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By Skyhawk back from the Pacific - Day 8 - Concord to Mack Mesa, CO

July 23, 2017 11:38 PM | Michael Brown (Administrator)

Day 8 of my trip, and I'm headed eastward.

I took off from KCCR (Concord, California) before 8:00AM in order to cross the Sierra Nevada Mountains before the winds picked up.

Concord is a sea level, but within 100 miles we had to be at 11,500 feet altitude to cross the Sierra Nevada mountains. It took a while, and I had to pause a few times to let the engine cool from the hard climb, but we made it in plenty of time to enter the mountain passes.

The land is still rough and hilly on the eastern side of the Sierras, and I had a very nice tailwind at 11,500, so we stayed high above the lower hills.

As we approached our fuel stop at Tonopah, Nevada, there was an incredibly bright glare to the north. It's a solar plant, with hundreds of mirrors focusing the sun onto a central pillar.

Just under three hours later, I landed at KTPH - Tonopah, Nevada - for fuel. The light area is KTPH - or, rather, the huge concrete ramp where World War Two heavy bombers once parked.

493 at Tonopah

Clouds started to build up while I was at Tonopah, and I was dodging rain showers for the next 250 miles or so.

Typically for desert rains, the showers were widely scattered, if heavy, so I was able to see and fly around the worst of the rain, but the storms made the last four hours of flying into a roller-coaster ride of updrafts and downdrafts.

Once we reached eastern Utah, the skies cleared and the land became eroded desert. This area is just north of Canyonlands National Park, and the canyons are very much the same as in the park.

Interstate 70 crosses a canyon just west of Green River, Utah

Further east, you start to see green patches where the Colorado River irrigates the land - Fruita, Colorado, straight ahead!

I gave Jerry a call on my ham radio when I was twenty eight miles out from Mack Mesa, and he was already at the airport waiting.

Seven hours of flying, and we've reached our destination! Final approach to runway 7, 10CO (Mack Mesa). The runway starts at the top of a steep cliff, which makes the approach interesting - don't land short, whatever you do. Of course, taking off on Runway 25, as soon as you reach the departure end of the runway you're 500 feet up.

N46493 is in a hangar at 10CO, where it will spend the next week or so being upgraded with electronic ignition and a PowerFlow exhaust. When we fly over the Rockies to Longmont in a week, we'll see how much of an improvement the changes made. Watch this space after July 30th...

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