Destination: Niagara Falls, NYWritten by Greg Manuel
The Niagara Falls region of western New York offers some breathtaking scenery including one of the seven natural wonders of North America, Niagara Falls. Recently my wife expressed a desire to see the falls firsthand—and I immediately realized this was a great opportunity for a trip in our 1978 Warrior, N35321.
A review of the route from our home base, Albertus Airport (KFEP) in Freeport, Ill. to Niagara Falls International (KIAG) quickly revealed the challenges that I would need to address. First was the decision on the route of flight.
THE TRIP EAST
The most direct route would involve crossing Lake Michigan north of Chicago’s Class B airspace and flying the entire length of Lake Erie to western New York. I wasn’t comfortable with crossing Lake Michigan and a long over-water flight of Lake Erie, so I elected to transition through Chicago’s Class B airspace around the south end of Chicago.
Our early morning departure from Freeport gave me hope of getting clearance through the lower levels of Class B airspace at the south end of Chicago, but alas, this was not to be due to a high controller workload. In my experience, you won’t get much help from Chicago Approach—and this proved true once again.
After skirting around the south end of the Class B airspace, we headed east from Chicago and flew direct to Wood County Regional (1G0) in Bowling Green, Ohio for our intermediate fuel and rest stop. Wood County Regional is a nice place to stop with a municipally operated FBO with 24-hour self-service fuel at a good price: $5.69/gal. An employee on site met us at the plane, took our fuel order and handled the credit card transaction. (This was what they called “self-service”—nice!)