A Family Adventure

Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Lunch at Alton Bay

February 1, 2015
Tyson Sawyer

Emilie went to Cardigan to teach backcountry skiing at the NH AMC Winter School, leaving Isaac and I as bachelors for the weekend. Our neighbor suggested flying up to Alton Bay (B18) for lunch. When Isaac and I walked down to the hangar, the winds were near calm. By the time we were airborne, the winds were “lively”! When we arrived at Alton Bay, it was a quartering head wind in the range of 5kts gusting to 20 on the surface. On downwind, I had a 30-40 degree correction angle for the cross-wind component. Even with an extra 10-20kts on final approach, the landing was still short and required a lot of taxiing to get to the first turn-off. There was a decent crowd there, including a bunch of folks flying Piper Cub variants on skis and what appeared to be small group of Beech Bonanza’s. We watched one Bonanza make a missed approach. …not sure that he came back.

After lunch we dropped Mike’s plane at Manchester Airport (KMHT) for some routine service. We flew as a “flight of two” in loose formation. When you do that, one plane is responsible for all communications with ATC and the other just follows closely. Between winds and different airplane types (different speed/drag profiles) we landed with a good separation of about 30 seconds. While taxiing to the ramp, a South West pilot got on the radio and commented, “Nice pair of C170’s!” to us. …we were a L19 Birddog and a Bearhawk. Not only were we not flying any C170’s, the two planes we were flying were not even the same as each other, and (to a pilot) quite different in appearance. We corrected him on the plane types and he responded with something like, “Oh! I must have a bad angle for seeing. Well, nice pair of taildraggers! I’m a C170 driver!”. …oh?! Really?! …and you can’t recognize one when you see one? With the winds, I was seeing over 30kts on the airspeed indicator while taxing to the ramp. Some airplanes fly at lower speeds than that.

When we stopped to drop off Mike’s plane, Isaac notice a Cessna Citation (small jet) on the ramp that had just been getting fueled before going back in its hangar. He exclaimed, “Big Airplane!”. Since most jets are big, he identifies them as “big”, even in pictures with no scale available. Isaac demanded out to go see the Citation. The crew was using a cool little electric tow dolly that lifted the front wheel and was driven around with a little RC transmitter. They could just stand back and drive it like a big RC car.


We ran over to Jaffrey (KAFN) to fuel up the Bearhawk and let Isaac have a quick visit with Grammie, and then headed back to Brookline. Gusts/windshear dropped me onto the runway from about a foot resulting in a bounce. …not my best landing.