Beating the AZ Heat
By Connor Barrett & Amon Haghighat @AZPILOTLIFE
Flying in the heat of the Arizona desert can be physically strenuous on any pilot. Our recent cross-country flight had to be to a place that was going to beat the heat. After searching through our VFR sectionals and researching different airports in the valley, we decided to take the Lake Havasu City (KHII) adventure. Lake Havasu City is famous for its college spring break parties and semi-temperate year-round weather. With the draw of the cool lake water and slightly cooler temperature than Phoenix, we knew it was the best choice. An early start was essential to explore and enjoy what this city has to offer. We left Scottsdale Airport (KSDL), our home airport, at 6:30 a.m. We had a flight time of just over 1.5 hours planned. Our goal was to touchdown around 8:00 a.m. to get breakfast and be able to head to the lake before it got too hot.
We flight planned for a left base entry for runway 32. This allowed us to absorb the gorgeous mountain views that surround Lake Havasu. With the winds cooperating we flew 1,500 feet above the lake and started our descent checklists and prepared for landing on runway 32. Anticipation and curiosity was high since this was our first experience landing at KHII and visiting Havasu City. Flaps set, landing power set, and glide slope captured, we greased the landing into KHII.
Unsure of what to expect in this new place, as we taxied, we talked about taking an Uber or taxi to the lakefront. We proceeded to park at the Desert Skies Executive Air Terminal. While taking care of the fuel bill and making friends with the ramp staff, we were offered a free loaner car for the day. We graciously accepted the car. To prepare for a relaxing day, we filled our cups at the slushy machine next to the popcorn maker inside the terminal, grabbed our swimsuits and lunch bags, and drove to the lakefront.
Our plans changed when our excitement increased to be at the lake. Instead of spending time having a sit-down breakfast, we decided to grab oatmeal and orange juice. Upon reaching the public parking areas along the river, we found a local shop called Beach Shack Rental that rents paddle boards and boats. After negotiating prices, on a college aviation budget, we rented two paddle boards and headed for the water.
Paddling up the “canal” toward the original London Bridge was both fun and relaxing. It was hard to believe that we had been doing it for two hours. The exercise opened up our appetite and we ate our lunches, sitting lakeside while taking in the sun. It became clear to us that what started as an unknown, on a hot Scottsdale day, had turned into a memorable mini-vacation at Lake Havasu. It will be hard to beat a day that began with a beautiful sunrise departing Scottsdale Airport, semi-temperate weather, gorgeous views, and sitting lakefront. KHII and Lake Havasu City is on AZPilotLife’s list as one of the most recommended spots in Arizona for a quick day trip to beat the heat! Instagram: @AZPILOTLIFE