Sunday, May 1, 2011

Flight to Montauk

Leigh and I flew down to Montuak, NY, Sunday morning.  Montuak is on the eastern tip of Long Island.  It makes an ideal plane trip because flying straight there is about an hour, but it would probably end up being a longer than five hour drive to get there.  The air was smooth on the way there with a strong tailwind.

Leigh spotted this interesting park / memorial along the way:

We passed Foxwoods Casino and golf course on the way through Connecticut.  Leigh thought the turquoise roofs looked neat.

This is the Groton, CT airport.  I've made a couple trips here already, so the route to Montauk was pretty familiar.

Fisher's Island, NY, just off the coast of Connecticut near Groton.  I think an accurate forumla is: island + marina + golf course + two runways = Big Boys' Playground.

This is Montauk from a few miles North.  The airport is at the left side of the picture in the foreground.  There are more beaches to the east (left) and a lighthouse.  The main part of town is on the southern coast, on the other side of the golf course.

Montauk Airport has the shortest runway I've landed on so far, though it is not close to the limits of the capabilities of the airplane I fly.  From end to end, the runway is 3481'.  The arrows leading to the vertical lines on either end of the runway mark the "displaced threshold".  The whole length is not available for landing, you need to touchdown beyond the threshold.  In some cases, there is a displaced threshold because the pavement is not strong enough to support a landing airplane near the end.  However, at Montauk, I believe the displacement is for clearing the houses on one end and the sand dunes at the other end.  When Leigh took this picture, we were aligning with the "left downwind" for runway 6.  We are going to travel parallel to the runway at 1000' altitude with the runway on our left.  Then we will make two left turns over the harbor and land on the end marked with the "6".  Runway markings are based on their direction; Runway 6 is on a 60 degree heading (east-north-east).  You chose the runway to land on based on the wind direction.  The wind was from the east, so we landed heading east so we would have a headwind.

Turquoise on one side, blue on the other; looks positively Carribean...

After a successful landing, we waited for a cab to take us into town.  Passed the time playing with the airport pup.  He wanted to get both tennis balls in his mouth at the same time.  Don't be fooled, I am NOT a dog person.  Lots of doggy slobber on those tennis balls.

In the top left corner of the above picture, there is an airplane in a compromising position...

Last fall the pilot ran it off the end of Runway 24, through the fence, and across the street, losing the left wing along the way.  And then, to add insult to injury, it wasn't secured to the ground and got flipped over on recent windy day.  It is awaiting the salvage company.  The airport manager was anxious to get it out of there -- not real good for business.

We went into town and got a bite at "Coffee Tauk".   On the way back to the airport, the taxi driver pointed out "the oldest cattle ranch in America", and Paul Simon's place. We had him drop us off at the beach on the north side, and we walked down the beach and sat a bit.

Favorite Passenger:

As we left, Leigh noticed the parking lot at the point filling up. 
"The ants go marching, two by two, hurrah, hurrah"  errr... not ants, motorcycles.

Taking off from runway 6 is a little disconcerting: as you accelerate down the runway, the 20' sand dune at the end gets closer and closer.  I took the opportunity to practice my "short field take off" technique, which I was required to demonstrate in my checkride for the private pilot certificate.  [25 degrees of flaps for more lift at lower speed, bring engine to full power while standing on the brakes, then go...]

The trip home was on the bumpy side, particularly passing over cleared fields.  The sun heating up the fields creates updrafts and turbulence, even over a mile above them.  The Providence air traffic frequencies were very busy, with lots of VFR traffic.  (VFR = Visual Flight Rules; commercial traffic is generally IFR; there were many recreational flyers out Sunday going on trips and getting advisories for air traffic.)

Happy couple:

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