Saturday, November 30, 2019

Silent Night

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
30 Nov 2019 N21481 SDC (Sodus, NY) - IUA (Canandaigua, NY) - 5G0 (Le Roy, NY) - GVQ (Batavia, NY) - SDC 1.8 2067.0

In between weather systems, I ventured out well after sunset to refresh my night currency. Unicom was entirely silent except for my broadcasts and even Rochester approach only handled three aircraft during the time I transited their airspace. With the crescent moon covered by high clouds, it was a dark night and the city shone like a beacon.

Downtown Rochester, NY

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Flying Bear and Her Mile High Reading Room

Date Aircraft Route of Flight Time (hrs) Total (hrs)
16 Nov 2019 N21481 SDC (Sodus, NY) - N30 (Honesdale, PA) - SDC 2.9 2064.0

Following an early, abrupt transition from fall to winter, four aircraft departed the Williamson Sodus Airport bound for Cherry Ridge Airport in northeast Pennsylvania. A broken wire in my Reiff engine pre-heater meant that Warrior 481's engine was cold, but not too cold to start.

It was the first time that The Bear and I flew somewhere together in months. Our heading positioned the morning sun to pour directly through the windscreen with such powerful intensity that The Bear found additional purpose for her book.

Before many of the trees lost their leaves, central New York received a thick, early blanket of snow. As always, I was struck by the novelty of the transformation. Sadly, that novelty wears off promptly each season.

We hurtled through the sky a mile above the surface, The Bear engrossed in a novel.

Owasco Lake, one of the smaller Finger Lakes

Landfills with their north sides dusted by residual snow

We arrived at Cherry Ridge Airport in a line of four aircraft that was disrupted by a timid sounding Comanche pilot who cut in front of Tom in the pattern. I always worry about the parking area at Cherry Ridge filling up with airplanes on nice flying days, but to our surprise, we had the ramp to ourselves. The Bear and I landed first in the Warrior.

While waiting for the others to arrive, we paused for a photo before hurrying inside to claim our reservation. We were later than I told the restaurant we would be, delayed by the Warrior's pre-heater failure and the need to chop ice away from two hangar doors (I cleared both mine and Paula's that morning).

As we waited for the others, The Bear whiled the time away with a nice, big hot chocolate. She managed to transfer most of it to her belly, but some evidence of the warm beverage also remained on her face.

Brad and Mike landed next in Brad's Cirrus.

Tom, Alicia, Brad, and Mike

Tom, Alicia, Mike, The Bear, me, Brad, and a friend of Alicia's on his first flying adventure. Photo by Eric.

Eric, Brian, and Paula at the "VIP table". I wanted to call it the "kiddie table", but was overruled.

Still recovering from knee surgery, Paula let Eric fly her Cherokee 180 that morning on a much needed extended flight out of the area. They were accompanied by Brian, a new Williamson Flying Club member who joined just two days before and was already participating in club activities.

As we waited for our breakfast, The Bear entertained herself (and everyone else at our table) by making funny faces while trying to avoid me photographing them.

Win some, lose some.

Next, she resorted to poking at my camera with a straw. I was undeterred in capturing the moment.

After an excellent breakfast, we prepared to depart Cherry Ridge for home.

In the absence of a tripod, the wing of Warrior 481 worked well.

My personal cowl plug porter handily performed her duties.

Before firing up, we captured the obligatory cockpit selfie.

Because The Bear was involved, we also captured the requisite goofy selfie, though "creepy" might be a better characterization.

Our four aircraft launched from Cherry Ridge and contacted Wilkes-Barre for flight following back home.

This interchange of NY-17 and I-81 east of Binghamton finally appears to be complete after years of construction. I find its near symmetry to be quite eye catching. I go through this interchange every time I drive to New Jersey for work.

We concluded the round trip flight as we began it, with The Bear engrossed in a book. She finished it before we returned home, characteristically burning through it the way I do avgas.

Back at Sodus, airplanes congregated around the fuel pump like creatures of the African veldt around a watering hole. After another successful voyage through the sky, the aircraft were thirsty.