... seemed like a good day to head to the airport and get some airtime so I did. I had the engine off after three minutes and then the soaring fun began. I got a wee bit low over Sycamore Canyon and finally caught a good thermal (800 ft p/m) and regained my altitude. Decided to check the AWOS (automatic weather observation station) and the winds had done a 180 and the storms that had been sliding NW about ten miles east of Sedona were now on track to move off the plateau and come in to Sedona. The winds had also picked up and were blowing 21kts gusting to 27 knots but pretty much aligned with the runway. On the way back I was flying in continuous lift and gaining on average about 400 ft per minute. I extended the spoilers ... still climbing ... added a forward slip and still climbing more than 300 ft per minute. Finally started coming down and as it turned out the cells did not move off the plateau and I could have stayed up and out there. I turned the engine back on a few minutes before I landed and the winds were 19 kts gusting to 26 kts when I touched down. Storm blowout, but nothing more.
I took this photo whilst thermaling over Sycamore Canyon looking to the NE. You can see the cells moving around over the plateau. Casner Mountain is in the foreground. A fun day and a few good photos. Time to put a wrap on this one and off to get some sleep. Smiles !!!
Have a terrific day