President's Message - Bill Cheek
I've said it before: we pilots are a lucky group. We participate
in one of the most enjoyable of life's experiences and we can share those experiences with others who are actually
interested. Even when traveling by modes of transportation other than private plane, we have the opportunity to
add to the enjoyment of our destinations which others can only dream about, by renting a plane when we get there.
The September issue of American's Flyways contained an article ("Where Love Comes in Second", page 10) about Arizona's second busiest airport that reminded me of one of those opportunities. In early June, Maret and I attended my 40th high school class reunion (40 years!) in that northern Arizona city. Prescott, site of one of the Emery-Riddle University campuses, has an excellent airport. Two parallel and a 4400 ft. cross runway is a little surprising for a small city in Arizona's high country 100 miles north of Phoenix. Ernest A. Love Field is at 5,000 feet with several peaks in the surrounding area pushing 8,000. Flagstaff and the San Francisco Peaks (12,600 feet), the Mogollon Rim, and the red rock country of Sedona are within a 75-mile radius. What an opportunity to do a little mountain flying!
I would like to say that I planned all this so that I could "sharpen my skills for future flying in the mountain West." It's doubtful, however, that I will ever try mountain flying on my own. There was no way I could justify the expense in any way other than I was just having fun.
When Emery-Riddle University, scheduled airline service, and Forest Service tankers are added to the four flight schools, Prescott (PRC) is a busy airport. The nation's 34th busiest control tower according to the America's Flyways article. And without radar. I arranged with Skyschool, Inc. before leaving Springfield, to rent a 172 with an instructor. CFII Bob Logan, Skyschool's chief pilot, introduced me to "high density altitude" flying. Maret searched for "bargains" in Prescott's many antique shops while I was aloft.
I thought it would be a "sight seeing" flight; Bob thought it better to give me a check ride: slow flight, steep turns, stalls, emergency procedures, and five touch and goes. The plane I rented was not a typical 172. Having been modified with a 180 hp engine, a variable pitch prop, and fuel pump, it was maybe more like a detuned 182. I was able to get in a few peeks at the peaks around my old home town, but it was a lot less sight seeing than I intended. Reduced performance is something always included in articles about high altitude flying but since the plane was modified, I did not have a good comparison. Even with density altitude approaching 8,000, it climbed about the same as the Skyhawks I'm used to flying. We stayed under 10,000 during the flight, so we didn't approach ceiling limits.
Winds were another thing. During five touch and goes and a full stop landing, the active runway was changed by the tower three times because of shifting winds. Earl Holmer did a good job of teaching crosswind landings, but I had not experienced a 20K, 80 degree crosswind landing at home. As Bob said as we landed on 21L with full right rudder, "welcome to the west."
Besides "the wind sure does blow in the west," one other thing stands out in my mind about my northern Arizona flying experience. With Midwest haze, we are lucky to see 20 miles when flying in this area. The 80 mile visibility we had June 10th was delightful. The air was so clear, I could almost pick out individual ponderosas on the San Francisco Peaks north of Flagstaff. That kind of visibility can also get unwary pilots in trouble according to Mr. Logan. Towns and airports are farther apart in the west, and when you are used to 10 mile visibility with haze, those towns may be much more distant than they appear. Fuel management is especially crucial in the west.
Our trip to Prescott was good. It was a good reunion. I visited with former classmates that I hadn't seen in 40 years and enjoyed the town of my youth. We bought an additional suitcase in Arizona to bring back our bargain antiques. I got to do some high altitude flying. What a combination!
Sometimes you just have to fly for fun!
This year's joint Christmas party will be hosted by the Ozarks Chapter. Mike Ramirez, President of the Ozarks Chapter has reservations at the Riverside Inn for December 12th; Social Hour begins at 6:00p.m. More details about this annual event in coming issues of KSGF News.
This month's meeting is October 17th, Springfield/ Branson Regional
Airport, Springfield, MO. We meet at the CAFÉ SGF, Social Hour 6:30 P.M. Buffet is at 7:00 P.M. Cost is
$10.00 per person. Program: "Bush Angles" with Earl Holmer. An 18-min. action video plus talk about Canadian
Bush Plane flying and history.
Calendar of Events
10/19 EAA Chapter 821 Monthly Meeting, 7:00 P.M. Air & Military
Museum of the Ozarks, 2305 E. Kearney (Lurvey Plaza). Annual Chilli Supper & Election of Officers. For more
info contact: Larry G. Harmon, President (417) 866-0919. E-mail EAALHARMON@aol.com
11/09 FAA Safety Seminar, Cox N. Hospital, Fountain Plaza Room, 7:00-9:-30 P.M. Sponsor: EAA Chapter 821.
11/12 MPA State Board Meeting. Lunch at 12 Noon, Bledsoe's Restaurant, Columbia Regional Airport, Columbia, MO. Board Meeting at 1:00 P.M. All MPA Members Welcome!
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