Several pilots based at Ernest A. Love Field in Prescott, Arizona, offer tips on flying into the airport for the AOPA Fly-In Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.
Love Field is located 7 miles north of Prescott, at an elevation of 5,044 feet. Runway 3R/21L is 7,619 by 150 feet and Runway 3L/21R is 4,846 by 60 feet; the crosswind runway, 12/30, is 4,408 by 75 feet, although it will be closed for aircraft parking during the AOPA event.
In the summer, Prescott becomes a hot-and-high environment. “That demands even more of engine power,” Kidrick said.
“I’ve seen density altitude of more than 8,000 feet here” in the summer, said Jay Kerger, founder and manager of the Arizona Air-Craftsman maintenance shop—which now is a division of FBO Legend Aviation. “Beware of how much fuel you take on. If you’re in doubt, take off early in the day when it’s cooler.”
Use your GPS, recommends Currie Lee, director of the Prescott Airport Users Association. “The Prescott airport is very difficult to find on your first time. It took me a year to learn how to find it. It’s in the middle of nowhere and blends in.” And the surface of Runway 3L/21R is a brown hue that can appear close to the surrounding desert. Like Kidrick, Lee encourages VFR pilots to request traffic advisories from Albuquerque Center and Phoenix Approach. “That’s the easiest way to get in here.”
The airport sees a lot of helicopter operations, Lee added, but they shouldn’t be a problem. “They’ll always be below you. Most people won’t see the helicopters.”
“Drake VOR is not on the field,” noted Prescott Airport Users Association President Ted Wickstrom. “Even over Drake at 6,100 feet, finding the airport is a challenge.” He uses the hangars to identify the airport. “The hangars are pretty visible.”
What do these aviators suggest that their fellow pilots do after touchdown?
“The town is a great place to visit. Whiskey Row has been around since the late 1800s. There’s a rich Arizona cowboy tradition here,” Kidrick said. “And the town loves aviation,” he added, noting that there are many retired military and airline people in the area.
“Everybody enjoys the stroll around the city square,” Wickstrom added. “There’s the cantinas, there’s the bars, there’s the art deco.” He suggests a self-guided driving tour for visitors. “There is a lot to see in driving around the city. And this is a great place to walk. There are trails all over. There are walking trails within walking distance of the airport.”