Saturday, August 9, 2008

Low and Slow

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
09 Aug 2008 N21481 5G0 (LeRoy, NY) - FZY (Fulton, NY) - 5G0 2.1 643.8

From the highway on-ramp near my house, I can look through a cut in the landscape to see the skyline of Rochester several miles distant.  Every time I drive to the airport, I look toward those faraway buildings as a check for haze.  The crisp outlines of the city that greeted me on August 9 were more typical of a winter day than August.  With such amazing clarity, I decided that it would be a good day to get some photographs.

The Le Roy airport was unusually busy that morning: two other aircraft departed the stubby runway before I did.  I decided that I would make an aerial beeline from Le Roy to my house.  From there, I would follow the Lake Ontario shoreline until reaching the Oswego County airport in Fulton, then return.  Throughout the round trip, I ran the Warrior at 55 - 65% power settings and climbed no higher than 2500'.  It was just a low and slow kind of morning.

Shortly after launching from Le Roy, I crossed over these high tension wire towers marching in pairs off into the perspective.  With their faces raised toward the morning sun, they shone against the green landscape.

Nice days for VFR flying are also usually nice days for sailing, as evidenced by the flotilla of watercraft in the middle of Irondequoit Bay.

Not long after crossing the bay, I was over my neighborhood - a sliver of new development hidden within an older section of town.  From above, the street has an interesting shape; a hybrid of a music note and an integral sign. 

Home.  The first time I took aerial photos of the house was January 2006.  I had just moved in and my yard was composed of sand so fine that it actually blew under the seal of my front door during a storm.  The second time was later that year while the lawn was still tenuously clinging to life a few months after it was established.  Two years later, everything is quite lush (perhaps too lush, I had to mow that evening).

This is an example of where I wished I had a camera with a decent zoom.  When Ray first saw my camera, his comment was "you've taken all those photos with that?"  He added that he expected something with a huge zoom lens on it.

"No," countered Mark (N3433P).  "Dave was just really that close."

Looking west across Irondequoit Bay where the Bay Bridge carries NY-104 over the water.  The interchange is Bay Road in Webster.

This is Fort Ontario, located on the east side of the Oswego River where it joins Lake Ontario.  The original fort was constructed at this site in 1755 by the British.  It was destroyed a year later by the French.  The second fortification at this site was destroyed by American "rebels" in 1778.  The third incarnation of the fort was destroyed by the British during the War of 1812.  In 1844, the United States completed the pictured fort out of fears from attack by British-held Canada.  It is located a few miles along the extended centerline from Runway 33 at the Oswego County airport.  Yes, the history of Fort Ontario reads something like a Monty Python routine  (" I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp").

After leaving the Oswego County airport, I climbed to 2500' and turned west.  I stayed in the smooth air over Lake Ontario within gliding distance of shore.  The air remained stunningly clear and the quality of light caused the shallow Lake Ontario waters near shore to assume a turquoise tint. Photographed here is Little Sodus Bay near the town of Fair Haven, NY.

This is East Bay, just east of Sodus Bay.  To call this a bay is something of a stretch as there is no apparent channel into Lake Ontario.

When I moved to New York, I missed the sight of the sandy beach that wound along the Lake Michigan shoreline.  The Lake Ontario waterfront has a very different character.  Rather than a soft joining of land and water, the terrain actually appears tattered, as though the very Earth were violently ripped away to form the lake.

A closer view of the shoreline reveals ordered fields producing a variety of fruit.  When Kristy and I were packing our house in Michigan for the move to Rochester, one of the movers opined "I hate New York, what are you moving there for?".  When we responded that it was a lot like southwest Michigan, the mover looked highly dubious.  Many midwesterners seem to believe that there is nothing more to New York than the eponymous city.  So I dedicate this agrarian vista along Lake Ontario to them (for the record, NYC is 300+ miles away).

The day's journey ended where it began, with Irondequoit Bay.  From there, a direct flight back to Le Roy would have taken me directly over downtown Rochester and Greater Rochester International Airport (visible in the photo as a large clearing in the upper right corner).  I was just outside of Class Charlie airspace on flight following when the approach controller asked how much longer I planned to fly along the shoreline before turning toward Le Roy.  For the moment, air traffic in the area was minimal and I was chattier than usual in my response.  "Oh, I think I'll continue west past the approach path for runway 22, then turn toward Le Roy."

"Sounds good to me," came the reply.  Even the controller, trapped in a dark room somewhere on the field at Rochester, was in tune with the mellow vibe suffusing the air that day.  Some days are just meant for low and slow.


  1. Can the images of Irondequoit Bay be shared if I add your name?

    1. With appropriate photo credit and/or a link back to this site, sure. Thanks for asking.