Destination: Niagara Falls, NY

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November 2012

 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 single engine airplane.

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.

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