Niagara Falls

Let's take a trip to Niagara Falls.  This can be a 1, 2, or 3-day adventure, depending on what the pilot and passengers agree on, so note in your answers if you would like a multi-day excursion.

What: A trip you will remember probably all your life.  Well, until you get Alzheimer's and can't remember anything, but even then, who knows?  We will fly up to Niagara Falls and take a tour around the falls at 3,500 feet, the lowest legal altitude.  On the way up, we fly over Buffalo at 3,000 feet, and from that vantage point you see Lakes Erie and Huron, and this tiny land mass that separates them.  It is an amazing site that no pictures can really express.  I really think that is even more impressive than the falls.

We will fly to the Niagara Falls International airport.  This is close to the falls, nearby lodging and meals, and allows for options for multi-day excursions for those planes staying longer.  Those flying for the day can refuel their planes and bodies.

How Long: Well, that depends.  This could be a fantastic 2-day adventure, with one day taking ground transportation to the falls and touring it from down low - really low, as in under them.  Possibly that could even be done in one day if the pilot isn't too tired after a really really long day.  A 3-day adventure could include some of the many hikes in the area, or a tour of Toronto.  So really this is all about what the pilot and passengers want to do (i.e. the pilot can take as much input from the passengers as he or she wants to, but what's important is that everyone in the plane want to do the same thing).  So post a comment or note in your RSVP if you would like to stay longer and we can see if there is a plane and pilot to accommodate you.  But don't feel cheated if doing it all in one day, it is an easy day trip, with a flight time of only about 2 hours one way.  There is plenty of time to fly up and back, have a lunch while there, tour the falls at 3,500 feet, and still get back before dark.  Note that if staying multiple days, you will need to find a place to stay, ideally one that allows cancellations less than 24 hours.

Passengers only (required reading) : I'm charging $103.30 for the event fee through PayPal.  $3.30 is the fee for PayPal, and $100 will go toward your flight costs if you wind up attending.  The $100 is not payment for your flight , nor is it a guarantee of any kind that you will be able to fly or be provided any services whatsoever.  It is only, and I stress only , an event fee to hold your place on this event.  If you cancel in time and someone on the wait list can take your place, then you can get a refund (minus the fee), otherwise don't expect one unless your flight is canceled.  Please note that you will owe the balance of your flight cost to your pilot on the day of the flight , so bring a check or cash to cover the balance (check with your pilot to make sure they will accept a check).  Note also that the pilots can only give you estimates for the flight cost; the FAA requires that we do not exceed actual costs, and those are not known until after the flight.  Additional costs, such as lunch or lodging are not included in the estimates.  Note also that pilots renting planes have monetary obligations and if you cancel late, for any reason , you may not get all or any of your event fee refunded.


Note that you must answer all of the required questions or you will be removed from the attendees.  This is true even if you get on the waiting list.


REFUNDS: You can get a refund if your flight is canceled, you cancel and someone takes your place, or you are switched to a different pilot/plane and want to cancel.  Refunds do not include a refund of your PayPal fee (e.g. $1.80 or $3.30). Note that each person pays their own way insofar as food, lodging, rental car, etc.

MEETING US: Those who want can meet outside the Starbuck's at the South Lakes Village Center on South Lakes Drive in Reston, and we can carpool to Leesburg or other airports. If you want to carpool from a different location, indicate that in your RSVP or send me a note and we can add it to this description. Of course people can always meet at the respective airports; specific instructions for meeting at the airports will be sent via email to the attendees prior to the flight.

FLIGHT TIMES: The flight is approximately 2 hours one-way (depending on a lot of factors), plus some time for ground operations, so expect around 5.0 hours total flight costs (shared).  Of course all the planes differ in speed, so there can be a lot of variance in this number.

EXPECTED ITINARARY (for Alan's plane, departing Leesburg):

  • 9:00am Depart Starbuck's
  • 9:30am Arrive Leesburg
  • 10:00am Depart Leesburg for KIAG (Niagara Falls International)
  • 12:00pm Arrive at KIAG
  • 5:00pm Head back to the airport
  • 6:00pm Depart KIAG for return flight
  • 8:00pm Arrive back at Leesburg
  • 9:00pm Arrive back at Starbuck's


An information e-mail with your pilot’s phone number will be sent prior to the trip. Please take the phone number of your pilot to help coordinate during the trip.

The following is info on the pilots and planes. Pilots: email Alan if you will be able to provide an additional plane; use the info below as a guide.

  • Woody
    • Private pilot with 250 hours, working on instrument rating
    • Plane Info:
      • Cessna 172S (N1057R)
      • 330 lbs. payload not including the pilot, 4 seats
    • Trip Info:
      • Meet at Leesburg (KJYO) or Manassas (KHEF) airport
      • Meet around 8:30
      • Flight time is 2.5 hours each way
      • Cost around $280 per person with 3 people
      • Cancellations after 5/14 will incur a penalty
  • Mike
    • Pilot since 1981, 2,000+ hours
    • Plane Info:
      • 1977 Beech Baron 58TC (N410DR)
      • 1,000 lbs. payload not including the pilot, 6 seats
    • Trip Info:
      • Meet at Hagerstown airport (KHGR) or carpool
      • Meet around 9:30
      • Flight time is 1 hour each way
      • Cost around $100 per person if most seats are filled
  • Matt
    • Pilot Info: Private pilot about 200 hours.
    • Plane Info:
      • 2004 Cirrus SR20 (N614CD)
      • Based at Leesburg (KJYO)
      • Payload 450 lbs. not including pilot
    • Trip/Flight Info:
      • Flight cost $75 per hour
      • Expected flight time is around 5 hours total
      • Meet at the Leesburg terminal at 9:30.
  • Alan
    • Pilot Info: Private pilot since 1993, about 930 hours.
    • Plane Info:
      • 2007 Cirrus SR20 (N634SF)
      • Based at Leesburg (KJYO)
      • Payload 380 lbs. not including pilot
    • Trip/Flight Info:
      • Flight cost limited to $150 per person
      • Expected flight time is around 5 hours total
      • Meet at the Starbuck's at 9:00 and we can carpool, or meet at the Leesburg terminal at 9:30.

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  • Alan

    Really an awesome flight, with 6 trips around the Falls circuit. Thanks, Mike, for all your extra effort, and everyone who attended for making it a really memorable day.

    May 18, 2013

  • Lydia G.

    Enjoy! I loved thus flight when we flew during the colorful Autumn month of October. Hope you eat as the same quirky roadside eatery as we did in 2009!

    May 17, 2013

  • Monica

    you have space for one more?

    May 17, 2013

  • Rose B.

    Hi Alan & Mike, I might be able to take a few passengers, but I am only able to go for the day on the 18th. I'll get back to you with a definite answer in a couple of days with my payload info (C182, JYO, IFR current). I might have a conflict. I'm from Western NY, visited the Falls many times in my youth but have never been there by air (I usually land at DKK and haven't made it farther North yet). It has been on my bucket list for a long time. Thanks for organizing, it seems I always have a conflict on the days you select, but I keep a watch for opportunities.

    May 3, 2013

    • Alan

      Let me know when you know for sure, Rose. It would be great if you can make it.

      May 3, 2013

    • Rose B.

      Hi Alan, I cannot make it on Saturday. I just got my MRI results back yesterday and I have a tear in the medial meniscus (left knee) and have been told to take it easy before surgery. I think Niagara Falls would be too much activity for my aching knee. Sorry.

      May 14, 2013

  • Nikita V.

    Sorry, folks, unfortunately I have to bail out on the flight. I have family issues to address. Hope you all have a fun trip.

    May 13, 2013

  • Bob

    Plans changed I can make th trip. I'm VFR, but not current. I'm flexible & could meet with Mike early if he wants a right sweater.

    May 12, 2013

  • Mike

    My kitchen pass expires in the late afternoon. So I'm thinking of going up to KHGR early to get the plane and can meet my passengers at KJYO around 9:30am. Have time for lunch with overflights before and after at KIAG. Will probably fly back to KHGR and drive any passengers back to their cars at KJYO. Right seat would be available on the KHGR-KJYO leg for anyone that is ready to be out of Vienna by 7am.

    1 · May 9, 2013

    • Woody

      Ahh, Well where ever the group goes, I'll tag along.

      May 10, 2013

    • Kajal

      I would love to do Maid of the Mist if there is time! :)

      May 11, 2013

  • Nikita V.

    Folks, I would love to come, but I am also only able to go for one day - Saturday the 18th. I need to be back that day. So, if you are planning a multi-day trip, I will have to bail out.

    May 3, 2013

    • Woody

      It shouldn't be a problem as long as you have your BFR and you can scan for traffic to ensure the safety of flight while I'm under the hood. I'll handle the flight portion and the radio portion. Contact me via e-mail so we can set something up.

      May 8, 2013

    • Nikita V.

      Sorry I am out of touch. I am good with being your seeing eyes. I can probably do flight following comm if you just want to focus on flying. Maybe you will get me to fly a little on the way back.

      1 · May 10, 2013

  • Woody

    Oh boy, everyone is taking High Performance aircraft's! I feel like I need to break out the DA40 instead of the 172, haha.

    May 10, 2013

  • Kajal

    I just got off the waitlist :) what is the next step? I would like to fly with Alan, if possible, since his trip seems to be the most cost- effective and closest location to me. Thanks!

    May 8, 2013

  • Frank P

    Are the pilots going IFR?

    April 30, 2013

    • Alan

      IFR may be an option for some pilots. Each pilot makes their own go/no-go decision, though often we will discuss the weather and that decision on the morning of the flight. Some instrument-rated pilots always fly IFR whenever possible for added safety and proficiency, regardless of the weather.

      May 1, 2013

  • Ian

    I'm willing to go multiple days if others are up for it, just need to know at least a week ahead of time

    April 4, 2013

  • coffeepeople

    Oh, no, not again! I'll be in Colorado!

    April 4, 2013

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Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

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