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CV60

Virtual Grand Tour of the Continental USA in a Piper Cub

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I'm going to begin a Grand Tour of the continental USA, flying the entire route in A2A's classic Piper J3 Cub.  My intent is to fly this entire circuit VFR using the current weather.  The entire trip will look something like this: 

Z71cYfX.jpg

 

There may be deviations from this route, but this is generally what I hope to accomplish over the next 90+ days.  With that, it's time to pull chocks!

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Leg 1 Preflight- 7 February 2019   Cassa Grande Municipal (KCGZ) to Sedona, (KSEZ)

 

                I’m going to start the Grand Tour in Arizona.  Why Arizona?  Because of the weather.  Most of the US is under a lot of cloud cover today. See image below:

k7oDrLQ.png

 

 Plus, I just need to go somewhere warm.  Last week, we had -51 degrees Fahrenheit where I live in real life.  I need to see some sun, and I can’t fly my Piper Cub to Australia, so Arizona will have to do.

 

The first leg of the Grand Tour will start at Cassa Grande Municipal, outside of Phoenix, and go to Sedona, Arizona. (See chart below).  I’ve planned the trip to maximize the scenery.  Because of this, I’m not taking the direct route (the purple line on the image below), thereby avoiding Phoenix.  Instead, I’m circle around the east side of the Phoenix metro area until I intercept the Verde River, which I will follow north until I get to Rimrock airport.  I’ll then fly north into Sedona.  Because of some delays, my takeoff won’t be until 2130Z/1430L. 

xamIWas.jpg

The weather reports for the flight are excellent.  I’ll have clear sky, decent temperature, and little to no wind for KCGZ and KSEZ, as well as the alternates.  Current and Forecasted WX is below:

 

METAR: KCGZ 071956Z AUTO 35006KT 10SM CLR 11/M08 A3028 RMK AO2 SLP261 T01061078 PNO $

METAR: KSDL 071953Z 04008KT 10SM CLR 12/M12 A3028 RMK AO2 SLP252 T01221122

METAR: KPAN 071955Z AUTO 00000KT 9SM CLR 02/M15 A3021 RMK AO2

METAR: KSEZ 071955Z AUTO 20003KT 10SM CLR 03/M11 A3024 RMK AO2

Terminal Area Forecast: KSEZ 071720Z 0718/0818 VRB06KT P6SM FEW200

  FM080300 05011G16KT P6SM SCT200

  FM081500 VRB05KT P6SM FEW200

 

Winds aloft

072000Z-080300Z

PHX 9900 0809+02 9900-01 2410-07 2633-22 2638-34 254549 255057 256255

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Leg 1- Flight 7 February 2019   Cassa Grande Municipal (KCGZ) to Sedona, (KSEZ)

 

Takeoff from KCGZ was at 2124Z.  The weather was as predicted-little to no winds.  Perfect weather for flying a Cub.  The flight was uneventful, except I neglected to turn off my handheld radio to save power. By the time I got to Sedona, the battery was dead.  This gave me the opportunity to practice my lost comms procedures to contact Sedona Tower get permission to land at Sedona. (For those who haven’t flown the A2A Piper Cub, it simulates the real Cub, which doesn’t have an electrical system.  In the Cub, radio comms are done via handheld radios.  A2A simulated this by providing it's virtual Cub a handheld radio.  However, it has a short battery life.  When it dies, the virtual pilot can’t contact ATC).

 

Image 1. Crossing into the Superstition Wilderness Area.  Apache Junction is to the WSW at the lower left of the image.

VoylDuZ.png

 

Image 2. McGuierville, AZ (Rimrock airport).  Sedona is located at 10 o'clock, in the saddle of the hills ahead

HLCqxTE.png

 

Image 3 Sedona from the South

EIZEttO.png

 

 

Sedona is really beautiful in real life

ZhihjOX.jpg

sP6fSZG.jpg

n6MfCzX.jpg

Edited by CV60
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Leg 2 Preflight- 9 February 2019    Sedona, AZ (KSEZ) to Double Eagle, NM (KAEG)

The second leg of the Grand Tour will take me from Sedona to Double Eagle, an airport outside of Albuquerque.  Because it is a long flight, I will have to stop along the way to refuel.   My planed track will take me to Winslow, AZ, and then generally follow I-40 to Albuquerque. 

LCVPjzQ.jpg

One problem that I may face today is winds.  While Sedona currently has calm winds,  high winds are expected along the route:

kw7QVQx.jpg

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At 1435Z, when I began planning the flight the weather at my destination was good. 

METAR: KSEZ 091435Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM CLR 05/M09 A2998 RMK AO2

METAR: KINW 091356Z AUTO 14008KT 10SM CLR M03/M09 A2998 RMK AO2 SLP161 T10331094

METAR: KABQ 091352Z 34007KT 10SM BKN220 M04/M10 A3017 RMK AO2 SLP228 T10391100

(Alternate-Flagstaff) METAR: KFLG 091357Z 22004KT 10SM CLR M08/M13 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP168 T10781128
Alternate-Gallup METAR: KGUP 091353Z AUTO 19005KT 10SM CLR M02/M12 A3004 RMK AO2 SLP199 T10171117

However, delays prevented me from getting out of chocks until 1655Z.  That doesn't give me much time to beat the winds, which are forecasted to begin around 1900Z.  My personal minimums are winds and/or gusts of 25mph.  Anything over that and landing and taxiing the Cub will be hazardous, so I will scrub if the winds get higher than that.

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Leg 2A- Flight 9 February 2019    Sedona, AZ (KSEZ) to Winslow, AZ (KINW)

I didn't get begin my taxi until 1655Z.  Part of the reason for the delay is that, unlike modern jet airliners, you don't get some yellow gear for a "pushback" i when you park too close to the fence.  You get to do it manually.....:  

SiSDq99.png

After departing Sedona, I had an uneventful flight to Meteor crater, located 20 miles west of Winslow.  Then I proceeded on to Winslow, where I stopped off to top of the Cub for the run into KAEG.  Unfortunately, I took a bit too long getting gas.  After filling up and beginning my taxi to the runway, the weather changed.  Those high winds I was worried about reached Winslow at 23 with gusts to 28.  As that was past my personal minimums, I returned to the ramps.  It looks like I'll be spending the night in Winslow..... 

Image 2. Departing Sedona, looking North.  State Hwy 89A in center of image

wpNIjFn.png

 

Image 3 and 4 

Approaching Meteor Crater and Mormon Lake

OYVgp2B.pngmdeggjG.png

Edited by CV60
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Meteor crater is pretty impressive in real life.  It's amazing the amount of damage a 30 meter long rock can do

 

lxXuE7g.jpg

 

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And just because I know the question will come up:   Yes, there is a girl in a flatboard Ford in Winslow, Arizona.  However, she didn't slow down to take a look at me, so it can't be the same one that's mentioned in the song :D:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g31411-d108840-i70269149-Standin_on_the_Corner_Park-Winslow_Arizona.html

 

 

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On the chart, it is where I made the dog leg out of Sedona, changing my course from 058 degrees magnetic to 083.  It's actually on the air charts as "Meteor Crater" (see attached in the center of the image, at approximately . 247 radial off the Winslow TACAN)  The museum that is shown on the chart is the visitor center that is associated with the Barringer crater.  I may try overflying this using the MegaScenery Earth terrain installed, just to compare the rendition of the crater.  I have it, but didn't use it for this flight, as I had Orbx's Sedona scenery installed.

cT5ZLoZ.jpg

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Great PIREPS and I admire your persistence, :good: I love the J3 for flying about an area but I would have sold the Cub and been in a Cessna 182 or the Comanche already. LOL

Looking forward to the next installment. :D

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On 11/02/2019 at 17:13, brett said:

Great PIREPS and I admire your persistence, :good: I love the J3 for flying about an area but I would have sold the Cub and been in a Cessna 182 or the Comanche already. LOL

Looking forward to the next installment. :D

I'm glad you are enjoying it!  The J3 gives a slow flight, but you really get a chance to enjoy the scenery.  And speaking of the next leg:

Leg 2B- Pre-Flight 12 February 2019     Winslow, AZ (KINW) to Double Eagle II (KAEG)

After a two day delay in Winslow I'm off again to finish the second leg of the Grand Tour.  For this leg, I will be using Mega Scenery Earth Arizona V3 and New Mexico V3 to generate the terrain.  

My projected route is unchanged from the flight plan from 9 February, with the exception that I will be starting in Winslow, instead of Sedona.  There are a lot of airports enroute, so I shouldn't have any problem in the event of an emergency.  Approximately 100 miles into the flight I  will stop at Otholf (KXNI) to top off on gas.

 

LCVPjzQ.jpg

 

Today is another outstanding day for flying a Cub.  The entire leg is in a high pressure area, with a forecast of calm/low winds  for the afternoon.  Although lowering ceilings are expected in late afternoon, the route will remain VFR.

Current Weather

Departure Winslow, AZ METAR: KINW 121756Z AUTO 09008KT 10SM CLR 02/M11 A3031 RMK AO2 SLP283 T00171106 10017 21083 50003

Enroute Grants-Milan, NM METAR: KGNT 121655Z AUTO 33005KT 10SM CLR M04/M12 A3033 RMK AO2 T10411121

Destination Double Eagle II (Albuquerque) METAR: KABQ 121752Z 00000KT 10SM BKN280 02/M13 A3033 RMK AO2 SLP278 T00221133 10028 21078 50001

Alternate Gallup, NM: METAR:  KGUP 121753Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM CLR 01/M10 A3029 RMK AO2 SLP303 T00111100 10017 21144 58004

Alternate St. John's Industrial: METAR: KSJN 121754Z AUTO VRB04KT 10SM CLR 05/M13 A3027 RMK AO2 SLP254 T00501133 10050 21139 58006

 

 

Terminal Area Forecast
GUP [Gallup Muni]
TAF: KGUP 121120Z 1212/1312 VRB03KT P6SM SKC 
  FM121900 25007KT P6SM FEW250 
  FM130200 VRB03KT P6SM SCT250

TAF: KABQ 121120Z 1212/1312 VRB03KT P6SM SKC 
  FM130200 15006KT P6SM SCT250

18Z TAF CYCLE Discussion
    While lowering ceilings are expected tonight into Wednesday morning
    across northwest NM, conditions will remain VFR. Some wind gusts are
    likely this afternoon for KLVS/TCC, but will subside after sunset. A
    windier pattern is expected for tomorrow and started to hint at this
    potential at the end of the TAF cycle across eastern NM. 

7izyiDq.jpg

5g308aD.jpg

 

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Leg 2B- Flight 12 February 2019     Winslow, AZ (KINW) to Double Eagle II (KAEG)

The flight was uneventful.  Beautiful weather.  I was a bit concerned about how the aircraft would handle the 10,000 foot altitude crossing of Lookout Mountain, but it performed well. Take off was at 1850Z.  Landed at KNXI for gas at 2022Z, and was airborne again at 2244Z, and landed at KAEG at 2255Z.  Here are some screenshots:

Image 1 Approaching Joseph City 1910Z

KcgOPoD.jpg

Image 2 Petrified Forest National Park 1943Z

hqhN49L.jpg

Image 3 Grants-Milan NM at 2139Z.  Looks like there was a grass fire to the south of town recently

votrSZe.jpg

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Image 4 Crossing Lookout Mountain

JsBboNq.jpg

Image 5 Mt. Taylor 2151Z

9SpBCEQ.jpg

Image 6 Leaving the San Maeto Mountains near Bibo, NM 2204Z

6o1auDa.jpg

 

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No flying today.  Real life interfered with my virtual life.  However, I thought some real photos of the Petrified Forest National Park may be of interest, as it was on yesterday's flight.  These are all National Park Service photos from their website https://www.nps.gov/pefo/learn/photosmultimedia/photogallery.htm

M6IfcJJ.jpg

OBOPsj6.jpg

NidHyAF.jpg

Edited by CV60

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Wow what amazing colours!  I thought the large boulder on top of the peak in the first photo looked surreal! 

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4 hours ago, J G said:

Wow what amazing colours!  I thought the large boulder on top of the peak in the first photo looked surreal! 

The western part of the US is really beautiful country, with some really interesting and unusual scenery.  I'm trying to highlight some of this beauty  during this transcontinental Cub flight.  

Edited by CV60

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