blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Trip south: sixth and final day

We are back again, landed in Gatineau at 3:50pm to satisfy CANPASS immigration requirements, although the officers never turned up to check (presumably since all the necessary work is done by phone and form-filling) and then, without getting out of the 'plane, flew the little 10-minute Ottawa River hop straight over to CYRO to tie PTN down at her home spot and retrieve our car.

The flying was beautiful today. We were engine-on at 10:02, says Chris, reminding me. I was sorry to leave State College without really having seen any of the main part of town on this occasion, but on our take-off the hilly view to the north of town was spectacular, a much clearer view than yesterday's, when that rain was coming on.

Somewhat at random, simply because we hadn't landed there before and were curious, we chose to fly to Oswego County today, in New York State, just over an hour and a half away. This airport (KFZY) turned out to be a fair distance from Oswego itself which is on the Lake Ontario shoreline, the nearest town to the airport being Fulton.

In the air, we were enthralled by the steep sides of the curvacious Pennsylvanian valleys on a sunny autumn morning. Some small low clouds hung around in the valleys but it was mostly clear and the sun made the winding rivers sparkle. We identified places that brought memories back for us: the ridge near State College (where Chris took George and his astro-physicist friends flying in 2006), Elmira (June 1999), Glen Watkins, Ithaca, the gorges round Cayuga Lake and the other Finger Lakes (last spring). Mellow colours emphasised the shapes of the woods and fields. The lakes were very blue, the swamps near the airport bright green.

For lunch we took a taxi (long wait, slow drive) to a Wendy's fast food place in Fulton and didn't have time to linger there because Chris was concerned about the Ottawa weather forecast for our planned arrival time. We did step onto the Broadway bridge to see the Oswego River flow down the rapids (this town used to be called Oswego Falls) and out of a hole in the wall of a former mill. On the other side of that building is a wide canal lock, obviously intended for more than pleasure boats.

Chris filed his CANPASS and EAPIS documents and his flight plan in good time; we took off to cross the border at 2:30pm, and this was a scenic flight too, up the eastern edge of Lake Ontario with the wind creating continuous breakers on the long, sandy shoreline. We could see the power stations and town of Oswego on our left, to the southwest. Ahead was Watertown and the St. Lawrence that we crossed near Brockville en route to the waypoint called CYRIL, This is where Wheeler Sack approach hands you over to Montreal's aerial jurisdiction and the traffic controllers' voices begin to have French rather than New York accents. All very familiar to us now. During this part of the journey today, we gazed in fascination at the growing cumulus clouds, some dropping dark grey showers on the landscape, others just casting big shadows. We could make out the Gatineau Hills to the north so realised we weren't going to blunder into bad weather at our destination. The Ottawa controller gave us vectors to a visual approach at Gatineau, so that we didn't have such a long final as usual. The winds, forecast to be strong, gusting 20 knots or something, turned out to be so light (only 4 or 5 knots with no gusts) that we were able to do a tailwind landing at CYND, ditto at Rockcliffe.

For the record, total engine-on time during this holiday was 17.7 hours. 1385 nautical miles there and back airport to airport (see the map above), but we detoured, zigzagged and extended our approaches, so the mileage actually totalled more than that.

Well done, Chris!

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