Airport Flight Paths

Airport Flight Path

The flight path of this small rural airport goes directly over the area I have been scouting on the mountainside in the background.  Here I  am looking east down the valley.  Mount Surprise (summit elevation 2194-feet) rises off the picture to the right, and Mount Moriah is behind (summit elevation 4049-feet).

On my two recent Mount Surprise Scout 1 and Mount Surprise Scout 2 explorations I experienced low flying aircraft almost directly above my position.

On the first scout the aircraft was a small propeller driven private aircraft.  On the second scout three large military cargo type aircraft roared overhead.

With aircraft suddenly appearing from behind mountains as they come in for a landing, or taking off at 60-miles per hour from the runway, it is easy to be suddenly exposed to observation from the air.  Because of the forest canopy and limited vision outside of the immediate area, I may hear these aircraft with a small window of warning time but cannot know where they are in the sky until they are virtually upon me.

Airport Lesson

A lesson on airports – this aerial photo shows how the Gorham NH airport is closely aligned with the area of my two recent scouts on the slope of Mount Surprise

The arieal photo makes it all-too clear.    The area of my last two scouts is but 1-1/2 to 2 miles  from the end of the Gorham airport runway.  Worse still, the area is almost directly in line with the airport runway so planes taking off and landing will tend to be directly overhead and flying low.

Here is my point of view with boots on the ground, but a narrow window into the sky through which I must guess where the aircraft might pass and so choose appropriate cover:

Forest Window

Looking up through the thick forest trees, I can hear the aircraft but where will it pass by? Straight above? To the left or to the right?  One thing is certain: when the plane does come into view, it will happen very quickly and I may be seen.

 Lesson Learned

Areas near airports, even small rural airports, can make concealment problematic even when in deep forest and mountainous areas.

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