Monday, January 19, 2009

On a Short Leash

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
19 Jan 2009 N21481 5G0 (Le Roy, NY) - SDC (Williamson-Sodus, NY) - 5G0 1.6 683.7

In the winter, Rochester is continuously threatened by forecasts of snow made unpredictable by the whimsy of two nearby great lakes.  Today was no different, though the brilliant blue sky belied the 60% chance of snow in the forecast.  I decided that some flying was appropriate as long as I stayed on a short leashIt's no wonder that this is the time of year when aeronautical wanderlust sets in and I just want to go SOMEWHERE.

I departed Le Roy and flew northeast at 3000' through Rochester's Class Charlie airspace and past downtown Rochester itself.  The city presented an opportunity to fiddle with the high optical zoom on my new camera.  This is a close up on the three tallest structures in downtown Rochester: the bell-bottomed Chase tower, the classy Bausch & Lomb building, and the Xerox tower.

Northeast of downtown is Bausch & Lomb's manufacturing and R&D complex known as the Optic Center (or, to locals, "The Bausch").    

I ventured as far east as Sodus Bay and circled Chimney Bluffs once.  Icy pseudopods from the frozen shore stretched jagged little fingers into the waters of Lake Ontario.  Not far from shore, some unpleasant looking clag hung low over the lead gray water, serving as a reminder not to stray too far from home base.  It was at this point that I turned around and started back home.

Another angle on seasonally whitewashed Chimney Bluffs.  Is it just me, or does the large, ridged depression at frame left look as though it were made by the forehead of one of those Next Generation Klingons?

Sodus Bay was partially frozen, the channel blocked by broken ice floes.  As I flew over the shoreline, I reflected on the recent ditching of US Airways flight 1549 in the Hudson River and how cold that water must have been.   Note that I did not say "crash".  "Crash" connotes something out of control (i.e., the drunk driver crashed his car into a telephone pole).  This was a case of a disciplined pilot who maintained control of a crippled aircraft and deliberately put it down in the safest place possible.  Cory Lidle crashed his Cirrus into a building near the East River.  Chelsey Sullenberger, on the other hand, performed a near perfect emergency landing.  It irks me that the media continues to use the word "crash".  It's dishonest.

Back through Rochester's airspace toward Le Roy, the approach controller wryly noted that "Le Roy is kind of popular today."  In addition to me being inbound, he had a Cessna practicing a VOR approach and an unknown VFR target maneuvering to join the pattern.

Somehow, I was able to handle all the excitement.

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