting airport.  The city manager unlocked a hangar and then drove us to the only motel in town.  While eating lunch the storm hit with a good sized gust front, rain, and lightning.  It rained off and on all night, and then cleared for our departure the next morning.  The motel owner drove us back to the airport.  So we were well taken care of, but facilities in this small town are lacking.

 El Paso and the US/Mexican border
The flight across Texas was in nice smooth air with winds from the north, since it was post-frontal.  We made a rest stop at Guillespe Co Airport (T82 - highly recommended as an overnight stop too), and then continued on to a small airport just south of El Paso (E35) for rest and fuel.  The last short leg of the day was into Silver City (SVC) where Phoenix owners Randy and Cheryl met us and housed us for the night in their beautiful new home.

 Tuzigoot ruins, 1300AD in Cottonwood
Silver City to Sedona was a short 2 hour trip but the winds were beginning to blow, and would not stop for the next 9 days.  Kathy took in the local hikes and sites and I joined her in the afternoons after a brief flight in the mornings before the winds kicked in. 

Cottonwood from Mingus Mountain
Unfortunately the winds in Cottonwood prevented most flying, but we had a great time there with like-minded motorglider friends.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sebring Expo 2014

Alright!  Photos are back on the air.  All I have to do is sign on to the net with Google Chrome.  Don't ask me why.
 Each morning of the Expo brought frigid temps (for Florida anyway).  Rather than scrape the ice off of the wings which could damage the finish, John would rotate the plane so that the sun did the work.

 After a few minutes the ice would turn to water and could be squeegeed off and then a chamois would finish the job.  (The perfect fitting canopy cover comes standard with each plane).

 Winds were brisk the first day, but the remainder of the show as cool with light winds each day.

We gave a dozen demo flights, sold a plane, made new friends, reacquainted with old friends, and even met a Phoenix deposit holder that we had not seen face to face.  Sweet!
Thank you Kathy and John for all of your help and hard work!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sebring Expo

We just arrived in Sebring, FL for the Sebring LSA Expo.  This airshow is dedicated to light sport aircraft, so it is a one of a kind in the US.  The Expo runs tomorrow through Sunday, January 16-19.
For some reason I can't post photos to the blog,  and since this is primarily a visual post, we'll wait until the problem is resolved before continuing.
Don departed Melbourne last week, and stopped off in Miami, Key West, Cozumel, Belize, and finally to his destination, Costa Rica.  He will be on vacation, exploring in his Phoenix for a month, and then will return to the US via western Mexico.  I have urged Don to send us reports of his travels, so hopefully we'll have something for you here soon.
Save flying!

Saturday, November 9, 2013