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Sedona Fly-In: Flying Tours
Leg 1: After taking off from Sedona and flying SW over the Verde Valley to Jerome, you will see the Secret Mountain Wilderness on your right and Oak Creek on your left as it flows toward its confluence with the Verde River. You will cross the Verde River at Tuzigoot National Monument, an ancient hilltop pueblo site, and then make your turn to the NW at the historic mining town of Jerome, once the largest town in Arizona.
Leg 2: As you fly NW, and cross the Verde River again, look to your right to see the mouth of beautiful Sycamore Canyon where Sycamore Creek joins the Verde. This wilderness area is sometimes called “The Little Grand Canyon." As you continue to the NW, the terrain climbs rapidly along the northwest edge of the Mogollon Rim, the geologic uplift that traverses much of Northern Arizona. Bill Williams Peak will be on your left before you make your next turn at the Williams Airport.
Leg 3: As you fly NE now, you will see the very prominent San Francisco Peaks on your right and views up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon to your left. (You may want to extend this leg to the North a few more miles to see the Grand Canyon from the air. Please be aware of the special use airspace over the Canyon) The San Francisco Peaks are a volcanic mountain range just north of Flagstaff and a remnant of the former San Francisco Mountain, which once stood over 19,000 feet. The highest summit in the range, Humphreys Peak, is the highest point in the state of Arizona at 12,633 feet. The San Francisco Peaks are the remains of an eroded stratovolcano and an aquifer within the caldera supplies much of Flagstaff's water. Snowbowl Ski Area stands out on the western flank.
Leg 3: As you turn to the SE, you will see numerous craters and lava flows in the surrounding volcanic field. You will fly over the largest one, called Sunset Crater, which erupted around 1085 AD and is the source of the Bonito and Kana-a lava flows that extend several miles to the NW and NE, respectively. Also, look for Roden Crater, where artist James Turrell has been transforming its inner cone into a massive naked-eye observatory.
Leg 4: As you continue SE, you will have great views of the Painted Desert on your left. This land – named by Spanish explorers during a 1540 expedition searching for the Seven Cities of Cibola - is all now part of the Navajo Nation and includes many remote villages along with beautiful buttes and formations. Soon you will see Meteor Crater, which was created about 50,000 years ago when a large meteor impacted the site. The crater, about 650 feet deep and 3900 feet in diameter, was once used by the Apollo astronauts for their training to move around on the moon’s surface.
Leg 5: You will make your turn over Meteor Crater for the last leg of the flight and head back to Sedona. Within a few minutes you will see the transition from the barren landscape to the forest covering of the Mogollon Rim. On your way to the rim itself, you will fly over Mormon Lake, a seasonal lake that – when full – becomes the largest natural lake in Northern Arizona. As you descend over the rim to land at Sedona, look to your right to see beautiful Oak Creek Canyon.
Friday, Oct. 14, 0830 Departure
The Monuments are definitely a must-see when you are here! The route includes a landing and likely lunch layover at Winslow, AZ, KINW, either in town or at the airport.
In Winslow, the La Posada Hotel and on site restaurant, The Turquoise Room, is spectacular. Plan on a few hours to see everything. There’s a shuttle from airport to hotel, about $6. Call 928-289-2570 in advance to book. You can also see the famous “standing on the corner” by The Eagles, just a short several block walk.
LightHawk VP Tom LeCompte is organizing this flight, and he plans for an early departure, by 0900, from Sedona, with a mid-to-late afternoon return. His contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org and phone is 413-320-1225. Check in with Tom if you’re interested to get the latest updates.
Tom’s plan "is to simply fly from KSEZ north to Grand Canyon then over to UT25, tour the rock formations, then head south to Winslow (KINW), about 300 miles. The route might need to be altered due to the Sunny MOA. At KINW, there's supposedly a good onfield restaurant where we can do lunch, then fly back to Sedona and do a couple of spins around the meteor crater just outside KINW. Bear in mind I am completely unfamiliar with the area, so if there's a local pilot willing to take lead that would be great.”