Home away from home

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!

N52667 on the ramp at Fitchburg.

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!

2 thoughts on “Home away from home

  1. Pete Zaitcev

    But you weren’t like that guy who was venting about the 3 knot tailwind and the whole pattern keeping at it, or the one who swore to land against the traffic just to teach everyone a lesson in his superiority. So it’s all good.

  2. Dan Post author

    On my trip to Chatham (http://cardinal.isomerica.net/2012/06/back-to-cape-cod-the-old-colony-rail-trail/) earlier this summer I made the (carefully calculated) decision to take off with a tail wind to avoid fog. That taught me to stop worrying about light winds like this. When I was new private pilot I would always freak out about which runway direction to use when it was a direct crosswind at 4 or 5 knots. I remember an early trip where I circled the airport a few times changing my mind as the wind sock kept swiveling and once I got on the ground it was clear that the sock was limp and just lazily swinging around.

    Basically winds under 4-5 knots are “calm”.

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