Day 4: Dancing with Turbulence
Mike texted a couple of hours ago and advised that he made Show Low Regional Airport in Arizona. (Yes, that's the actual name of the airport! KSOW.) He made excellent progress to that point, but encountered turbulence. Since his waypoints ahead took him into the mountainous Northern Arizona region with fewer places to land, it was prudent for Mike to land in KSOW and wait for the winds and turbulence to pass him by. You can see those hills and mountains in the Google Maps image of Show Low Regional Airport below.
We're feeling the Santa Ana winds and heat in Southern California, and this pattern extends into the Four Corner states as well. Looking at the far image below from SkyVector, you can see the green boxes (moderate turbulence) across the region. As of 12:54 PM Pacific, that area of moderate turbulence extends over much of the SouthWest and Central United States! (Light to Moderate Turbulence is a light blue box, and Moderate is green as seen in the image very far below.)
Mike confirmed our guess that he might have to take a southerly route to avoid some of the turbulence. We plotted what we thought might be Mike's route in the image below.
Mike's been flying since 8:00 AM Pacific (7:00 AM his local time) and the light chop is sure to require some additional attention and stamina. We'll see if Mike will find a window of opportunity to take flight for another leg today or not. There's an estimated 431 nautical miles remaining in the journey, and if Mike filled the Aeropilot Legend 600's 34 gallon tanks, he would have enough fuel for the flight plus a very healthy reserve of roughly 12 gallons.
***Update as of 1:31 PM Pacific***
Mike advised that he's in KSOW and checking the winds. The concern is that there are gusting winds along some of the airports en route that may be problematic for him to land at. And winds in the Banning Pass are strong, which would make crossing into the LA basin a problem as well. Mike's keeping an eye on those conditions. We'll update as soon as we hear more from Mike!