Monday, January 21, 2013

A short break from winter...

As I ended the 2012 season I hadn't expected to get in the air again for several months. 

Our little airport is no longer plowed and my hangar opens to the south. With lake effect snows carried on NW winds, the front of my hangar gets quite a bit of drifted snow. Adding to this what collected on that side of the roof then slid off into a dense pile, I started off winter with 4-5 feet piled up. 

Even with enough of a thaw to clear the runways I expected it would be too much work to clear space for the doors to swing open and roll the plane out. I was comfortable with taking a break over winter. This is something that I've been doing for the past 15 years flying gliders with a season that runs from late April through mid November. The winter is a good time to catch up on other things and save money for flying season.

On a vist to the airport this afternoon to plan out some pre-season work on the plane, I found that the pile of snow blocking my doors was down to about a foot tall. With only a little shoveling I was able to roll the Challenger out. 

The engine started easily and with light winds out of the SW I headed off for a short ride. The runway was firm and in good shape with only a trace of snow in spots. 

The air was smooth but a little hazy below 3,000'. There were low clouds to the south and east. 

I initially headed west into the sun and a 25 kt headwind. My Challenger climbed strongly in the 30 degree air at 50 mph indicated. 

Clouds over the Finger Lakes to the south added to an already beautiful view. To the left is Otisco Lake which is the furthest east of the 11 glacial formed lakes. To the right is a section of Skaneateles Lake.

Looking east with Onondaga Lake and the city of Syracuse. Beyond that and under the clouds is Oneida Lake.

Looking west across the Finger Lakes. Skaneateles, Owasco, Cayuga, Seneca lakes reflecting the late afternoon sun.

 Marcellus Airport during a welcome January thaw.

I flew for about 25 minutes today. This was a nice treat for me as I hadn't expected to fly for another month or more. 

Winter is returning as I write this. A cold airmass is flowing across NY will be dropping daytime temperatures into the teens and single digits at night. This cold air blowing across the much warmer and ice free Lake Ontario will start up our "lake effect". Hopefully we won't get too much snow out of this!

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