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!

This is the second part of the flights for LightHawk and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy. You may want to look at part 1 first. The first part goes from SEAVY intersection (in NJ) towards Mount Greylock in MA, and the second part, this page, goes from SEAVY intersection towards the Susquehanna River / Harrisburg, PA.

Again I point out that this is in timelapse, 15x. Due to limitations of the memory chip card on my VIRB Elite cameras, I have to take fewer frames, 30 fps would fill up the memory card too fast. 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), this should not be a big limitation.

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 that section of the AT:



Here is the set of waypoints in Garmin Pilot before the flight:



You can see that the AT briefly is under Allentown class C airspace (magenta circles around Allentown).

Here is clip 1:
Clip 1

It starts with my take-off in Morristown, then I head towards SEAVY. The AT starts around 1:01 (that is the beautiful Lakewood area with Lakewood airport and the lake in the seconds before). Some notable points: around 1:36 you can see High Point, aptly called High Point as it is the highest point in NJ. You can see a small statue there at the top, surrounded by the High Point State Park. The city to the West of the ridge is Point Jervis. High Point is the beginning of the Kittatinny Ridge that we're about to follow -- as the AT follows the Kittatinny Ridge from here all the way to the Susquehanna River. Note that the Delaware River is the state border to PA, which is already quite visible here. So the highest point in NJ is actually pretty close to PA. Here we turn left (SW) and follow the AT which follows the ridge. Around 2:37 we overfly Sunfish Pond, which is directly at the top of the ridge, alerting us that the Delaware Water Gap is just around the corner. Around 2:44 you can see the Delaware Water Gap coming into view, where the Delaware cuts through the Kittatinny Ridge. At 2:46-2:47 we're directly over it. The Delaware is still the state border here, so now we're entering PA and stay inside for the rest of the flight. Next, we're getting closer to the Allentown class C airspace.

I get close to Allentown's class C, but stay outside:



Around 4:19 you see us approaching Hawk Mountain and the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. It is a beautiful area for hiking, and a nature preserve -- great to hike from the ground. Around 4:26 we're approaching the Pinnacle and then head West. Around 4:36 you can see the Schuykill River and New Kennsville Lake with its dam coming into view. Just on the NW side is Port Clinton, where the Schuykill and the Little Schuykill come together.

As the AT goes through class D of Muir Air Force base, which is military, and under the restricted area 5802, I have flown a bit further N, outside of Muir's airspace and outside of the restricted area. So here I lose the trail a bit around 5:25. I have a Piper-24 coming above me in opposite direction, 900 ft. above me, probably also flying around the Muir class D airspace. The ADS-B traffic alerter in Garmin Pilot showed the target in yellow:



Around 5:35 you see DeHart Reservoir coming in. As it is directly under the restricted area 5802, I stay N of it and am no longer over the trail. After a while you can already see the Susquehanna River in the distance. After a while I recapture the trail and continue towards the Susquenhanna. The Kittatinny Ridge ends shortly after the river. Around 6:20 you can see Duncannon, and now I turn left, leave the Susquehanna River and AT and fly to Lancaster. So the AT section is only from about 1:01 to about 6:23 in the clip. Occasionally you can see the trail, but most of the time it's hidden under trees.

Flightaware has my flight in detail: I've marked in red the approximate beginning (SEAVY intersection) and end (Kittatinny Ridge and Susquehanna River) of the AT Trail section:





Copyright 2017 Andreas Lauschke, all rights reserved.