San Carlos, California to Phoenix, Arizona

Trip Start Dec 23, 2012
Trip End Mar 30, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Thursday, December 27, 2012

I departed San Carlos (KSJC) on December 27 into nice weather and a good forecast along my route to Phoenix's Goodyear Airport (KGYR). In the past I’ve departed airports in complicated, busy metropolitan airspace like San Francisco with an IFR flight plan thinking it gave me an advantage by not having to figure out and comply with the altitude and airspace restrictions.  However, the departure procedures for small airports under busy Class B airspace have gotten more complex so I’m beginning to question this strategy.  IFR departure from San Carlos southbound begins with a VFR portion.  (I don’t know if there is a real IFR departure from San Carlos, say if you had 300 foot ceilings, only departure minimums are shown in the charts).  Anyway, it went like this: departing runway 30, remain on runway heading until past the diamond shaped waterway, then a right turn to 120 degrees, remain at or below 1,100 feet until past the Oakland (OAK) 165 degree radial, then climb to 2,100 feet and direct to the Woodside (OSI) VOR.  Ground control had to read it to me so I’ve written it here for future reference if I ever fly south out of KSJC again.

The weather was nice heading south over Salinas and the San Joaquin valley, but I stayed with the IFR clearance, with a routing that periodically changed as I proceeded south.  North of Los Angeles it was a bit bumpy, and my originally-filed altitude of 9,000 feet got pushed up to 11,000 feet to get over terrain (but no icy clouds this time).  After being pushed around a bit to avoid LA-bound traffic, I finally got vectored onto V64/V16 for a straight route east to Phoenix for a VFR approach and landing at KGYR.

Goodyear airport is southwest of Phoenix and a good place to go if you’re just looking for a quick stop for fuel or an overnight.  It avoids most of the busy Phoenix airspace.  It also has a great FBO - Lux Jet Center - who arranged the free shuttle to a nearby Holiday Inn (with crew rates).  When the Jet Center manager came out the greet me, he noticed the cargo fuel tank on board.  I told him I’d flown around the world in N788W last year.  He said that over the past 5 years they’ve had 3 RTW flights pass through KGYR.  I wonder who they are, and if I know them. The airport is clearly a good stop if you’re zipping across the southern part of the US.

There are a number of defunct or retired DC-10's, 747's and other large commercial aircraft parked at KGYR.  It's a small "boneyard" compared to a few others in the dry desert climate where a hundred or more old airliners are parked.  On my RTW trip, flying from Vanuatu to Pago Pago, I talked to a Quantas crew flying overhead who were ferrying a plane to a boneyard in California.  Sad to see all that technology sitting idle.
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