by Christopher Brown (Airline Transport Pilot, CFI, CFII, MEI)
Recently I was called out to Phoenix, AZ to begin a training session with two clients. Having been there a few times before, I felt comfortable flying the friendly skies over some of the most beautiful canyons and landscapes in the West. I arrived in the afternoon on a very clear yet hot day and met up with the clients to check out their new airplane. Immediately I realized the extreme heat and density altitude were going to play major roles in their training on the Cessna 350. I was determined to put emphasis on weight and balance as well as engine performance since the 350 is not turbocharged and both clients would be in the airplane during training.
Lake Havasu, Sedona and Beyond
Getting an early start on the day, we set off for Lake Havasu and some aircraft familiarization along the way. The day was crisp and clear, a perfect way to start becoming comfortable with the airplane. By the time we arrived to Havasu (KHII) there were boats everywhere! Forming a highway in the channel running North and South, the water traffic seemed to mirror a perfect downwind leg aiming point so we used that for reference. After many landings with both clients and a quick lunch/fuel stop we set out for Sedona (KSEZ) for some scenic views and good higher altitude practice. For anyone who’s ever been to Sedona by car, it’s a majestic place, especially at sunset with the sun washing over the red rocks. That beauty is magnified by 10 when you see it from an airplane! I would say this is the most beautiful airport I have flown into and the conditions were ideal for learning how the airplane reacts to winds and higher density altitude.