Home > Uncategorized > Live Free and Fly 24

Live Free and Fly 24

I’ve had this plan in the back of my mind for a couple of years – fly to all 24 of the public use airports in New Hampshire in one day. It finally all came together on July 26, 2017 – I was ready, the weather was (mostly) ready, I had no pesky flight students lurking around and a plane was available all day.

I had spent a bit of time optimizing the flight route based on minimum distance – you can see the route in the figure. I would take off from my home base at Keene (airport ID: KEEN) in the southwest corner of the state and either go clockwise or counter-clockwise depending on which way the weather was developing for the day.

The straight line point-to-point distance is 433 nm. The planning chart shows straight lines between successive airports for all legs but one – the leg from Moultonboro (5M3) to Gorham (2G8) has a couple of pink dot way points that are off the straight line. In fact, one of them had me venture into the alien territory of Maine (OMG!!).  This was done to stay away from higher terrain to the west and to reduce the need to climb.

For the day of the flight, the point to point time was estimated at 4 hours 2 minutes with a fuel burn of 42 gals. This did not take into consideration the time it would take to maneuver to enter the traffic pattern, land and takeoff from each airport. I guesstimated it would add an average time of 10 minutes per airport for this. So 24 airports would add 240 minutes, or 4 hours. With stops I would have to buy fuel at some point since Cessna 36C can only carry 53 useable gallons of fuel, roughly burning 9 gph.

You can see on the log sheet that I’ve circled the “Leg Remaining” distance of 199nm and the “Leg Tot” of 2:11 for the airport at Moultonboro (5M3). This is the halfway point of the trip and where I ultimately planned for a fuel stop.

When the day actually arrived, there was morning fog-plus statewide. The winds were calm and were forecast to be light all day. The fog is usually slow to burn off at KEEN, and this morning was particularly slow, delaying my departure until about 10:30. It looked like the weather would be clearing sooner on the coast, so I launched heading counter-clockwise to give the western part of the state a chance to clear before I got there.

Part of the consideration for using Moultonboro as a fuel stop was based on the lengths of the runways I would be using and concerns about weight. It was not an extraordinarily hot day, but it was warm. Density altitude would be of some concern (those conditions when the plane thinks it is higher that it actually is, and the plane’s performance is correspondingly poorer.) Bristol (2N2) has the shortest runway of the group at 1900 feet, which is why I circled it on the log sheet. (Runway length is over on the right in “Notes” also noting if the runway is asphalt or turf.) By the time I got to Bristol I would have already burned off a bit of fuel so the plane was lighter. After re-fueling at Moultonboro, I would soon be using the grass strip at Gorham which is only 2600 feet long. So I didn’t want to take on too much fuel in order to keep the weight down – just enough to get home.

Bristol was interesting. It’s the only field where I had to do a go-around. In fact, I did two. I didn’t see the wind sock until the second pass when I realized there was a pretty good tailwind landing to the north on runway 03 which is why I was coming in too high. So I turned around and landed in the opposite direction. Landing 03 I felt like I was flying through a parking lot….

Some of these airports are really close to each other, and I’d find I was no sooner climbing enroute when I needed to start descending and join the pattern for the next one. This was particularly true departing Hampton. It is only 7 miles to Portsmouth. You have to tune in the ATIS (weather) and contact the Portsmouth tower all in a hurry. I did a circle over the beach to give myself a bit of time.

Departing Concord (KCON) I contacted Boston Approach as soon as I was clear of the pattern and told them my intentions were to do a stop-and-go at Manchester (KMHT) and then continue on to Nashua (KASH), so when I was handed off to Manchester’s tower they knew what I wanted and had me depart with a right turn to KASH.  (I squeezed in between arriving and departing jets, but was too busy/forgot to take photos.)

Then, departing KASH, I asked the tower for flight following and a squawk code so I could cut through Manchester’s Class C airspace enroute to Hampton. No sweat. Departing runway 32 at Nashua the tower had me do a right turn into Manchester’s airspace on course to Hampton.

I had planned to take a photo on short final for every landing, but I often forgot and/or I was too busy flying the airplane. But I got enough to give you a feel for the variety of the airfields in New Hampshire.

The trip took 7.2 hours on the Hobbs meter. My estimate of 10 minutes for arriving and departing each airport was a bit conservative. Assuming the estimated trip of 4:02 point-to-point was correct, then the time arriving and departing each airport averaged just 8 minutes. I burned a total of 56.1 gallons of avgas for an average of 7.8 gph. Not bad for a 180 Hp Cessna, especially considering a good bit of time was spent in full power climbs, and I rarely had the opportunity to lean it out.

The airport with the lowest elevation is Hampton (7B3) at 93 feet. Twin Mountain (8B2) is the highest at 1459 feet. The shortest runway is at Bristol at 1900 feet (asphalt). The shortest grass strip is Hampton at 2100 feet (though there’s a parallel paved runway).  Interestingly, 13 of the 24 airports use 122.8 for the CTAF frequency; 4 of them use 122.7.

Oh. Did I mention it was a beautiful day? Check the pics.


The route.


Log sheet

Navigation log listing airports, runways,  runway lengths, elevations and radio frequencies.












KPSM - Pease

Aligned to enter the right downwind leg at Portsmouth/Pease (KPSM).

KPSM - Pease 16

On short final to runway 16 at Portsmouth/Pease (KPSM), the longest runway in the state at over 11,000 feet. You can do several “touch and goes”!

KMHT - Manchester

Approaching Manchester (KMHT) – a Class C airport. I’m lined up here for a straight-in approach to runway 17 coming south from Concord. They were using runway 06 which is the perpendicular runway, so here I’m actually lined up to enter a left downwind for runway 06.

KLCI - Laconia

Short final to Laconia (KLCI) runway 26.

KERR - Errol

Maneuvering to enter left downwind for runway 33 at Errol (KERR)

KERR - Errol 33

Short final for runway 33 at KERR.

KCON - Concord 35

On final for runway 35 at Concord (KCON). You can see the state capital dome on the left center.

KCNH - Claremont 29

Approaching runway 29 at Claremont (KCNH). Vermont is beyond the first hill.

Dixville Notch

Not an airport, but overflying Dixville Notch.

8B2 - Twin Mountain 27

A bit high, but landing runway 27 at Twin Mountain (8B2). Not in the greatest shape, the asphalt is 2660 feet long.

8B1 - Hawthorne-Feather

Hillsoboro/Hawthorne Feather (8B1).

7B3 - Hampton

Lining up for rwy 02 at Hampton (7B3). You can land on the asphalt or the grass – 2100 feet.

5M3 - Moultonboro

Entering a left downwind runway 20 at Moultonboro (5M3). The halfway point.

8B2 - Twin Mountain

Not just a pretty view of the White Mountains – Twin Mountain airport (8B2) is over there perpendicular to our flight path (the last horizontal line you see before the hills).

5B9 - Dean

In the pattern for Haverhill/Dean airport (5B9)

4C4 - Gifford

That green field in the center is the 2466 foot long runway at Colebrook (4C4).

4C4 - Gifford 22

Approach to landing runway 22 at Colebrook (4C4). It was a beautiful day!

2N2 -Bristol 03

On the turn to final for runway 03 at Bristol (2N2). The shortest field in NH, but paved.

2N2 - Bristol

Overflying Bristol (2N2)

2G8 - Gorham

The 2600 foot long turf/granite strip at Gorham (2G8).

2G8 - Gorham 12

Turning final to runway 12 at Gorham (2G8).

2B3 - Parlin 18

Approaching runway 18 at Newport/Parlin field (2B3).

1P1 -Plymouth

One of those fields is Plymouth airport (1P1).

1P1 - Plymouth 30

Short final for the 2380 foot long runway 30 at Plymouth (1B1)

1B5 - Franconia 36

On final for runway 36 at Franconia (1B5). 2300 feet long.


Taxiing at Franconia (1B5) with Cannon Mtn on the left. (A different day from the circle adventure.)





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