Tanya & Bryan Duke's RV-6 Flying Reports
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6 Feb 05: Tanya & I flew to Sedona, AZ for lunch today. We were actually thinking of flying to San Luis Obispo on the central California coast, but weather kept us from going west. We did a quick scan online of airports with restaurants & something else fun. I remembered my father raving about how awesome the scenery around Sedona was. I'd flown over it in F-15's & F-16's, but never low enough to really check it out. Tanya was game for it, so away we went.

The clouds were scattered at our home base of Boulder City, but quickly after takeoff they started closing up. We called flight service for a weather update on Sedona - clear - so we continued out climb to 11,500' and cruised above the clouds towards Sedona. Within about 30 miles of Sedona, the clouds started breaking up. We asked the pilot of another airplane who just took off from Sedona for a weather report & he said the clouds were scattered with a high broken deck. About the same time we flew over about a 10-ish mile wide hole so with a quick 360, we decended below the clouds and continued towards lunch.

The scenery at that point was fairly typical of mountain regions - nothing out of the ordinary. Then about 15 miles out from the field we crossed a ridge line and Tanya gasped "they look like castles!" This must be the place. The ordinary mountains gave way to amazing rock formations towering into the sky. With a little imagination, the rocks did look like castles. We were tempted to tour the area, but our stomachs were growling. We turned a wide downwind behind a much slower Cessna 172. I've heard plenty stories about the pattern here - very bumpy. I was ready. I thought. The airport sits on a mesa with sheer cliff dropoffs at both ends of the runway. Everything was fine until short final, then BAAAMM! Did we just get hit? Nope...that was the wind. The wind was gusty that day & the wind shear and/or gust we hit as we crossed over the cliff prior to the runway was one I won't soon forget. My landing was not pretty - at least from inside the cockpit. Hopefully it looked better from outside.

Anyway, with that over we found transient parking in front of the terminal building (maybe it was just an FBO - can't remember). A short walk to the north was the restaurant. It was cold out, so we didn't waste any time getting there. The hostess sat us at a window seat. Oddly, the floor was sloped away from the wall. It wasn't bad, just noticable. It was enough that our tea glasses couldn't be filled comfortably all the way. Strange, we thought, hopefully the food was good. Indeed it was. Tanya had a philly & I had a burger. Both were great. We'll come back when it's warmer out, we decided.

With full tummies we bundled back up & walked back to the plane. Tanya hopped in, asking me to turn on the heater. I got the plane ready & jumped in. A quick blip of the starter key & we were on our way. Noise abatement procedures were clearly posted at the end of the runway. Darn, no low level trek through Sedona at 200mph. :) Thankfully our RV-6 has great takeoff & climb performance. We didn't find anything like the bump we found on landing. Just south of Sedona it was raining, so instead of a sightseeing tour (at legal altitudes), we elected to climb back up above the weather and head home.

The trip back was smooth at 10,500'. The views of the slowly setting sun were great as we skimmed above a think scattered deck of clouds (see photo). We definately would love to go back to Sedona. Next time, we'll probably bring hiking shoes & a tent. If you're ever in the neighborhood, try the restaurant - great burger.

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