Last night I flew N917YC (a Cessna 172S Skyhawk) from John Wayne-Orange County Airport (ICAO: KSNA in Santa Ana, California to Yuma, Arizona and the Yuma International Airport (ICAO: KNYL) which is also home to United States Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. The mission of the flight was to transport the aircraft from Orange County to our its new home base at Yuma. I've decided to make Yuma my home base in simulator flying for several reasons, the primary one being it's location relative to the other airports within the PilotEdge service area. Being at one extreme edge of the service area allows me to fly long cross country flights to all of the other airports and experience a wide range of terrain and weather.
I departed John Wayne Airport at about 1030 local time under visual conditions and soon got on course to the first checkpoint, French Valley Airport (F70). The altitude planned and flown was 7500 feet MSL and later 9500 feet MSL to clear the mountains. Here is the route that I planned:
Approximately halfway to the third checkpoint the visibility went from being a hazy summer day to nearly instrument conditions. Here are some shots taken from along the way:
Approximately 40 miles from Yuma I declared to ATC that the visibility was too poor to maintain VFR flight so I opted for an IFR clearance into Yuma. This also allowed me to fly direct to Bard VOR which is a VOR facility about 10 miles north of Yuma. Since the mountains and high terrain was then behind us with lower terrain ahead we were also cleared down to 6000 feet MSL and then later 3000 feet MSL before accepting vectors for the ILS approach to runway 21R at Yuma. Here is a shot taken on the approach just before reaching the decision altitude of 393 feet. You can just make out the approach lights in the center of the shot through the haze:
It was a great cross country flight and a lot of fun. This picture below shows the actual flight path and a straight line route between John Wayne Airport and Yuma. You'll see lots of deviations and turns along the route. The small deviations were mainly for traffic and weather, while the large turn northbound was to avoid the restricted airspace around Yuma. Once cleared IFR we were cleared through the restricted area as IFR traffic may transit this airspace much easier than a VFR flight.
Overall flight time was 2 hours and 30 minutes with probably 45 minutes in actual instrument conditions, and all of it during daytime hours!