July 11-24, 1987
July 11: Is this Whitefield? We were on another vacation adventure with the Kindreds, this time to the northeast. We had just taken off from Niagara Falls and were on our way to Whitefield, New Hampshire. After I had landed and tied down the airplane, Liz went to obtain our rental car. She returned to the airplane after only a couple minutes to announce to everyone that, yes, we had landed at the wrong airport. How embarrassing! A flight instructor and an instrument pilot landing at the wrong airport.
Looking back, all the clues were there. The runway was too short, the terrain was different, the FBO was on the wrong spot on the field, but we were tired and wanted to land. We piled back in the plane and did a textbook-perfect short-field takeoff. It was 90o with no wind, and high terrain all around. We flew five miles north to the correct airport.
July 14: Down low and dirty. It was Rob's turn to fly, the destination was Bar Harbor, Maine. We flew the ILS approach down to minimums, and there was nothing but fog. After the missed approach Rob made a routine ILS at Bangor. The weather at Bangor was 700 overcast, visibility one mile. It was an hour's drive from Bangor back to Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor's visibility was less than fifty feet. It was the thickest fog I had ever seen.
July 23: $400 flat. We landed at Bedford, Massachusetts to pick up Liz's sister Susan, and her husband Paul. We then flew across Cape Cod Bay to Provincetown, on the tip of the Cape. A good time was had by all, but it was time to return to Bedford. During the preflight I noticed a flat right main tire. General aviation maintenance was not available. The local commuter airline maintenance personnel were not willing, and had no intentions of helping repair my tire.
It was now 5 P.M. I called Chatham Field and Hyannis Field on the Cape, but they could not help us. Several mainland airports gave us the same response. Finally a man at Fitchburg (85 miles northwest) sounded interested. He said, "Let me get this straight. You need a tire, a tube, a mechanic with tools, an airplane and a pilot to get your tire fixed. We have all those things. How do you intend to pay for this?"
I gave him my MasterCard number and he instructed me to call back in ten minutes. That is how long it would take him find out if I was good for whatever he intended to charge me. At this point money was not the object. If we were forced to stay another night in Provincetown, hotel rooms for three couples and another day of car rental would cost at least another $300. Susan was already late to pick up her two-year-old son Michael from day care. Paul was going to miss a night class.
The mechanic working overtime, a pilot to fly the airplane, the airplane itself, the tire and the tube would all cost about $400, if they did not gouge me. I was pleasantly surprised when I called Fitchburg back, and they told me they were willing to come and fix my tire for $400. An hour and a half later they made good on their promise and our MasterCard.