Northeast Flying Summer Roadtrip

In June and July of 2022, Katherine and I (and our dog Magic) took our 1984 Mooney M20J on a flying 'road trip' from Orlando, FL up the east coast to Quebec City and back again, 3306nm of flying, and making lots of stops in the Northeast on the way to and from! We had a great time and saw lots of cool cities. We especially enjoyed the Hudson River SFRA flight in NYC. Lots of photos and details about the flights linked below.

Trip Overview Photos

Heading North

Heading North

Departing Orlando. Baltimore to New York City.

Hudson Corridor

Hudson Corridor

The Hudson River SFRA.

New England

New England

Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

Camping in Maine

Camping in Maine

Camping near Acadia National Park.

Quebec City

Quebec City

Heading into Canada. Exploring Old Quebec.

Heading Home

Heading Home

Heading back into the USA. Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee.

About Us

We are Ryan, Katherine, and Magic!

About Us
About Us

A little bit about me

I bought my Mooney in January 2021 with the intention of making serious cross-country adventure flights. Last year, my wife and I made a similar (much longer!) flight with our dog (Magic, a Cavalier King Charles) all across the western US. That was our first exposure to serious cross-country GA flying and we both found that we absolutely loved it and planned to do more. Our general goal is to visit all of the lower 48 states with the airplane, and maybe even Alaska.

Fortunately, both Katherine and I work remotely as Engineering Managers, which makes the whole 'flying nomad' thing possible for us. (Both in terms of flexibility and the significant costs of endeavours like this) Other than these cross-country flights, most of my flying is instructional, I'm a part-time independent CFII in Orlando and I instruct a few days a week my own enjoyment and love of teaching. I'm very nearly at 1000 hours TT by now, just over 400 hours of which is XC time.

For this trip, we set out from Orlando, FL on June 30th with the goal of visiting Quebec City and touring the Northeast. We had a general idea that the trip would take around 3 weeks to complete, plus or minus. As with my other trip, I had only vaguely planned the first few stops, and planned to be as flexible as possible, staying with family where possible, and booking hotels last minute, etc. Ultimately this trip took just over 3 weeks, and we were able to stay mostly 'on schedule'. Fortunately, I never had to divert from the airport I planned to reach when I took off. I did trim a few possible stops from the trip (Niagara Falls, Toronto area) due to schedule concerns and needing to be back in Orlando by late July.

Before departure, we knew that we wanted to go to Quebec City, visit family in Philadelphia and Southern NH, do the Hudson SFRA, and go camping in Maine near Acadia National Park. (We brought along lightweight camping supplies this time!) Anything else we could squeeze in was a bonus, with an eye towards checking off some more states.

Most of the flights were IFR on this trip because the Northeast is obviously a super busy place and it was generally nice summer weather. Unlike our last trip where it was mostly VFR due to insane mountainous area MEAs, with no significant terrain to worry about, IFR just made this trip much easier. Since my autopilot is currently inop (grumbles angrily about Aspen quality control), this would all be handflying.

The Airplane

This is N374SM, our 1984 Mooney M20J.

  • 1984 Mooney M20J 201
  • Typical Cruise: 160-165 KTAS @ 12 gph
  • Fuel: 64 gal usable
  • Equipment: Garmin GNS480 WAAS GPS (oddball unit, but capable), Aspen E5 PFD, King KAP-150 autopilot (currently inop due to a failed Aspen EA100 box), Insight G3 Engine Monitor w/ Fuel Totalizer

Trip Stats

  • Total Distance: 3,306 nm
  • Direct Distance: 2,917 nm
  • States Visited: 12 (and 1 Canadian province)
  • Hours Logged: 29.2 (All daytime, 2.8 IMC)
  • Total Days: 23
  • Flying Days: 10
  • Legs: 14 (3 VFR, 11 IFR)
  • Longest Leg: Orlando, FL (KORL) to Suffolk, VA (KSFQ) - 544nm direct (591nm actual)
  • Longest Day: Orlando, FL (KORL) to Suffolk, VA (KSFQ) to Baltimore, MD (KMTN) - 703nm direct (773nm actual) - 5.8 hours logged
  • Shortest Leg: Lawrence, MA (KLWM) to Laconia, NH (KLCI) - 53nm direct (56nm actual) - 0.8 hours logged
  • Approaches Flown: 4 (KTEB, CYQB, KPHL, KGKT)
  • Fuel Purchased: 215.1 gal - $1,682.78 ($7.82/gal avg)
  • FBO Services / Overnights / Fees - $459.77
  • Oil Quarts Used: 4

Trip Legs

Leg 1 - Orlando, FL to Suffolk, VA

Dodging the usual thunderstorms on the way to our first fuel stop.

Leg 2 - Suffolk, VA to Baltimore, MD

Exploring Baltimore and Ft. McHenry.

Leg 3 - Baltimore, MD to Teterboro, NJ/NYC

Making the quick hop up to Teterboro/NYC, touring Manhattan and enjoying some Broadway shows.

Leg 4 - Teterboro, NJ/NYC to Newport, RI

Flying the Hudson River SFRA before heading over to Newport on the 4th of July.

Leg 5 - Newport, RI to New Haven, CT

Grabbing some delicious pizza in Little Italy at Frank Pepe's.

Leg 6 - New Haven, CT to Lawrence, MA

Flying through some rainy weather to Massachusetts and visiting family in Windham, NH for the week.

Leg 7 - Lawrence, MA to Laconia, NH

A very short hop for lunch near beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.

Leg 8 - Laconia, NH to Bar Harbor, ME

Heading up to Maine and setting up camp near Acadia National Park. Exploring Bar Harbor and the park.

Leg 9 - Bar Harbor, ME to Quebec City, Canada

Into Canada, and exploring Old Quebec and the falls.

Leg 10 - Quebec City, Canada to Burlington, VT

Picking through some ugly weather and returning to the USA. Exploring Burlington, VT.

Leg 11 - Burlington, VT to Elleville, NY

Stopping for fuel in Upstate NY and having a little picnic by the airplane for dinner.

Leg 12 - Ellenville, NY to Philadelphia, PA

Heading down to Philly to visit Katherine's mom and spend the week.

Leg 13 - Philadelphia, PA to Gatlinburg, TN

Over the mountains and through some IFR weather to spend a couple days near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN.

Leg 14 - Gatlinburg, TN to Orlando, FL

Magic and I make our first trip together without Katherine, heading home to Orlando.

Final thoughts

Overall this was another amazing flying adventure. We will absolutely do another one of these as soon as we can! We've now been to 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces in the airplane and I think we will definitely hit all 48 soon :) Before the last trip, I could hardly imagine flying more than 1 fuel stop away from home and now it feels almost routine. You fall into a rhythm very much like a road trip, but the scenery is much better! GA flying is a great way to see the country!