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Lessons Learned: High Desert Flying In A Cessna 150

When flying in hot and high conditions, extra engine power is your friend. But what if your plane doesn’t have any?

High Desert Flying. Illustration by Gabriel Campanario
High Desert Flying. Illustration by Gabriel Campanario

My 7-year-old son’s last day of school rolled around, coinciding with the week of Memorial Day. I decided to take that week off of work to go on an aerial adventure. I thought it would be a great idea to fly down to Arizona and check out the Grand Canyon from the air.

I was a little apprehensive, though, as I was a flatlander flying out of our local airport in Indiana. The furthest away I had flown from our home airport, Monroe County in Bloomington, Indiana (KBMG), was Alabama, or was it Iowa? (And there were several fun jaunts to the islands in Lake Erie in Ohio.) None of those destinations were terribly challenging, although the short runway at Put-in-Bay, with tall trees on either end, had a bit of a pucker factor to it. Still, the worst density altitude I had experienced was my home airport on a hot summer day, and I was still able to climb above 10k feet that day.

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