Leaf Peeping Flight

One of the things that Vicki and I have never done is go up and look at the fall colours from the air. Today was a wonderful day, severe clear and not very windy. The leaves aren’t at their peak yet, but we’re there, the plane is there, and we don’t have anything else to do. So when we got back from Buttonville and cleared customs, we headed off again.

I wanted to stay low to get a better view, unlike the flight across the lake, where we kept very high for a smoother ride and better glide distance while over the lake. That made it a bit bumpy. But not unbearably so.

We left Rochester airspace going south at 2500 feet. As soon as we got out of the airspace, I punched my user waypoint for the local wind farm into my GPS, and we headed out to look at the windmills. Not only are the windmills scenic themselves, but they’re near a nice valley. That was good. Then I headed towards Letchworth Canyon and cruised along it down to the famous Upper and Lower Falls and railway trestle.

After that, we cruised back up the canyon in the other direction. Then Vicki had a nifty idea – to go fly over our house. The Rochester airport hadn’t been too busy when we’d come in – they’d cleared me to land while I was still 15 miles out. So I figured what the hell, I’ll ask for it.

First thing is to try to find something that the controller would recognize. I zoomed in the hand-held GPS to try to find a waypoint near our house – I had an idea that we were near the outer marker for the ILS 28 approach. But I couldn’t find anything. So I told him that we weren’t too far south of the southern tip of the Irondequoit Bay – I figured they’d know where where that is because of the seaplane operations there. The controller approved our request, so I descended to pattern altitude, because I knew it would put us below where the airplanes on ILS 28 would be at that point. Vicki spotted our house, and I did a steep turn around it so we could get a good view. After our turn, I thanked Rochester Approach and they cleared me for a straight in to runway 25.

That was really nice. I hope we can do that again some time.