Flying The Finger Lakes
What better to do on a Sunny July day than take a Cessna 172 for a flight? Today I got the chance to fly the aircraft that I got my Private Pilot Certificate in. The destination: The Finger Lakes in Upstate New York. I brought my Dad along for the ride and he got some great pictures. Our flight left from Canandaigua Airport (D38) at the Northern end of Canandaigua Lake. This is the airport I completed my Private Pilot training out of. The aircraft we flew is a late 60's Cessna 172, which was weird to go back to after flying G1000 SP's for a year.After departing Canandaigua, we climbed up to our cruising altitude of 3500', which takes way longer than you would think when it's 100 degrees out. We initially headed East to the city of Geneva, at the end of Seneca Lake, the largest of the Finger Lakes. From there we proceeded Southbound down the lake and had a great view of the Seneca Army Depot. This was an Ammunitions storage and disposal facility for the US Military from the 1940's to the 1990's. What used to be home to B-52's and other large military cargo haulers is now just a barren, overgrown airfield. The ex-base is home to the largest herd of white deer in the world, a top-security prison, and the master transmitter of the Northeast LORAN-C Chain, used by aircraft for navigation. After flying over the Army Depot, we headed Southeast towards Ithaca, at the Southern tip of Cayuga Lake, the second largest of the Finger Lakes, where we were going to do a quick landing before departing back towards Canandaigua. Ithaca-Tompkins Regional Airport is a Class D-Controlled field that see's Regional Airline service for Delta, US Airways, and United. We got the current ATIS and were told to expect a left downwind for runway 32. As we were approaching the field, we were lucky enough to see a Pinnacle Airlines CRJ-200 Regional Jet take off headed straight for us and pass a couple thousand feet overhead. We landed at Ithaca and taxied back for immediate takeoff to continue on our flight. After departing Ithaca and clearing the Class D Airspace, we headed north up the Western shore of Cayuga Lake to get a view of it's famous gorges and waterfalls. After this we headed West towards Watkins Glen, situated at the Southern tip of Seneca Lake. The city is home to the famous Watkins Glen Raceway, one of the few true road courses in the United States. The city's name comes from the Glen/ Gorge that flows downhill into the lake. The glen is hard to get good views of from the air, as it is very overgrown. However, it is a great place to go hiking and is a very cool thing to see up close. We circled over the Raceway at 2,000 feet and got to see the start of a small race. After flying over the "Glen" we began our final leg back to Canandaigua. We flew Northbound and passed by Lamoka Lake, Waneta Lake, and Keuka Lake before joining Canandaigua Lake and following it North to the airport. On approach into Canandaigua we flew over the downtown tourist area and the famous Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion before joining the downwind for Runway 31.