Sunday, September 12, 2021

Flying - To Mackinac Island

I was finally able to take Leah on a trip I've been trying to do for over a year now.  Every time in the past that I've planned a flight to Mackinac Island, I get weather-cancelled.

It looked like yesterday would join that list of cancellations, but the weather turned out better than forecast but still with some fun to keep me on my toes.

We got up, had breakfast and headed to the airport.

I first taxi'd to Royal Air to fill the tanks as the Archer is normally stored at tabs rather than full, and I wanted all the fuel for the trip.

Then I requested flight following to Mackinac Island  and we were wheels up at 10:09 am and on our way.  Heckuva crosswind at Pontiac on takeoff.

The air was nice and smooth as I climbed to 4,500 feet and talked to Detroit and then got handed off to Great Lakes Approach.


So smooth my co-pilot decided to take a beauty nap.


Getting close to Saginaw I got handed off to another Great Lakes Approach frequency and crossed over Saginaw and then we flew over a part of Saginaw Bay.


We then got handed off to Minneapolis Center and they were so busy they did not acknowledge my check-in call.  After a few more minutes tried again and got a "N8428S standby" so that was good enough I suppose.  They certainly had their hands full.

Then we had Mackinac island in sight.

That's Bois Blanc Island in the foreground, and Mackinac island is the farthest one.

Got to 5 miles was listening to the ASOS and the CTAF and no one was on.  I did a radio call to Mineapolis that I had the Island in sight and they then said radar services termianted and squawk VFR. So I did.

Coming out of 4,500 and entering the pattern over the water there was a lot of light chop as we descended and the wind was out of 230 gusting 10-21 knots.

I did the calls for landing on Runway 26 and did the downwind over the water as their noise abatement instructs, which makes for a very wide downwind and a long final.  Called the long final, brought the plane in with a whole lot of crosswind correction as the gusts were indeed gusting, and did a nice landing.

Taxi'd to the ramp and they had me park at the day parking in the front which was nice.


Quite a few planes were already there.

We paid the landing fee of $12.50 (It's 12.50 per engine) and signed in and chatted with the attendant.  

We had arrived at Mackinac Island.

An over four and a half hour drive and we made it in under two hours, landing at 11:54 am.

A great day on the island awaited.

2.2 Hours and one nice if challenging landing.


Pigpen51 said...

I live in Michigan, and have only been to the Island once. My aunt was a housemother for several seasons there, for the young ladies who worked on the Island each summer. She loved the experience, and it kept her young.
My uncle and her had owned a beauty shop, next to a bait shop, in the small village of Hesperia, and then a tavern out in the country, called Hi-Tower, named after the lake it sat on. After he passed away, she needed something to do with her time, so she found that job, loved it.
I am glad you had a good time on your adventure. My dad's friend used to fly over Lake Michigan, spotting old shipwrecks, and then go and scuba dive exploring them. I know that I am biased, but Michigan to me is just the best state to live in, having so much diversity in all it offers.
Stay safe, and continue to grow as a pilot, and enjoy your time in the air, away from the craziness down here on firm soil.

Aaron said...

PigPen51: Very cool stuff and neat to know about your connection to the island. The island is hurting for workers at the moment as is most everywhere else. Michigan certainly has a lot to offer in the way of natural beauty and history. I'm certainly enjoying my time in the air.