Saturday, September 3, 2016

Meeting Emry: Day 2

Plane: Cessna 172
Route: IPT-OWD
Weather - IPT: Clear, 70 degrees, wind 250 degrees at 4 knots
Weather - OWD: Clear, 72 degrees, wind 040 degrees at 7 knots

Following a good night's sleep, we awoke this morning, got cleaned up, and headed down to the hotel lobby to catch their free shuttle to the airport. Unfortunately, their shuttle driver was out sick, but they kindly offered to call a cab and pay for it. Turns out Williamsport is indeed a very small town and it ended up taking at least 30 minutes for the taxi to arrive and another 15 minutes for him to sort out the payment with the hotel.

When we walked into the FBO the line guy just laughed when he saw that we'd arrived via taxi. Apparently their promptness is well-known; he said he hates even suggesting them to arriving passengers. By now, we were nearly an hour behind our original plan.

Our goal of course was to get to Boston and our arrival would be approaching dinnertime if we hung around much longer. So instead of grabbing breakfast at the highly-recommended Cloud 9 restaurant as planned, we quickly scarfed down some snacks we'd brought along on the trip. I completed my preflight, paid the fuel bill, and added a little oil to the engine. The propeller was turning and we were cleared to taxi to Runway 27 around 10:30 am.

If you don't often fly into busy airspace, I bet you'll enjoy our rapid-fire arrival into Norwood!

As we climbed to 5,500 feet eastward on course the air was incredibly smooth. There were a few small puffy clouds here and there but for the most part everything was CAVU. Once level and clear of Williamsport's Class D airspace, I called New York Center and received a squawk code for VFR Advisories all the way to Norwood.

Passing by a wind farm just east of Williamsport

I panned over to NYC after we had ADS-B coverage;
there was just a little bit of traffic in the area...

An abandoned airport near Clarks Summit, PA

Radio chatter was light and we only spotted a few planes for the first half of the trip. Most of the ground below varied between heavily forested hills and farms in the valleys. Looking left we could see the Catskill Mountains that we were roughly paralleling to the north of our route.  If I recall correctly, New York Center handed us off to Wilkes-Barre Approach, then to New York Approach as we got closer to the Hudson River.

The racetrack at the Monticello Motor Club 

The new Montreign Casino Resort under construction in Monticello, NY

Lake Mohonk with the Catskills visible in the distance

Crossing over the Hudson River just north of Poughkeepsie, NY

High cirrus and overcast was visible the further east we flew - visible traces of the moisture moving in from the ocean in advance of the hurricane. A few more scattered clouds also began to appear down near our altitude. Overall visibility, however, was still superb. I couldn't exactly make out New York City but I could spot the faint glimmer of Atlantic Ocean some 70 or so miles away. We continued onward and were handed off again, this time to Bradley Approach.

Barkhamsted Reservoir, which supplies Hartford, CT

Bradley Int'l Airport in Windsor Locks, CT

Looking up the Connecticut River towards Springfield, MA

We were now well clear of any terrain; the highest point for the remainder of the trip was only about 1,500 MSL. Seeing more clouds starting to develop, along with reported lower headwinds down below, I asked Bradley when would be a good time to descend to 3,500 feet. They said it would be best after we overflew the airport and that's what I did. Not long after leaving 5,500 feet it became much bumpier as I felt the humidity and temperature begin to rise.

Bradley, which was reasonably busy itself, handed us off to Boston Approach and the pace of the controllers' speech noticeably picked up. Yep, we were definitely entering some seriously busy airspace. Quite a few targets were now visible on ForeFlight care of ADS-B and the controller called out one that it helped me quickly spot and call in sight. I also grabbed the ATIS; the winds favored and Norwood was using Runway 35 so we were already in a convenient position to sequence into the pattern.

Once we were handed off to the tower, the pace managed to pick up a bit more. Someone in a Bonanza was troubleshooting a radio; the controller eventually told him to switch to ground and call back when he figured out the problem. At least four planes were in the pattern, along with a medical helicopter transiting the airspace. Eventually I was able to get a word in and we were told to enter a long left base for Runway 35. When I called the traffic on final in sight the controller cleared us to land, number two.

Turning final at OWD with the Boston skyline off our right wing

I managed a decent landing in the light right crosswind. Not flying into towered airports often I don't have quite the same precision (in airspeed and flap settings) throughout the approach as I do when flying a standard pattern; that's certainly something this trip is helping me practice. Point being I probably came in a few knots faster than I'd like and floated for a couple seconds. But I still slowed well in time to make the midfield turnoff and quickly taxied over to the ramp.

Tied down, we headed inside to sort things out with the FBO and I called Enterprise to come pick us up around 1:45 pm. All told, we're safe in Boston after 7.5 hours in the left seat... definitely better than a 14+ hour drive. Now it's time to meet the nephew!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 3.2 hours
Total Time: 365.1 hours


  1. Congratulations! Surely this counts as the farthest straight line distance from home you've ever flown, right?

    Bummer about Cloud 9. Clearly, you'll have to go back. :-)

    1. Indeed it is/was. I loved Williamsport - great small town, great FBO, and (reportedly) great restaurant. We'll definitely have to go back at some point!

  2. Flew into OWD last summer - beautiful area, and a little unnerving to be told to descend and maintain 2000. We were going into Boston, and the cab rides to and from OWD probably would have covered any fees for landing at Logan. The FBO guys were right about cab service

    1. When we went into Boston via OWD, we used Uber to get into the city. We spent just under $60 for clean, prompt, round trip transportation. I would happily do that again.

    2. Since we didn't have to deal with parking in the city, the rental car worked out well. Enterprise $9.99/day weekend special came out to <$28 total! FBO at OWD was quite good, waived overnight with (reasonably priced) fuel and only would've been $10/nt had we stayed longer.