My best RV day trip yet by Ron Lee (ronlee at pcisys.net)
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My hanger mate has been considering buying a RV-6A for a few months. We made one trip to Texas to view one but that did not work out. Today we went to Mesa AZ (Phoenix area) to view another one. My planning generated a trip that straight line was about 478 nm. But that was not good enough. There were several targets of opportunity along the way.
First was Ship Rock NM (NW corner), the Meteor Crater and if time permitted Monument Valley in SE Utah. The trip was close to 544 nm.
The planned 0700 liftoff was actually 0725 with expected cruise altitude of 16,500 feet. After passing to the west of the Fort Carson restricted and a south turn and we have a great view of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
We made a real time change and elected to cross through Mosca Pass since that would bring us over The Great Sand Dunes National Monument. The following pictures show Mosca Pass as we approach it (at 14,500 feet), then the pass with the Sand Dunes on the west side, and finally a slightly better pic of the dunes.
After crossing La Manga pass near the CO/NM border, we were approaching Farmington NM and soon saw our first planned sight.....Ship Rock NM. The following three pics show it from various angles.
Soon after leaving Ship Rock and heading towards Monument Valley Utah, Dub noted that we were close to the four corners area (where NM, Utah, CO and AZ meet at one spot). Since we were mere minutes away, we flew up there and snapped a few pictures. One follows. You can see a road leading from the front of the left wing just outboard of the fuel cap. A circular area is where the four corners plaque is located.
From there we went to Monument Valley where many westerns were filmed. I had wanted to fly a bit lower than we did but not having the proper frequency to announce intentions, we overflew it then headed south towards Mesa AZ (Falcon Field..FFZ).
That path led us almost exactly over the Meteor Crater in AZ.
The airplane inspection went well and we returned IFR (north to I-40 east to I-25 north) The return trip was about 580 nm and took 4.3 hours. The trip down took 4.1 hours including all the picture taking. The pictures were taken with a 1.3 megapixel camera and do not do justice to the beauty of the area we covered. At one point we saw a mountain in the distance that was perhaps 90 miles away.
It was a great trip and I finally flew to several places that have been on my list of places to visit since I got the RV. It was another mountain flying experience that surpassed anything I have done since my mountain flying course last summer.
However it was a bit tiring and I am going to bed. Tomorrow will not have a trip like this. Perhaps a short trip to Kansas.