Finally, a chilly day in New England! After a relatively comfortable August, temperatures shot up for the beginning part of September, and for the first Sunday of the 2014 NFL season, there was a fall feel to the morning! Tom and I had been trying to fly for a couple weeks, with schedule conflicts, and we finally were both free on Sunday, September 7, for a early morning breakfast flight. The destination, Poughkeepsie, NY to the beautiful Sky Acres airport (44N). This particular day was as nice a day as we both had seen in weeks, with little wind and visibility as clear as it gets!
I arrived at Mansfield Airport (1B9) around 8am, and the plane was preflighted by the time I got there, so I just hopped in and we were off! 5 minutes later, we were climbing out of RWY 32 for a straight out departure towards New York. Our flight plan led us directly through Connecticut, right in between Hartford – Brainard and Bradley Airport. At 4,500 feet, we had a 10-knot headwind so we cruised at a steady speed onto 44N. On the mostly uneventful flight, we were surprised by a few aircraft in our vicinity, but with the help of Tom’s multiple “toys”, we were able to spot them out and stay clear of them. We assumed they had no clue where we were! Situation’s like those always keep a pilot on his or her toes, and aware of everyone and everything outside the cockpit. Remember, pilots, always scan outside the gauges!
As we got close to Sky Acres, we tuned to their Unicom frequency, and it was bustling with traffic in and out of the airport! It is always a lot of fun to go somewhere and be accompanied by other pilots and their aircraft. Just shows that there are still people out there who go and fly for fun, no matter how expensive it has become. As we approached the area, Tom and I both had our eyes outside the cockpit and searching for the airport that is nestled in between the many hills. What an incredible sight on a fall like morning to fly above the acres of farm, trees and mountainous terrain. I’d call this flight one of the more scenic flights I have been on. Sky Acres appeared in sight just as we were on a crosswind for RWY 35, and Tom flew a great pattern. We landed after a one hour and ten minute flight, and taxied to the airport restaurant Tailwinds.
Tailwinds was fairly empty upon our arrival, so we had our choice of seating. It is a nice and cozy restaurant, with a very old New England feel to it. We got there just in time, because as we were browsing the menu, the ramp started filling up with pilots, and a line formed just outside the dining room! Talk about right place, right time! I ordered an American cheese and ham omelet with a side of home fries, bacon and toast, while Tom ordered the Hot Flash Omelet with home fries as well. Said to be mouth burning spicy, it was not as “hot” as Tom would have liked, but it was delicious nonetheless. The staff at the restaurant were incredibly friendly, and to make things better, our waitress was a Patriots fan in NY! Made for a much better dining experience…in my opinion! Portions were generous and cooked to perfection, with prices being very fair.
We made our way back out to the aircraft, and glad to have jackets on the particular day because New York was much cooler than Massachusetts. There were still pilots from all around flying in as we taxied back to the end of RWY 35, and for good reason! The restaurant definitely rates as one of the best that I have been to. Tom made a smooth departure and we climbed out to the East. We decided to fly back at 7,500 feet to take advantage of a 20 knot tailwind, and it was hands off flying the whole way back. Tom flew the same route on the return to 1B9, and 50 minutes later, we were back on the ground in Mansfield.
This trip was all around a great experience. The flight was perfect both ways, the food was delicious, and the restaurant greeted us with a warm welcome and excellent service. Sky Acres/Tailwinds is a place I would recommend to anyone this fall who wants a beautiful flight on a brisk morning for a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate, and a great meal to go along with it. From what I could see, there is a wood burning stove that may satisfy cold pilots and passengers as they enjoy the comfort! The hours are 7:30am – 3:00pm Thursday through Sunday for breakfast and lunch. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to go flying!
-Fly Safe, @MRoberts1B9