On Monday Nashua closes the existing runway 14-32 for construction. This leaves Nashua with no runway until the new Runway 14-32 opens, scheduled for September 3. It will be open for helicopter operations but obviously doesn’t help me. Thankfully nearby Fitchburg airport (FIT) has offered free tie-downs for the month to anyone displaced by the Nashua construction.
Since I will be busy this weekend I moved the Cardinal from Nashua to Fitchburg this evening. I was able to get a ride from work up to Nashua and had a chance to do some “hangar flying” with my A&P and a renter at the flight school where I have been training. Finally I headed off to Fitchburg.
It’s a quick hop – just 24 minutes from engine start to engine stop even with a slight headwind. Fitchburg was quiet when I came in and I elected to use Runway 14 which had a light but almost direct crosswind at 5 knots. Soon after I landed another aircraft did some pattern work on 32. In retrospect the airport notes say “surface winds less than 5 knots use runway 32″. Since it was exactly 5 knots I did use 14 but 32 would have worked fine too – there is plenty of runway for me at Fitchburg.
My pattern was well executed and the final approach was very nice. I felt much more ahead of the airplane than when I flew on Saturday. I flared a bit early and aggressively which is probably a combination of old 172 flying habits and the fact that the plane was light with just me and 20 gallons of fuel (the difference between that and a full fuel load is 240 pounds). But the landing was still fine. The plane that was doing touch and goes after I landed had a few ugly ones too!
I picked an available tie-down spot and checked in at the desk. Now I have tie-down #80 at Fitchburg for the next three and a half weeks. Thanks again to the airport – I will definitely be buying fuel before Nashua is back open!