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Two Week Flying Vacation - Day 16

Date: August 5th, 2012

I woke around 6 AM, checked the weather and at 6:30 AM Kevin drove me back to the airport.  I packed up, preflighted, and headed pretty much due west at 8500 ft. over I-40 for the last leg of the 2-week journey.  There were scattered rain showers from Tucumcari to Albuquerque and then again about 20 miles either side of Flagstaff, but no convective activity was forecast and the ceiling was generally 4K ft. or better, so I wasn't very concerned.  I found the first rain near Santa Rosa, NM and skirted it to the south, about 10 miles south of I-40 over some windmills.  There were a few more very light showers near Clines Corner (where the barometric pressure was 30.46 in Hg - holy crap) but nothing bothersome.  As I got near Albuquerque I climbed to 10.5K ft. to get over the ridge and then stayed there, as the ground in western NM and AZ is pretty high.  The sky was reasonably clear from KABQ through Grants, Gallup, Holbrook and Winslow, but it was dark ahead near Flagstaff.

ATC was getting diversion calls all over the place near Flagstaff for weather, but they were also stating that the showers, even when they were heavy, were pretty localized and there were ways around or through them.  I was able to see Humphreys Peak to the north of Flagstaff and the hills and mountains to the west through some heavy rain showers, so I knew I could pick my way through them without getting too soaked.  I continued west, first heading a bit north, then south toward KFLG around a heavy cell to the south and another one just south of the peak.

Although there was no convective activity anywhere, just past KFLG as I turned northwest my GPS went blank and the Dynon AP pitch server disconnected.  Nothing else electric turned off or reset - I can only guess that I got a static discharge from flying through the precipitation that was light to moderate even through the interstices between the heavy cells, and that killed the GPS and reset the Dynon AP.  I reset the AP for altitude and it worked fine, but when I turned the GPS (Garmin 195 bought used in 1998) back on it insisted that I was 6753 miles from my next waypoint, which was Kingman, AZ.  I don't think so...  Also, I couldn't input anything to it - it wouldn't recognize anything in it's database.  I scratched my head and turned it back off and back on.  Worked fine - knew where I was, had its database back, and drove the Navaid autopilot just fine.  Go figure.

Anyway, the rest of the trip past Kingman, Laughlin, Barstow and Edwards AFB was uneventful except for the entertainment value of having LA Center tell me that R-2515 over Edwards was cold and I could fly through it and then Joshua Approach (which actually controls R-2515) said nuh-uh and had to call LA Center to tell them to stop telling folks it was cold.  I landed at KTSP after 4.6 hours in the air at about 11 AM.

31.5 hours in the air, coast to coast twice, lots of sightseeing and relaxation and a little bit of flying challenge. Gotta love it.

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