I had got my night currency up to date a couple of weeks ago at Deer Valley airport KDVT in Phoenix, AZ on a Saturday night. I started around 8pm on a moonless night and no one was flying except for me. The tower let me back taxi on the runway and take off again, a first for me at KDVT . After reading about Paul and Louise's cross country flight and night landing at Big Bear airport in CA, I decided I could probably handle a night flight in the local area. The Phoenix metroplex sprawls across about 60 miles of desert and mountains (at least they are mountains to us) so even a flight in the city cause lead to a CFIT if you arent careful.
We decide to fly across the valley to Falcon Field airport in Mesa, AZ. There is a first class Italian restaurant right on the field you can taxi up to and park at.
The moon was a couple of days past a full moon in its waning gibbonous phase and was forecast to rise at 6:42pm. We would plan to finish at the restaurant so we could fly back with an almost full moon low on the horizon.
RV4chick and 53L are ready to go! We departed just after the sun went down.
View enroute to the south.
A good view of Phoenix mountain reserve in the foreground with South Mountain in the distance. As we go by the small mountains, our trusty Garmin 496 pops up a terrain warning on the screen and tells us "Terrain, Terrain, Pull Up!".
Passing Camelback Mountain on the north side. The class B airspace over Camelback Mountain goes to the surface so we don't want to get too close.
12 miles north west of KFFZ Falcon Field. Dynons are reflecting off the canopy screen. Can anyone tell if I am busting the floor of the overhead class B? Time to check in with the tower.
Chuck sits in the lobby to greet visitors to the restaurant.
Our plane is parked just outside of the windows, but the flash on my camera hid it from view. This restaurant is normally packed and you need a reservation to get in on Friday night. Hope this is just an anomaly and not because of current financial woes in the states.
Rv4chick is feeling devilish this evening! The breadsticks and the bread pudding with whisky sauce are some of the best we have ever had.
Getting ready to go. One other plane flew in to have dinner at the restaurant while we were there. Normally there has been a B-25 here that we were planning on parking next to, but it was gone today.
Back at the hanger. The ride back was surprisingly bumpy. The almost full moon was incredible though and with the moon at our back heading west, it felt like RV4chick has a flashlight shining on me.
Even on zoom, my canon Powershot cant even begin to show how cool the moon was. This Saturday night date night had all of the ingredients for a memorable evening that combined flying, a full moon and a romantic candlelight dinner. We will come back again, especially Sat, March 21st 2009 when the CAF has their huge "A Night in the 40s Big Band Dance/dinner" in their hanger. We had better start our jitterbug lessons soon!