It is something only a pilot can say with all seriousness when they get a call asking where they are: “I am having lunch in Rutland, VT. I will be home in an hour or so”…to the response of “ok?…”
A few weeks back, Tom had contacted me on a Thursday night asking if I would like to join him on a flight up to Vermont for lunch at The Hanger Cafe on Friday. How could I say no to that?! One, I have never flown up to Vermont and two, anything involving flying and food intrigues me. I arrived at 1B9 around 10am to an already ‘preflighted’ aircraft, straight out of Tom’s new hangar! This new home will most definitely help us out next winter when we want to go flying on a cold Sunday morning and not have to worry about ice on the wings!
I buckled into “Pippa”, Tom’s Piper Cherokee and he loaded 1B9-GDM-EEN-RUT into his GPS, and we were off! There were some low level scattered clouds on this particular day, so we decided to look for the smoother air above the layer, and we found a very comfortable cruise altitude at 6,500 feet. The clouds were so scattered on the way up that there was no need for a flight plan, just a keen eye outside of the cockpit for traffic and possible overcast layers below.
As we got up to the Keene, NH area, the mountains were becoming numerous, and something I have never really experienced before. It is amazing how the ground elevation comes so much closer to 6,500 feet once we get up to Rutland, VT. With the winds favoring RWY 1 at RUT, we decided to shoot a visual RNAV approach to RWY 1, just as added straight in safety cushion down to the runway. This also gave Tom some practice with IFR procedures, which is always a great way to stay on top of your instrument flying. The long straight in approach gave us a few really good bumps on the way down, but flaring over the runway was as smooth as it gets, and Tom made a great landing. We taxied off to the right, and parked in the back row facing the really nice looking terminal building.
For all of you ReviewBeforeFlight readers who are going to The Hanger Café, there is a sign to all general aviation traffic that they must register at the FBO before exiting, BUT that is only if you are parking and leaving the airport! The café is right above the terminal building, so just press the gate button to exit and head up the stairs on your left. The restaurant is only about a year old, and it shows with the very nice architecture and added style touches. It is very open with the big windows overlooking the ramp, and there is a lounge area for pilots to sit and relax just off of the restaurant floor.
The menu is extensive with breakfast, lunch and dinner choices. From sandwiches to full course meals, there is something for everyone. Tom and I both settled on the sandwiches. Tom chose the Italian sub with potato chips and I had the chicken bacon ranch melt with hand cut French fries, and they were delicious! The atmosphere and staff were super, and I can imagine weekends being incredibly busy.
It is not the biggest restaurant, but the space accommodates what they strive to achieve, simple food for travelers and aviation lovers. The Hanger Café is open Tuesday-Thursday 7am to 6pm, Friday and Saturday from 7am to 8pm and Sunday from 7am to 3pm. The Rutland area is one of the most picturesque areas I have flown, and even without a visit to the restaurant, I recommend the flight and airport to anyone looking for a new place to go! The flight from Mansfield to Rutland is a little over an hour, so take the time to fly around Northern New England!
-Fly Safe, MRoberts1B9