My girlfriends family was having a reunion this weekend near Buffalo, NY. The options were either to drive 6.5 hours, or take the RV and make it in 1:20 each way. Luckily for me(us), the weather worked out to take the RV. Our destination was just south of Buffalo, to the town of Hamburg, NY. Hamburg conveniently has a airport quite close to it - 4G2. 2000' x 30' paved runway.
Flying up we had a nice 10 kts tailwind. It was a perfect day for flying - severely VFR and perfect visibility.
I brought my roommates "extra" SLR camera and took a few shots. For some reason it wasn't letting enough light in. There are so many settings on this sucker, it wasn't time to play with it in the air.
Once on the ground at Hamburg, the locals gathered quickly around the RV and I got asked a ton of questions. One of the guys was interested in building one, so I let him sit in it to see how he liked it. He immediately had the RV grin!
My girlfriends family came by shortly after we landed and we were off to the Erie County fair. This fair was very impressive - it is the second largest fair in NY state, and the third largest in the US. I was quite impressed with it. Lots to do, and the prices from all of the vendors was quite reasonable.
One thing I learned is the harness racetrack for Buffalo is located on the grounds of the fair. My company supplies services for this place. Although today, they were using the track for a tractor pull - and only $4 to get in!
The tractor pull was very impressive. There was obviously a lot of money pumped into these pulling devices. Towards the end we saw some interesting contraptions - I don't know which was more impressive -- the tractor with four V8 Hemi's on it, or the tractor with three jet engines. These guys definitely didn't mess around!
The next morning I was planning on flying over Niagara falls. I did a ton of research on it, as well as spoke to the locals at the airport about the proper procedures. The procedure is covered in the FAR's in section E, part 93 (http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=1&SID=bfee1d0f12310b4fd5f189c26d809366&ty=HTML&h=L&n=14y22.214.171.124.11&r=PART#14:126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52). Basically you have to go by the following rules:
- 3,500' MSL or greater
- Fly Clockwise Pattern
- Do not proceed north of the Rainbow Bridge
- Prior to joining the pattern, broadcast flight intentions on frequency 122.05 Mhz, giving altitude and position, and monitor the frequency while in the pattern
- Do not exceed 130 knots
The locals told me the easiest thing to do was call up Buffalo Approach and state your intentions. They said approach is very helpful in accommodating people overflying the falls.
I found this great graphical depiction of the pattern they expect you to fly around the falls.
I was pretty psyched to fly over the falls, but I was also concerned about some weather building around home. Some rain was moving through, but the conditions were forecasted to be VFR with the cloud tops around 6,000'. Right before I took off (yes, I got ADS-B on the ground in Hamburg!), there seemed to be a line of storms growing in PA. None of that red was in the area the last time I checked the weather. I knew if I booked it home, I could most likely make it around the weather - otherwise, I would have to wait for the whole line of storms to pass east. I decided to skip Niagara falls.
As I was heading home, the line of weather dissipated rather quickly. All of the storm cells indicated in red were now showing in the green color. I totally could of had time to take a look at Niagara Falls. However, I made the best decision I could at the time with the information I had.
Around central PA we ran into the rain. It was a light drizzle and we were easily able to maintain VFR. I turned back the prop to 2,100 in order to minimize any effects the rain would have on it.
It was really a nice day to be flying. Other than the rain, there was a beautiful array of puffy clouds below us.
Great trip in the RV! It would of been great to see Niagara, but that trip will have to wait until another time. With it only being 1.5 hours away, it's not like I couldn't easily talk myself into flying up there again.
Last Modified: August 13, 2023