I always enjoy introducing kids to flying—their grins and excitement are infectious to me and I hope to plant a seed in their brains and hearts that they someday grow up to become pilots as well! One of my Boston colleagues and good friend lives near Mansfield Airport (1B9) and has a young daughter who, besides loving anything Frozen, seems to like airplanes. When they visit the airport, she asks her mom whether Pete brought his plane to visit. In fact, last summer, they sent me this photo!
So, on a chilly Sunday morning, I finally got to head up to Mansfield. I tried to get a preheat on the engine since it was in the 30s, but the back-up preheat cart seemed to be overheating the top of the cowling, so I decided to do without. The POH calls for preheat at 10 degrees F, so while I “prefer” to preheat in the 30s, it’s not critical. Instead, I gave the plane a long while to heat up the engine and warm the oil before I started my taxi.
The flight east-northeast was pretty quick at 3,500 feet. I enjoyed a solid tailwind, keeping groundspeed at about 160kts and started my descent at about North Central State (KSFZ) airport, about 15nm from Mansfield. Mansfield was breeze to spot, since it’s situated just northeast of the Norton Reservoir and right next to I-495. I joined the downwind for Runway 32 and made the turnoff into the ramp.
Katy and Avery were just arriving as I started walking to the FBO so I brought them out to the airplane. Avery confirmed she wanted to go fly, so we secured her car seat and popped a headset on her, on top of her hat. She also grabbed the two teddy bears I keep in the back of the plane.
Soon we were taxiing out and waited for a couple of planes in the pattern to do their thing before we could take off. We went around the pattern once and did a touch and go and then exited to the northwest a little to try to go over their house. Then we came back for another full stop landing and that was it. But Avery (and Katy) had fun---Avery did a great job shouting for the intercom.
After a great brunch with the whole family, Katy dropped me off at the airport for the ride home. Unfortunately, my tailwind was now a headwind, so it was nearly an hour long trip home, even at a low 2,500 feet! But except for one or two bumps, the ride was a smooth one.
Calling Bridgeport while 15 miles out, I got instructions to report a 3 mile right base to 29. Two other planes were ahead of me, one approaching a 3 mile right base and another 5 miles straight out on a practice GPS approach. When tower told me I would be #2 after the practice GPS approach, I acknowledged, but couldn’t see him anywhere on my traffic screen or out the window. I was starting to worry as I got closer to the airport and reported at Charles Island that I did not have the traffic in sight.
As the tower did some querying, it turned out the practice plane admitted to being on the GPS 24 approach which they claimed ATC had given them, although the tower said that was impossible since with the runway closed, the GPS 24 approach didn’t technically exist. They broke off the approach and climbed as I turned onto a 3 mile final and was cleared to land.