Monday, May 26, 2014

Flapjacks, Fly-Ins, 'n' Finger Lakes

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
25 May 2014 N21481 SDC (Sodus, NY) - 01G (Perry, NY) - SDC 1.5 1278.5

After an onslaught of unfettered ice, snow, and cold, a return to "pancake breakfast season" and verdant landscapes is almost jarring, but happily embraced. And, of course, everyone knows by now that The Bear loves pancakes.

We did not originally plan to attend the fly-in pancake breakfast at the Perry-Warsaw Airport, located a few miles south of Le Roy. But when I received a text from my friend Amanda noting that she and Darrell were planning to go, it seemed a good opportunity to spend time with my favorite flying family from Le Roy.

A direct flight from Sodus to Perry would take us directly over the Geneseo Airport which was NOTAMed for rocket launch activity. Instead, The Bear and I flew direct to Canandaigua Airport, visually acquired Honeoye Lake (one of the lesser Finger Lakes) and flew due west from it to Perry. This route took us south of the warning area and minimized the risk of being shot down by amateur rocket enthusiasts.

At 3000 feet, high hills surrounding Honeoye Lake passed five to six hundred feet beneath our wings. An increasing westerly wind sent jolts skyward as we cleared each hill.

Canadice Lake, which I had never actually heard of until I looked up its name on the map.

In time, The Bear and I cleared the Finger Lakes and emerged over the rolling plains to the west through which the Genesee River carved the gorge of Letchworth State Park.

From this image, it would appear that the purpose of the Mount Morris Dam is to convert clear water to muddy. Though the dam looks like overkill here, I have seen the water level reach close to the top of the dam in times past.

Typical of springtime, the Genesee River actually spanned the entire width of the gorge.

Nearing our destination, we overflew this farm with its distinctive contour farming. Located south of the Le Roy Airport, this was a favorite and distinctive landmark for me once.

I turned southwest over Silver Lake to make an appropriate pattern entry. Silver Lake is another excellent local landmark that can be spotted readily from miles away despite its diminutive size.

Drive-in movie theaters are rare in the 21st century, but this one survives. When I was a kid, going to the drive-in was the norm. When my family and I went to see Star Wars, I knew that it was going to be a special experience because, prior to that, Bambi was the only movie I had ever seen in an indoor theater (and that was way more traumatic).

On final, we could see that the field was not terribly crowded. Darrell had landed while we were still over the Finger Lakes.

The Civil Air Patrol directed us to parking once I spotted the marshal. Breakfast visitors greeted us when we emerged from Warrior 481, clearly charmed by the arrival of our young aviatrix. Darrell, Amanda, and their boys were hungrily waiting for us at the Warrior's tail.

While I waited for eggs over easy, The Bear sat with Darrell and Amanda. When I joined them, The Bear excitedly informed me that she had poured her own syrup. Yikes!  Indeed she had. She ate well, though: one sausage, three pancakes, one cup of milk, and one cup of orange juice. Flyin' makes a bear hungry!

When breakfast was over, we wandered out of the hangar to look at the airplanes. Darrell and I were drawn almost immediately to this Piper Cub.

It was spotlessly immaculate.

I think The Bear was ready for a Cub ride! I know I am.

The Bear also saw her first set of Bushwheels and was clearly very impressed by them.

A highlight on the ramp was this beautiful WACO biplane.

I can scarcely imagine how much elbow grease needs to go into maintaining this powerplant in such shiny condition.

Not to be outdone, this RV-6A built by Le Roy pilot Larry drew quite a crowd upon its arrival.

The Bear and the boys walked together to the terminal building for a pre-departure restroom break.

We said farewell to Perry-Warsaw and our friends.

I settled my copilot at the controls and prepared to depart. With the Warrior's engine running, I waited to taxi until a woman standing in the middle of the taxiway videoing the event moved out of the way (I might have suspected that a spinning prop and a set of strobes pulsing would be enough to deter anyone from standing in the middle of the taxiway, but I obviously overestimated people's aviation savvy).

For the return flight, I sought calmer air at 5500 feet.

We crossed over Conesus Lake, set a course for the Williamson-Sodus Airport, and flew home with hands off the controls in calm air.

To the southeast of Rochester, we passed over Eastview Mall or "The Shmancy Mall", as Kristy calls it.

Almost home; it was good to see farmers returning to the business of growing things again.

The Bear waited for a "ride" in the airplane that would come when I pushed it back into the hangar.

Once back in the hangar, however, she went immediately to her job of helping to wash bugs off the wings.

As I finished my post-flight work, I noticed what appeared to be an "airport bum" in my hangar.

Yup. Definitely an airport bum. I wonder if she engages in hangar flying with her friends?

Caution: six year old at the wheel! Summer departures from the airport (by car) often make use of this private airport drive through the woods. It is the one place where I'll allow The Bear to drive the car because there's absolutely nothing to hit. Though we got the speed up to 15 MPH, The Bear informed me later that she was really hoping for 20.

20 MPH? This little girl really wanted to live life on the edge!

That, or perhaps she was still juiced up on pancake syrup.


  1. Requisite friendly reminder about always-available Cub rides in Ohio! :)

    1. Somehow, I just knew you'd feel compelled to comment...