A commercial aviation and travel blog.

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.

I had to do a couple landings with my old instructor, since I haven't flown with him in the last 90 days.

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.

The Seneca Army Depot Airfield, which used to see many different types of military aircraft.

The LORAN-C Transmitter Seneca, located within the Seneca Army Depot.

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.

The view of Ithaca-Tompkins (KITH) from the left downwind to 32. The airport has a surprisingly long runway, 7000 feet, for the amount of traffic it gets.

Turning Final for Runway 32 at Ithaca.

A view of the Commercial Ramp and Control Tower. Ithaca's Terminal can handle about one Turboprop and one Regional Jet at a time.

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.

One of the gorges that leads into Cayuga Lake. Note the tall, narrow waterfall in the center of the photo.

Watkins Glen Raceway from above. Looks like it was a bunch of SUV's racing today.

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.

Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion and the Canandaigua VA Medical Center.

The Northern End of Canandaigua Lake while on approach back into D38.

Turning Final for Runway 31 at Canandaigua.

   

1 Comment

  1. HENRY HENRY
    July 3, 2012    

    HI,AND THANK YOU FOR THE PICTURES. BACK IN NOV.1953,I WAS AT A BASIC TRAING BASE FOR THE AIR FORCE.I THINK IT WAS CALLED “PARKS AFB”,AND I ALSO BELIEVE IT PRIOR TO THAT,THAT IT WAS A NAVY TRAING BASE. IVE TRIED LOOKING FOR WHAT IS LEFT IF ANYTHING OF THE BASE.I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO “DIE”,WHEN I SPENT NOV TO JAN THERE.TO GO TO THE MESS HALL,WE HAD TO TRUDGE THRU THE SNOW THAT WAS NEARLY HIP DEEP.THEN THE U.S.AIR FORCE SENT ME TO HEAVEN…SUNNY CALIFORNIA.I THANK GOD AND THE U.S.AIR FORCE.THANKS AGAIN FOR THE PICTURES.

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About Kyle

I am a recent college graduate with a degree in Aviation Management. I spend my time as an airline industry professional, private pilot, blogger and world traveler. I have visited 36 countries to date and don't plan on slowing down. This blog is my way of sharing the latest developments in the airline industry as well as experiences from my world travels. All views and opinions are strictly my own.

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