Saturday dawned clear and sunny, perfect day to bore some holes in the sky.
Met at Portland at 10:30 am and while we reviewed emergency procedures, we saw the Blackhawk take off. These guys are doing it right, they get to play with expensive toys on Uncle Sam's dime.
Soon enough we got our clearance and got rolling ourselves.
Left turnout over the Mall on our way to Biddeford for some fuel.
We pass over Beech Ridge speedway covered in snow
The Saco river in Biddeford iced over hard.
Biddeford in winter, one big depressing welfare milltown.
Base to final for Biddeford
80 gallons of 100 low lead later, we get going to find some lunch.
Making our way past Sanford
We set up for the approach to Nashua
And shoot the approach to Rwy 32
Where we make a quick dash for the Airport cafe and some lunch before they shut down at 2 pm.
Half hour later we get rolling again
Flying past Manchester airport
Another depressing New England town in winter.
Where the best pastime is screaming across the frozen lake on the snowmobiles.
And Ice Drinking, formally called Ice Fishing. A sport where guys escape the depressing town and their nagging wives for the day, get drunk while sitting in a tiny smelly tar paper shack on the ice, wiggling a worm in the cold water, and occasionally race across the ice on their snow machines to find a weak patch to crash through, and thus eliminate themselves from the gene pool.
Over said frozen lake we enter a hold to the approach for Concord
Past the smoke stack of the paper mill.
Once past the smoke stack, we touch down on a very salty runway at Concord and make a quick turnaround.
And fly over the Ice runway on Alton Bay.
Lake Winnepesaukee is frozen solid.
Then make our way back to Portland for one last practice instrument approach.
Radar vectors to the initial approach fix take us out over Phineas Sprague's Spurwink Farm runway covered in snow.
Then over Kettle Cove
Where I snatch a quick shot over my shoulder of the sun looking down the coast towards Old Orchard Beach.
Another turn towards the fix has us looking at the islands of Casco Bay.
As we get established on the localizer we pass over Peaks Island with Fort Gorges in the center of the picture
Over South Portland outer marker inbound for 29, with Portland West End on the right of the picture.
The view out the right window shows Downtown Portland and a tanker as it makes its way up the harbor.
Zooming in a bit on the oil tanker.
You can see the bridge just beginning to open
And the tug waiting to catch the tanker on the other side as it is flung through the gap in the bridge.
Still inbound to Rwy 29
A quick look over my shoulder
And the pastel buildings on Commercial St
Short final for 29
At decision height 274 ft over the highway
Just crossed I-295
Seconds to touchdown.
We made it home and did not break the plane. We must have done something right.