What better way to enjoy flying and food than to head on a breakfast flight up to Maine!? Well, I guess you could head to breakfast in Connecticut…or New York…Or stay in Massachusetts…but that’s beside the point! On a recent Sunday morning, Audra and I decided to book a plane, enjoy the incredible weather and shoot up to Sanford, ME for some absolutely fantastic pancakes. As many know, summers in New England are dodgy weather wise, so flying early in the morning is your best bet for amazing flying weather.
We departed Mansfield (1B9) around 7am in a 200o Skyhawk S Model (N766PD). The winds were calm, and visibility was greater than 10 miles with no clouds in sight. I decided to try for a Class Bravo clearance through Boston airspace at 5500 feet. The frequency was busy on this particular morning, so I kept my finger on the mic key waiting for my turn in the jumble of radio calls.
I was eventually granted the clearance at 5500, with a few vectors along the way. We were just west of the city, and just off of Fenway Park. With the sun rising, it made for a picturesque moment. As the 86nm journey was coming to a close about 45 minutes into the flight, we made our transition to Portland Approach and then to Sanford Unicom. It is not necessary to talk to approach control, but if you don’t want to scoot around the class bravo, be brave and talk to ATC! They are usually very easy going and reasonable. We approached from the east after circling the University of New England in Biddeford, ME on the coast and entered on the crosswind for Runway 32. And not to toot my own horn, but the landing was probably a 9 or 10 out of 10 (wind was in my favor) and we taxied right off to the ramp of the Cockpit Café!
I have visited the Cockpit Café many times before, with lines out the door and upwards of 45 minutes. It is a busy place, with locals and pilots from all around enjoying the delicious breakfast and lunch that they serve. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, and a counter as well to be seated at. For a Sunday morning in the summer, and about 8:00am, there was only a short wait, and we were seated right by the window. Audra and I already knew what we were going to order, so we put it in as soon as the waitress came over to us. We both ordered Pancakes, a side of bacon, and a side of homefries. I think almost anyone who has visited will agree that the pancakes are some of the best. They are large, but thin, and very tasty! The food came out rather quickly and we sat, ate, and talked for a little over an hour as the line started to form! I guess we were lucky and on the early side that day. We decided to take the rest of our very large pancakes to go, and packed up for the trip back.
As the air temperature increased, and some clouds started to form, the winds picked up a bit before departure. As we climbed off Runway 32, we hit a few good bumps, but it seemed to calm as we reached 4500 back to 1B9. Again, we received Class B clearance through Boston, and we were vectored just east of Logan Airport (pictured below). We were cautioned by wake turbulence several times by aircraft at 6000 feet heading for the Approach onto Runway 33L. It was pretty cool to see them fly right overhead, and then to see them turn final and land right below us. Boston is always a lot of fun to fly over and I have never had an issue with getting through. It always makes for a shorter, very sightseeing friendly trip to and from the North! The landing at 1B9 was uneventful and we taxied back to the ramp. From departure at 7am, to arrival back at Mansfield, our trip was about an hour and a half flying time and definitely a recommended trip for anyone down in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, or New York. The food is great and the service is even better! The Cockpit Café at SFM is open 7:00am – 2:00pm in the summers all week and serves breakfast and lunch. The rest of the year, weekends are only open till noon and serve breakfast only. Parking is right on the ramp outside the café, and navigating the airport is very simple. Check it out next time you are hungry and have the urge to fly one morning! You won’t regret it!
-Fly Safe, MRoberts1B9