For the past two years my oldest son has been gone serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For those that don’t know anything about our missionaries, when they are gone the only communication with home is through mail/email once a week and phone/video calls on Christmas and Mother’s Day. It is truly amazing how fast it went by, but the one reminder that he had been gone a long time was that he had never even seen our Mooney, we bought it about a month after he left. When I would think of all the trips we had made in it I realized he had been gone a long time.
On November 6th we had a joyous reunion at John Wayne Airport when he returned home. Four days later we headed out to the hangar for him to see the plane and fly to Arizona to see more family that he hadn’t seen in two years.
It was a gorgeous day for flying with a nice tailwind most of the way there and I passed my 300th hour of flight. He settled in quickly to the preferred method of flying…
Later in the flight everyone woke up for a real picture.
We would be flying into Phoenix-Mesa Gateway, KIWA, (the old Williams Air Force Base) but I had planned my normal route around the south end of the Estrella Mountains. That route sets me up for a nice approach and keeps me out of the Phoenix Bravo space, plus the air is smoother going around the end of them instead of over them and it only adds a couple minutes to the trip. As we neared the mountains I called up ATC and said I would be starting a VFR descent. I have done this many times and I always receive a “VFR descent approved” or something along that line. This time we were cleared into the Bravo, given a heading to fly and an altitude restriction. ATC let us know he was giving us vectors for KIWA. He continued to step down our descent and then vectored us around the south end of Chandler’s airspace, and then handed us off to Mesa Gateway’s Tower.
The winds were out of the south-east and the tower had us fly a right downwind for 12R and then cleared us to land. We exited the runway at Hotel and were given taxi instructions to the FBO. A line-guy from the FBO pulled out in a cart and led us to our parking spot where looking straight out the windscreen was a line of Harrier Jets, very cool.