Sunday, August 14, 2011


Smoketown is a nice airport just outside of Lancaster airspace. I had noticed on the NE Flyers Meet-up page that their fly-in was listed and the agenda included a talk about Light Sport Aviation. Preflight planning showed some local airports shrouded in mist, but generally good weather until T-Storms rolled in later in the afternoon. No TFRs were shown to be active.The preflight was done and the oil was warming up by 8:30. Garmin said the trip should take about 30 mins, and weather was visible far out to the west of us. Everything was "GO" for the trip as we lined up on Rwy 34 to complete the checklists.

The trip over was uneventful, except for the incredible beauty of the Pennsylvania countryside. Carved farmlands separated by hills of forests spotted with barns and silos and an  occasional town until we got close to Lancaster. We listened on CTAF and were surprised at the volume of aircraft calling their positions in the pattern. High wing, low wind, biplane, experimental and soon to join in, a PiperSport. We entered on the 45 to Rwy 28, and watched closely as other airplane sorted themselves out in the pattern. We called downwind behind a Cessna, and obviously a Stearman was either not listening or felt his crosswind gave him priority, but in any case I decided not to argue and broke it off for another entry. That went well and now I'm anxiously waiting for the arrival photos to be posted on the website.

The linesmen did a great job getting us to our parking spot. As we got out of the plane, two friends (whom I had never met) came by to greet us. From Pottstown Heritage, we had exchanged email and blog post and invited each other for coffee at our respective airports, but never met. It was nice chat, reacquaint and talk about airplanes. Then we wandered the line of beautiful planes and made our way to the hangar for breakfast, the standard pancakes and eggs and donuts.  After eating we strolled over to Hangar "F" for the Light Sport Lecture. An instructor from Lancaster came in with his StingSport and did a great job explaining the LSA limitations for both pilots and aircraft to a diverse crowd of about 25.

Back out to walk the flight line, and I nearly fell in love with the Calidus GyroCopter. I've always been intrigued with the self powered rotating wing, like the flight characteristics and would love to fly one. This one was a real beauty.

But the weather was starting to turn. We decided it was time to get our VFR airplane back home before the gray skies forced an unexpected overnight stay. The flight home was uneventful. As we buttoned her down a guy drove up in his car to talk about Light Sport Flying, and kept talking for about 30 mins. We enjoyed it.

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