From Grand Canyon to Flagstaff and Sedona
Red Rock County below my wings
A hot and high takeoff from Grand Canyon
I left Grand Canyon after lunch, and took off on the gigantic 9,000' runway,
distractedly remembering what I heard on the ATIS "Density altitude: 9,000".
Of course I knew the problems of hot and high takeoffs, where the thin air reduces your
engine power and portance at the same time, but I didn't check in the POH for the Koch
graph. After all, with such a long runway (almost 3 km - more than is necessary to land a
747 safely in Geneva), what did I have to fear? I soon discovered what. The tower cleared me for
takeoff behind a Twin Otter, and I slowly pushed on the throttle to reach full power. The
airplane reacted very slowly and began its roll. After a full 4,000' of ground run, I was finally
able to get the tires off the ground, and managed to keep the plane at Vy (67 knots). In
the heat of the moment, I did not convert TAS to IAS, and I was probably flying too fast.
I saw the end of the runway pass a mere 50' below me, and prayed that no sequoias were in my
way... It took me about 2 miles and the help of some cumuluses to reach a safe altitude of 1,000'.
Reflecting on my good luck (and my foolish ways), I headed straight south through a bumpy
afternoon, towards Flagstaff. The mountain was a good landmark, and with cumuluses giving me a lift and a let down all the way, I made it to Flagstaff.
I landed safely in cooler air at Flagstaff, and the sympathetic runway
boys gave me a lift to the city, where they showed me to a youth hostel. I took a two-bed dorm
room, which I shared with an Indian who came from his reservation to work during the week in
Flagstaff. He invited me to come with him to a religious service, which I accepted,
interested as ever in the ways of the Americans.
|Red Rock County and Sedona
I had read about the beautiful Sedona airport in Flying. Sedona is right
in the middle of Red Rock County, a landscape of red hills often seen in John Wayne
movies, now the center of the New Age movement. The airport itself is on the top of a hill. I landed there to refuel and took breakfast among some German fighter pilots who were training there. As always, the people were extremely caring and courteous, which is something you don't find everywhere in the US.
This is where many John Wayne movies were shot