When we started planning how to get the Fun to Fly Remos from one coast to the other, we asked you for stopping points along the southern route–and you did not disappoint. Arizonans in particular were bursting with ideas, especially Flight Training contributing editor Greg Brown, who bases his Flying Carpet at Flagstaff.
There were so many suggestions for Arizona that we had a hard time choosing. Flagstaff? Winslow? Prescott, home of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s “other” campus? Sedona, where you can actually take off and land on a mesa? In the end, Sedona won the day. Why? I’ll let Greg Brown’s words do the talking, from his May 2003 column:
“…Sedona, Arizona, ranks among the most memorable pilot destinations anywhere. Set in the massive shoulder of the Colorado Plateau, the town is nestled among fantastical columns of rose-colored rock. The airport perches atop a 500-foot-tall mesa.”
So forgive us, Prescott, Winslow, and Flagstaff. The lure of landing on a mesa was too much to resist. Greg promised to meet us there with a picnic lunch, knowing that the Sedona airport restaurant was closed and our schedule for Thursday was to complete three legs.
As we topped a ridge and pointed the Remos’s nose downward, the airport lay just ahead. Greg had told us to land on Runway 3, which goes uphill, and take off on Runway 21. Getting down and stopped on the 5,132-runway was no problem for the Remos. Greg was parked alongside the runway taking photos of our arrival. When we called final, the reply came back on the CTAF: “Smile–you have a friend taking pictures.”
I wish I had the talent to paint a verbal picture of the view from the scenic overlook just a few hundred yards from the airport. I hope these photos help convey the astonishing beauty of this part of the country.
Our time in Sedona was long enough to feel entirely welcome, short enough to make us want to return immediately. Departing the airport requires some planning and careful airmanship, thanks to the elevation and density altitude. You keep the airplane in ground effect so that you can gain enough power to climb, else you might dip below the edge of the mesa when you reach the end. From there it was on to Barstow, California, our next-to-last stop on this journey.