A Family Adventure


Tyson, Emilie & Isaac

Flight to Max’s wedding in Maryland

May 20, 2017
Emilie Phillips

This was a two part weekend where we also flew to the Cub Crafter’s STOL competition. Check out the rest of the weekend here.

Flight to Pennsylvania

My cousin held his wedding at a camp in northern Maryland. The closest airport is Shoestring Airfield (0P2), a 1,000′ grass strip primarily used by ultralights. Tyson called ahead to make sure the airfield was suitable for airplanes and that we could tie down overnight. Shoestring is right inside the outer ring around the DC special airspace. So Tyson took the online class needed to fly near the DC SFRA.

Emilie flying the Bearhawk

I flew the first leg while Tyson navigated. It was turbulent and bumpy. I flew the Bearhawk as smoothly as Tyson could when I handed him the controls for a moment. In the pattern, I still instinctively chose RV-4 power settings, but I corrected and flew an uneventful landing. My one big mistake was, on takeoff, I messed up the variable pitch propeller controls.

Tyson picked out several alternates for gas stops. His two goals were to not get rained on while pumping fuel and to have enough fuel to fly nonstop from the wedding back to Vermont. Of the gas stops Tyson had identified, I preferred Beltzville. The airport manager is nice, there’s plenty of room for Isaac to run around and wiggle, and it isn’t busy. When we took off from Brookline, the radar showed rain at Beltzville, so Tyson plotted a route to a different airport. After a half hour, the rain cleared up, so I turned direct to Beltzville. Isaac and I spent our time at Beltzville throwing a boomerang and poking our noses into all the hangars. We found quite a collection. The airplanes and hangars ranged from shiny and nice to dilapidated.

A farm, not a runway

Tyson flew the second leg since he had taken the DC course. I was grateful the air was smoother on this second leg and Isaac was too. Southern Pennsylvania is covered with farms. They form a patchwork of green and brown stripes. Twenty five miles north of our destination, we flew over Lancaster. It’s suburbs are consuming the surrounding farms. Pleasant arcing roads lined with cookie cutter houses replaced whole squares in the patchwork. Some farms stood strong against the onslaught — a verdant square of green with the farm house and silo standing resolute in the center. But other farms had fallen. Their fields brown and fallow, and open scars of dirt where the bulldozers had knocked down the farm buildings.

We flew on, back to an undulating quilt of farms. Shoestring Airfield was not far ahead. In New England, a grass strip shows up as a divot in the forest canopy. Here, it was just another shade of green in the patchwork. Tyson and I had to search before Tyson finally spotted it.

Emilie’s family

My parents met us at the airport and we drove off to the wedding. It was a fun, low key wedding out in the country side. The best part was seeing my extended family. We camped out overnight in a neighboring field.

Photos from Day 1

GPS Track