It was not too long after takeoff that I was able to spot the intersection of several roads that were on my map. It was all lit up and easy to see. The air was really smooth and the view was great.
I flew to that intersection and turned on course to Allentown. I cross-referenced several landmarks from my map to the outside and it looked like we were flying a perfect course.
We passed our first checkpoint (the 360 radial of Solberg) a little late, but understandable because of the climb out turns. We called Allentown approach a little while after that. But, before we reached our second checkpoint, we were being vectored for the approach into Allentown.
The airport was still a ways away (10 – 15 miles), but it was easy to spot the beacon. We headed for it. As we got closer, I had a hard time picking out the runway lights, since I wasn’t too familiar with the airport. I found them, set the heading bug and flew the downwind. We followed a helicopter in and did a stop and go. The approach was going very well, but I pulled out the power a bit too soon, so we landed slightly hard.
We headed back out and turned on course to Caldwell. We flew over a very pronounced cloverleaf intersection. I found it on the map and realized we were a bit off course. I was able to correct that. About halfway through the trip back, Tom asked where we were. Apparently, pointing to the map and saying “here-ish” was neither as accurate nor as precise as Tom would have liked. So, we started lost procedures.
I found our exact location and Tom said, “take me to Andover.” I plotted the new course and we were on our way. We found the airport and circled it a couple times trying to get the lights on using pilot-controlled lighting. It wasn’t working. We gave up and headed back to Caldwell. The tower had just closed, so the airport was now a Class E. We announced ourselves on the CTAF and landed.
It was a nice trip and night flying is quite amazing.
Plane: N677DM (C172)
From: CDW – ABE -