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Old 01-21-2003, 09:32 AM   #1
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Day trip destinations

I'm starting a new topic here... think of this as "Trip Reports" for pilots. I'm going to cross-post some messages from a little group I have on Yahoo! Groups just to get the ball rolling...

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Old 01-21-2003, 09:34 AM   #2
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Meigs Field (CGX) - Chicago

A great fly-in destination for a day trip or a meal is Meigs Field in Chicago. It's 135nm from Indianapolis Metro so a round-trip shouldn't cost you more than about 2.5-3.0 hours in your typical single-engine rental.

Beware of the high "landing fees" and unusual security procedures.

We paid $54.80 today which breaks down as follows: Security Screening: $8.00, Landing Fee: $12.00, Parking Fee: $12.00, Single Catagory $20.00, Airport Concession Fee: $2.80.

You and your passangers will need to present drivers licenses or state-issued ID's for photo copying. In addition, the pilot will need to present their pilot's license for photo copying. You'll also have to fill out a form for the aircraft including owner's name, etc. They'll issue you a security pass which you'll need to present when you return. When we went last year, they even used a metal scanner on us and checked our bags. Of course, they never checked the inside of the plane, so if we were so inclined to do something destructive, the security screening (at $8.00) would have been
worthless.

Some interesting pictures:

http://media.followell.net/gallery/meigs2001
These are from a trip last year. Lots of good photos of the approach into Chicago.

http://media.followell.net/gallery/meigs2002
These were taken today. These are mostly pictures from after we left. We traveled along the shoreline at 1800MSL to Benton Harbor, Michigan, and then flew direct to Metro over South Bend. Check out the pictures of the South Bend airport.

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Old 01-21-2003, 09:38 AM   #3
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Cedar Point in Sandusky

Saturday 9-28-02: Cedar Point in Sandusky

What was to be an 8am departure was pushed back to almost 11am due to un-forecasted dense fog. When the fog finally burned off, we were able to lift off and fly through a well positioned hole in the broken layer just off the end of runway 15 to get on top for our 90 minute flight to Sandusky (KSKY). Today's aircraft was N801AL, a rental Cessna 182S, and one of my favorite planes on the Metro fleet. Before long, we had settled into our cruising altitude of 7500 in clear blue skies and calm air, with a puffy broken layer just one to two thousand feet below. The terminal area forecast for airports near Sandusky called for clear skies upon our arrival, but when we were just 50 miles out, there appeared to be no end for the clouds. I located a nice gaping hole just below the plane, dumped out all the flaps, and sunk down below to complete the rest of our journey underneath the clouds. Unfortunately this provided us with a pretty bumpy ride, and my non-pilot passenger's pea-sized bladder needed to be emptied soon. We decided to turn back to Findlay, Ohio (KFDY) which had just pasted under us moments ago. After an uneventful landing on runway 7, we taxied to the only visible structure, a hanger building along runway 7-25. Soon we were on our way, and as we lifted off, we noticed the FBO at the end of runway 18. Oh well. About 25 minutes later, and we had made another uneventful landing on runway 9 at Sandusky.

As we were taxing to the ramp, the Unicom guy said, "There's three rows of parking in the grass on your right. Just park anywhere; the grass should be dry." We turned into the grass, and started to slow down. I added additional power, and we came to a complete stop. Uh-oh. The grass wasn't dry. In fact, it was soaked. I notified the guy on the radio, and they sent help right away. The nose wheel was half buried, but fortunately, no damage was done to anything (including the prop!). They towed me to the paved ramp, and hosed off the mud.

Sandusky's airport is a popular destination for the many attractions this area has to offer, and this family-run FBO is very nice. Inside, they have a lunch counter where they'll cook you a fresh hamburger, a customs office for their Canadian visitors (it's an official port-of-entry airport), and they provide shuttle service to Cedar Point for a nominal fee (and it would appear other attractions as well). The round-trip shuttle to Cedar Point was $8 per person, a pretty good deal when you consider Cedar Point charges $9 to park your own car, and the shuttle drops you at the gate. In addition, they charged $5 for parking the plane. I don't know if this would be waived with a fuel purchase, but since we'd only burned about 20 gallons from our 88-gallon rented Skylane, I didn't see any reason to refuel.

Cedar Point is an incredible park, if you like roller coasters. I think this park has more roller coasters than any other park in the country, and several are in the record books even today. The Millennium Force is the tallest and fastest in the world, standing at 310 feet and with a peak speed of 93MPH. Expect at least an hour wait at the better rides. The admission for adults is $42 (which seems to be a little on the high side), but several of the rides make it almost worth it! As always, expect to pay the typical $10 for a cheeseburger and Pepsi.

Our shuttle arrived at exactly 9:30pm local time for the return ride to the airport. The park is barely 4 miles from the airport, so the ride is quick, and by 10pm local time, we were departing runway 27 for a quick Cedar Point view before turning on-course direct KUMP. Clear skies prevailed the entire trip, but a thickening haze and close temperature/dew point spread had me somewhat nervous. We began the trip at 6500 feet but eventually descended to 4500 feet because I couldn't see much in the distance and therefore couldn't determine if there were clouds ahead or not. It just turned out to be think haze. We had utilized Air Traffic Control for VFR Flight Following most of the way back just so we had someone else watching out for us. When we were about 15 miles from Metro, Indy Center handed us off to Indy Approach, who told us to expect runway 23R. Heh… Looks like they center guy put in the wrong airport identifier for us. I advised the controller of the mistake and that we had our actual intended field in site, and minutes later we were on the ground. The return flight was another 90 minutes exactly (expect a few more minutes in the C172).

This is a great (but somewhat expensive) day or weekend trip from Indianapolis. For more information, check:

http://www.cedarpoint.com

http://www.airnav.com/airport/SKY

Paul
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