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Fly High and Fast – Vol. II Chapter 8–MI – Niagara Falls, NY

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JJ Meehan
mfmeehan@live.com

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The Meehan Family

N8682Q is a 1965 Bonanza S-35.  It has a 285 HP engine with a cruise speed of 165 KTs.   Wathan Flying Service was one of two FBO’s on the Cedar Rapids, Iowa USA airport.  I started flying charters for them part time with the request that all my earnings be put into an account that would be used to purchase aircraft time.  This allowed me to use several different aircraft over the six years that I worked for them.  I will cover my charter flying in Volume IV.  Volume III will be dedicated to my time as a Flight Instructor.

Anyway, in the summer of 1984 my family and I headed out on a trip to Michigan and at the last minute Niagara Falls, NY USA.  N3028W and N6419U were not available so I used N8682Q.  Our first stop was Battle Creek, Michigan, USA.  I lived here as a boy while my father was stationed at Fort Custer.   I also attended first grade in Battle Creek.  Battle Creek is also the headquarters for Kellogg Cereals and our first stop was a tour of their plant.  Weather was IFR with ceilings of about 800 ft, which required an instrument approach into Battle Creek.  The tour was very entertaining and a great learning experience.  After the tour we drove around Fort Custer and the school where I attended First Grade – St. Phillips.   We also had breakfast at the “Big Boy” Restaurant in Battle Creek.  They had a fantastic breakfast buffet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By 4:00 pm we where in the air and heading for Detroit Metro Airport.  We had dinner and checked into our motel on arrival.  The next day we headed over to the Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum.  What a fantastic museum and village.  I’ve tried to capture our trip with several pictures below.

 
Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village


Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village 


Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village 

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village 

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village 

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village 

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village


Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village


Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village 

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village 

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village 

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village 

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village   (If you look close you can see a tree that was knocked over during the storm that came through while we were in the park).

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village   (If you look close you can see a tree that was knocked over during the storm that came through while we were in the park). 

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village

Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village

 

That evening we were invited by my cousin Judy Maher Hagan to join them for a fireworks show over the Detroit River.  Each year, Detroit and Windsor Ontario, Canada have a combined fireworks show for the Independence Day in the USA and for Canada Day in Canada.  We had fantastic seats on top of one of the tall buildings in downtown Detroit.  One of my cousins, Jim Seitz was an intern for a Law Firm in downtown Detroit and we were invited to join them on top of the building for the fireworks.

 

 
Windsor and the Detroit River just prior to the Fireworks Show

Windsor and the Detroit River just prior to the Fireworks Show

Fireworks over the Detroit River.
Fireworks over the Detroit River.

Fireworks over the Detroit River.

Fireworks over the Detroit River.

 

The next day we decided to fly over to Niagara Falls, NY USA.  The flight time was just under one hour.  Our goal was to visit the Falls at Niagara Falls.  Our flight plan took us through Canadian Air Space.  Two things stood out in my memory of the trip.  First of all, the Air Traffic Controllers all said decimal when they gave you a new frequency. e.g., 127.9 would be called 127 decimal 9.  In the USA it is 127 point 9.  The other thing was the layout of the land.  In the USA, all the fields are laid out based on North, South, East and West.   If you remember, when I first took a long Cross County as a student pilot in Volume II Chapter 1, I had a broken Digital Direction Gyro.  One reason this was not a big concern was the fact that farm fields in Iowa are all laid out on a plot that is based on True North.  If I wanted to go west I just followed the farm fields.  In Canada near Lake Erie the fields are laid out based on Lake Erie.  The following is a Google Map of Canada.  I tried to capture the layout of the fields.  After flying over them for almost an hour, I almost got vertigo.

 
Canadian Fields in Ontario Canada. 
Note that the fields to not run True North and South but are on an angle of about 30 degrees.

We arrived in Niagara Falls, NY USA around 1:00 and took a cab to the falls.  The Maid of the Mist is the name of the boats that take you up to the base of the falls.  It is worth getting wet to experience the view.

 
Bridge between Niagara Falls USA and Niagara Falls Canada

Niagara Falls

 
Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls 

Niagara Falls 

Niagara Falls 

We departed  Niagara Falls, NY USA around 4:00 pm on a Sunday.  My plan was to fly non-stop to Cedar Rapids.  Estimated time in route was 3 1/2 hours.  As we passed south of Chicago, I was able to get an update on a front that was moving through the Midwest.  The line stretched from north of Madison, Wisconsin to south of Kansas City, MO.  Strong winds and heavy rain was reported and there had been tornado’s reported on the ground in southern Iowa.

We would have to fly though the line and I decided that it was not with the risk.  We landed at the Moline, IL USA airport and had Jumer’s Castle Limo meet us at the Fix Base Operator (FBO) – Elliott.  We had a fantastic dinner and a nice relaxing night at Jumer’s and then headed on to Cedar Rapids the next day.  As forecasted all the weather had moved to our east by the time we took off from Moline.  The flight time from Moline to Cedar Rapids is only 30 minutes.  I’ll never forget how green the fields looked as we approached to land at Cedar Rapids, Iowa USA.  I image that Ireland might be this green.

 
Farm land just south of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.   The city of Cedar Rapids is in the center of the page.

What memories we have and what we covered in just five days.

Please visit my WEB Site on Flying for more stories at “Fly High and Fast”.

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Written by jjmeehan13

January 9, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Flying

One Response

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  1. The pictures tells the story themselves ! Thank you for sharing !

    Angela

    May 9, 2010 at 7:06 am


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