Flight over the Appalachian Trail for LightHawk / Appalachian Trail Conservancy


First off, you need to view this on a real computer with a real screen. Now put your flimsy iPhone away!

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy requested video flights over the Appalachian Trail. The AT passes by my home base, KMMU, not too far away. I determined that the SEAVY intersection would make for a good split into a section towards the NorthEast, and another section towards the SouthWest. This is the first flight, from SEAVY to Mount Greylock in MA. Please also visit the second part. Due to limitations of the memory chip in my VIRB Elite cameras I've done these as time lapse videos. I've set the interval to 1/2 second, so that means we take 2 frames per second, and played back at 30 frames per seconds yields a 15 times speed-up. I figure most people don't want a 2-hour video, just droning along. As the viewer can always pause the video or slow down the playback speed (use [ and ] keys, left bracket, right bracket, in mplayer, for example), I think 15x time lapse makes it more interesting. It was a bit bumpy, and you can see how smooth the flight becomes once I'm not under clouds anymore and have some 2000 ft AGL, starting around 6:26 for example.

Sidenote: Several years ago I read "A Walk in the Woods", by Bill Bryson (it was actually the German translation, "Picknick mit Bären"). It gave a first-person account of what is involved in hiking the AT, and the encounters the two hikers had. The book later was the foundation for the movie of the same name, starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Kirsten Schaal, Emma Thompson. If you have some time, read the book and watch the film!


I have written a Mathematica program that computes me grid points to follow the AT. I started out with the UTM1000 grid (that is 1000m x 1000m gridding and is used for search and rescue), but that turned out to be too dense. As a nautical mile is 1852 meters, I've then computed the UTM1852 grid and used the waypoints derived from that in Garmin Pilot. Here is the UTM1852 grid, overlaid over the AT:



Clip 1 starts with my take-off in Morristown, then I head towards SEAVY. The AT starts around 1:05 (that is the beautiful Lakewood area with Lakewood airport and the lake in the seconds before). Then I pass by West Point, cross the Hudson, and head mostly North. Around 5:42 I leave the Mount Greylock area and I fly to Saratoga Springs. So the AT section is only from about 1:05 to about 5:42 in the clip. Occasionally you can see the trail, but most of the time it's hidden under trees.
Clip 1

I came by West Point, the AT passes actually through the West Point Stadium TFR, but it does not go through the West Point restricted area. Here is a screenshot from Garmin Pilot. The stadium TFR is the blue shaded circle, the West Point restricted area is the blue outline curved area. The yellow dashed circles are the West Point parachute practice areas.



Flightaware has my flight in detail: I've marked in red the approximate beginning (SEAVY intersection) and end (Mount Greylock, MA) of the AT Trail section:



This is my return flight, from Hudson/Columbia back home, over the Hudson. This flight has nothing to do with the LightHawk/AT Conservancy flight, but as I had the camera mounted under the wing anyway and as I prefer to fly home from Hudson/Columbia over the Hudson, passing Manhattan, I just turned on recording again and include it here. The visibility was not the greatest, you find better Hudson/Manhattan/Newark clips on my site than this one. I only include it here because I don't have an answer for the "why not?" question.
Clip 2

FWIW, here is my return flight over the Hudson, passing by Manhattan. Then over Newark, then back home to Morristown:



Copyright 2017 Andreas Lauschke, all rights reserved.