Another failure to properly document a long flight. But I took a few photographs. My goal for my next long flight is to properly gather the images for a real photographic logbook (my first effort was in September).
At 4am I woke up and stumbled out to my Uber. American Airlines lifted off on time for the 6am flight to Phoenix. After strolling the huge terminal for an hour I was on a CRJ that landed in Midland, Texas at 12:46pm.
I collected the plane, did a five minute hop to an airport with gas that was cheaper by two dollars a gallon, and then was in the air headed west. Due to another AHRS failure, I hand flew for about an hour and a half. My friend Scott Bruce bought a plane without an autopilot. I don’t know how he does it.
I landed in Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport, which is a monster of a place. The FBO (Swift Aviation) was amazing. Cheap fuel ($2.70 a gallon), crew car, comfortable nap room, friendly people… you couldn’t ask for more. Chipotle, a nap, topped off and I was back in the sky, which was now pitch black. There was a tense moment of reduced visibility in a shower over Blythe, CA, since it was a black sky over black desert and I couldn’t really rely on the plane to fly itself. It was like an errant toddler in a restaurant: I had to hold its hand for the entire night, which wasn’t really relaxing.
The Banning Pass has no weather reporting in the Pass, which seems like a mistake. Given the choice of climbing into the cold clouds (ice), or exploring the Pass at 4,500 feet MSL (okay, 4,100 by the other end), I chose to explore. For two minutes in the center of the Pass the wind wound up to 26kts, but in general it was smooth and uneventful. I popped out the other side into the Los Angeles Basin with friendly controllers and a slightly bumpy ride home.