“I have to go flying, I’m having withdrawals,” Peter’s text read mid-Friday afternoon. It was a cold and snowy winter with the majority of weekends featuring clouds, high winds and snow. The weather for the first eight weeks of 2014 was certainly anything except desirable. Peter, a former student of mine, and now co-owner of a Piper Challenger and I agreed to meet at his hangar at 8am on Saturday morning.
It was 7 degrees Fahrenheit when I left my house on Saturday morning. A quick drive to the airport later and it was up to a balmy 12… Peter had the challenger pulled out of his hangar, “warming up” in the sunlight shining on the taxi-lane. He was adding air to the tires of the Cherokee, which had been hibernating for the previous four weeks due to bad weather.
The weather briefer confirmed my thoughts saying the forecast was for winds from the southwest to pick up as the day progressed, making for a lively crosswind at Mansfield later that afternoon. As such, we decided the restaurant to visit for a blog review would be Plane Jane’s Place at the Plymouth, MA airport. It would literally be a “quick hop,” before our breakfast.
We started up the Challenger and taxied out to do a thorough run up before climbing up into the skies. After the magneto check, we kept the power up for a few minutes to let the oil warm up, even though the engine heater was plugged in over night. After a couple of minutes we got an oil temperature reading and had a happy airplane.
The flight over to Plymouth was quite nice; we took the scenic route and enjoyed a leisurely jaunt in a not-so-straight path from Mansfield to Plymouth. A very light wind mentioned by the AWOS was favoring Runway 15, however, an aircraft announced they were taxiing out to Runway 24. Peter and I decided it would be best to follow suit and fall into the pattern for Runway 24 than to try and use another runway. The winds were less than 5 knots and proved to be no factor in the pattern or landing.
Plane Jane’s Place is located on the second floor of the Plymouth Airport Administration building. Down stairs houses the airport operations staff, a helicopter flight school and another flight school. Upon entering Plane Jane’s customers approach the counter to order and pay before selecting a seat. On that Saturday Peter and I selected a table offering a ramp/runway view, which is enhanced by the restaurant being on the second floor of the building. During the warmer times (ie: not winter), deck seating is available! These seats make for a great place to watch operations and hold ground lessons…
Not long after ordering the food arrived! Peter and I both ordered French toast on this particular day. Peter added sides of bacon and scrambled eggs. I added bacon and hash browns with my toast. As with every other meal I’ve enjoyed at Jane’s, this one was fantastic. The French toast was excellent and definitely, “hit the spot.” After spends some time enjoying the friendly atmosphere at Jane’s, Peter and I checked over the Challenger, and launched back towards Mansfield.
The bumps and winds were building on the way back, but the instability of the air made for fantastic visibility from our 2,300’ cruising altitude. Peter handled the developing crosswind and bumps well and made a nice landing on Runway 14 at Mansfield. We taxied in and returned the Challenger to its hangar home. It was a short flight, but well worth it for the great meal and enjoyable time with my good friend Peter.
Plane Jane’s is open for breakfast and lunch every day, as well as for dinner Thursdays – Sundays. If you are visiting for lunch or dinner, I highly recommend what I call the “Matt Special.” This is the combination of a cup of their clam chowder and the chicken Parmesan sandwich. During all of the years I have been flying, I am yet to find a better airport restaurant clam chowder than Plane Jane’s offers.
-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9