A Southern Maine Lighthouse Tour, From Above

Yesterday I took Alex, Jeff and Jeff’s son Trent flying. Alex and I had returned earlier that day from a trip to Connecticut and New York City for work. It rained on us most of the drive. At times hard. I was concerned the weather wouldn’t be favorable for the scenic flight we had been planning for more than a week.

Alex, Jeff, Trent and me
Alex, Jeff, Trent and me

I arrived at the airport early to do my preflight planning. I calculated the weight and balance, recorded the passenger manifest, and called the Flight Service Station for a weather briefing. I was told VFR was not recommended due to incoming storms and deteriorating conditions. Instead of flying north to Stonington as planned, I decided to say closer to the airport and monitor conditions in flight.

Piers at Portland, Maine
Piers and wharfs at Portland, Maine | Photo: Jeff Olivier

Marcia escorted Alex and me to N739JW so she could show me how to connect the rear passenger intercom system and to answer my questions about the radio and gps. Jeff and Trent hadn’t arrived, so we went back in and waited for them. When they arrived I preflighted the plane, got a clearance for a scenic flight, and departed runway one-eight.

After a brief pass over Portland we turned south toward Ram Island Ledge Light and descended.

Ram Island Ledge Light
Ram Island Ledge Light | Photo: Jeff Olivier
Portland Head Light
Portland Head Light | Photo: Jeff Olivier
Cape Elizabeth Light
Cape Elizabeth Light | Photo: Jeff Olivier

When we were out of the Class-C airspace I turned the controls over to Alex, who did a fantastic job flying. I think he even enjoyed it.

Alex made an excellent copilot
Alex is an excellent copilot
Old Orchard Beach Pier
Old Orchard Beach Pier | Photo: Jeff Olivier

Wood Island Light is visible from “our” beach in Saco. We also can see it from the East Point Sanctuary in Biddeford Pool. Seeing it up close and from the other side was cool.

Wood Island Light
Wood Island Light | Photo: Jeff Olivier

We experienced occasional light rain on the way down. It looked like the clouds were moving in fast and I was beginning to worry we’d have to select an alternate airport and wait out the passing storm. Visibility was reduced by the rain, but I could see the shore and were within VFR minimums. Once we were out of the small patch of rain things cleared up again and my anxiety eased.

A quintessential coastal Maine scene
A quintessential coastal Maine scene | Photo: Jeff Olivier
Cape Neddick Light | Photo: Jeff Olivier
Cape Neddick Light | Photo: Jeff Olivier

After passing Cape Neddick Light we headed out to sea toward Boon Island.

Rolling hard out to sea | Photo: Jeff Olivier
Rolling hard out to sea | Photo: Jeff Olivier
Boon Island Light | Photo: Jeff Olivier
Boon Island Light | Photo: Jeff Olivier
Old Orchard Beach Pier | Photo: Jeff Olivier
Old Orchard Beach Pier | Photo: Jeff Olivier
Airliner landing runway one-one at PWM | Photo: Jeff Olivier
Airliner landing runway one-one at PWM | Photo: Jeff Olivier
Short final for one-one, Portland | Photo: Jeff Olivier
Short final for one-one, Portland | Photo: Jeff Olivier
These are the key points along our route.
These are the key points along our route.

2 Comment

  1. What a neat flight! Wish we could do something similar in Florida for the tweetup, without it costing an arm and a leg! :-)

    1. Thanks, Patty. We could probably go flying. If we split costs four ways it would be around $30-40 per hour each, and we couldn’t fly over Kennedy Space Center. The restricted airspace over that area is always active. :(

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