Chandler (AZ) to Springdale (AR)


25/07/2008


I had great plans to get up early and get some serious mileage done but felt tired from the heat and didn’t takeoff from Chandler Airport until after 9 am. The staff at Chandler Aviation gave me a couple of bottles of water to see me through the flight. The heat in Arizona at this time of the year is almost unbearable and it felt just as bad as Singapore, sitting in the aircraft going through the checklist. Once the engine was started it wasn’t so bad but it wasn’t until I was airborne that I began to get a decent flow of air through the ventilation system.

The destination was Springdale, Arkansas. I had simply looked at the maps last night and looked for a point that was roughly half-way to the New York area. I knew nothing about Springdale except that it was about 80 nautical miles east of Tulsa and I wanted to get at least that far.

I had filed the flight plan before I left the hotel and, on departure from Chandler, was handed over to Phoenix first of all and then to Albuquerque Center, who handled me for much of the way. The initial part of the flight was at 13,000 feet because of the high mountains in that area, so I was on oxygen at the start, but had decided that I would go lower later on in the flight in order to be more comfortable.

During the flight I flew over parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The radio work was quite a change from the Pacific crossing, where I made position reports on the hour every hour, but here it was calls every few minutes and there were more than twenty frequency changes as the flight progressed. Not much time, then, for reflection or relaxation, but there was a quieter moment while talking to the Albuquerque controllers and one of them, a lady, asked me about the plane with its British registration and how it had come to be in the USA. (She had worked, she told me, for a few years at Upper Heyford in England, a large American base at one time). I explained briefly about my journey, and then someone else broke in on the radio asking for my destination and that led to another aircraft pilot saying that his family were Camerons originally from Edinburgh, and we had a few moments of friendly chat before reverting to more serious issues. All very friendly.

Went over, or close to, cities like Albuquerque, Amarillo, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, etc, with scenery varying from the high deserts and mountains of Arizona and New Mexico, to the relatively flat lands of northern Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

At Springdale, was refuelled by Zac, who asked me about my trip (the unusual G-registration on Romeo Tango is a good conversation-starter here in the USA) and he was interested in the countries I had passed through. He had only been outside the USA once, to Belize, and that had made him much more aware of other people’s culture and difficulties like poverty, etc. He gave me a ride to a comfortable hotel and wished me well for tomorrow.

Flight Data: 931 nautical miles in 6 hours and 25 minutes.