Ok… ok… ok….
You are coming over the mountains. If familiar with mountain flying, ignore this…
For middle of September….
Watch the winds aloft at 18,000’ over/near the mountains. If 30kts or more, expect it to be pretty bumpy. If 50 kits, don’t (without some experience/local knowledge).
RV’s do just fine in the bumps but can be uncomfortable (that big hershey bar wing with low loading).
Plan to be done flying by noon (or earlier). Between density altitude and rough air, the afternoon is not a fun time to fly. If you are landing when you shouldn’t be flying, be vigilant during take-off/landing for thermals and dust-devils - at the worst possible time. Make a go-around decision early. It is a wise choice, not a cover up for a mistake.
I can’t speak for any of California… assuming you are flying more or less direct from SAN to TCS (or TCC), the terrain from southeast of PHX to TCS will likely feel like the scariest thing you’ve ever flown over. Either imagine your happy place and enjoy the beauty OR plan to go around the south end of the mountains. That will be near Tucson to around Deming, then a bit north to TCS.
The ground is VERY high and very rough (on the more direct route). You will scraping it at 8,500. That is VERY unnerving to some people, be prepared. Most folks like to be up around 12,000’-13,000’.
TCS is 5,000’ MSL, TCC is 4,000’ MSL. Nearly guaranteed to be warm and density altitude will be a factor. At TCS, expect 6,000’ DA at sunrise, 8,000’ in the afternoon.
High density altitude operation requires leaning – all the time, even taxing - and the understanding that your airplane is going to perform at about HALF whatever is normal (closer to sea level). Expect a long takeoff roll and a slow climb. When landing, expect the ground to appear to be rushing by much faster than normal. These “unusual sights” will mess with your mind – knowing why they are occurring is half the battle.
If it helps, Alan flies I-40 from Bullhead City – ABQ – TCC. That is high ground (7,000’ MSL) but much more forgiving and they put a pretty nice parallel runway in place for you (though there are a LOT of moving obstacles). I’ve only landed on I-15 and I-25 so can’t give a pirep on I-40.
The wind across NM, Texas, and OK can be pretty nasty. Another reason to be flying early and back on the ground early (this time of year).
All of that said… a little commentary…
I don’t mean to scare you. I just happen to see a lot of flat-landers come out here every year and needlessly damage themselves and their airplanes. So, I preach a lot.
Assuming your RV is typical, it will do just fine – it has plenty of performance. Give it time, don’t rush it. I can’t see any of the sites from 12,000-13,000’ and about all I can see that it accomplishes is giving you lots of time to keep realizing that there are simply no good places to make an emergency landing. Oh, beating the heat – that is the one reason to be up there - I can’t do that anymore due to that ADS-B thing. Some will say tailwind is the other good reason. Maybe, a good wind is usually accompanied by good bumps.
Mountain waves/updrafts/downdrafts are real. You have a ton of performance in that RV, add some awareness of how/why these things form, a wee bit of common sense and you will be in good shape.
Route from TCS is a bit north to avoid White Sands, then TCC. I’ll top off fuel and we’ll fly more or less direct to WDG scooching around Vance (END). Alan’s airplane doesn’t appear to fly straight so expect a bit of meandering. J
I understand that Kevin is in charge of the FOD weather this year so I expect clear skies and tailwind both directions. ;-)
HA!!! Your killin me Phil!! J
My route is TCS -> TCC -> WDG. Stay low, try to avoid the restricted airspeed, and keep the burner lit as long as possible. Sadly, nothing interesting to fly between once you pass the Pecos.
Watch more videos: https://youtu.be/nYhqdcRz9fU
What is your route to KWDG like? Something like this?
On Aug 24, 2020, at 2:05 PM, Jon Finley <jd@...> wrote:
Alan Thayer and I will be trekking that direction on the same day. The last couple of years, Alan has overnighted at Bullhead City (IFP) and again at Tucumcari (TCC). I meet him early on Thursday morning at TCC (Iâ€™m about 1.5 hours at TCS). Your welcome to join the gaggle somewhere.
Just reserved my room in Enid for Thursday, Friday and Saturday and got vacation approved so I plan on being there afternoon Thursday Sept 17. Yipeeeee.
Phil - this time in a RV6-A
Somewhere in the Southwest flying an RV-4
Somewhere in the Southwest flying an RV-4