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Utility of the Airplane

Date: July 11, 2003

So up till now, all of my flights have been of two kinds - testing the plane, or going somewhere related to the plane (S&F, SBY flyin, visiting builders, just tooling around, etc.). I believe that I mentioned that I took the plane down to Provincetown Airport for the week I was on Cape Cod on vacation, and used it twice to go to Martha's Vineyard to the beach (and to retrieve the cell phone I left there on the first trip).

I finally got to use the plane for a completely utilitarian purpose this last week - my son was going to a Lacrosse Camp for 4 days in Poultney, VT, which while not quite in the middle of nowhere is pretty dang close to the edge. The camp literature said it was a 4 hour drive from Boston, so I figured 3.5 hours for us.... Hmmm, Rutland, VT is the closest airport (of any size, really) to Poultney, and it should be about a 30 minute flight..... With a 1/2 hour drive on either end, plus the overhead of pre-flight, car rental, etc., it should be about 2.5 hours each way, door to door.

Last Saturday was pretty hazy and cloudy, not to mention hot, but we loaded up the plane with 3 people and a boatload of camp and lacrosse stuff. We managed to get up to 6500 ft. for a while, and it wasn't too ugly up there, but we had to come back down into the soup for the last 20 miles. Drove the car to the camp and dropped him off (uggh - why would anyone want to drive when they can fly -) ), and then headed back to Rutland. Back in the plane and off the ground before the predicted T-storms came through. The flight back was at 3500 ft, below the clouds and in the haze (vis. about 8 miles), and we got a bit of rain and mild turbulence (which puts my wife to sleep, if you can believe it). Round trip, door to door, including 1.5 hours getting lunch in Poultney was about 6 hours. Driving would have been substantially more stressful and taken 8-9 hours.

Thursday I took the day off and my wife and I flew up to RUT to get him. It was a gorgeous day, with 50 mile visibility - we went up there at 6500 ft. and back at 7500 ft. in clear calm air, for a round trip of about 5 hours. My son, who in 8 years of building expressed almost no interest in the plane at all, actually wanted to fly it, so I let him fly for about 15 minutes - no problem for a kid who grew up on video games -).

While I will be going to a pancake breakfast at ORE in MA tomorrow, I'll also be flying my son down to NJ on Sunday for a week at his grandparents.

Hey - this thing is actually USEFUL, as opposed to merely FUN -).

Of course, I'll be back to the FUN part for the Airventure Cup Race in a couple of weeks.....

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