One of the many wonderful perks of my job is I get to travel to horse tracks on big event days. This trip was to Saratoga Springs, NY to assist with the Travers Stakes day. The Travers Stakes day is known as the "Mid Summer Derby", and attracts roughly 50,000 people in attendance. Afterwards, a huge party breaks out in downtown Saratoga Springs. Needless to say, I volunteered to attend this event. Getting up to Saratoga presented its own set of challenges with weather. MVFR was called for all day Friday, along with some slow moving rain storms along the route. There was a lot of zig zagging in order to maintain VFR the entire way up there.
My victim for the flight was my friend and coworker Ken. He seemed to like the idea of the 2 hour flight over the 7 hour drive!
A screen capture of some of the weather we encountered. Luckily it stayed south enough of Saratoga Springs for us to be able to sneak in there.
The airport staff at 5B2 got a good laugh of the attire transformation I went through in their bathroom. Entered wearing shorts and a T-shirt, and came out looking a little more presentable.
It was a muddy day at Saratoga. Luckily with my all access badge, I had great access to the entire track.
In the paddock for the big Travers race. This is Wicked Strong - he finished second in the race. Of course the real reason I was in the paddock was to try to make it on live national TV, which I was successful at!
After a tough day on the job, a few libations were consumed by my great team of coworkers. It's difficult to believe I get paid for this!
Downtown Saratoga Springs on Caroline Street at approximately 2am. The party is still going strong. I've never experienced anything like this in horse racing.
So the big concern this weekend was I somehow misplaced my iPad and Google Nexus tablets. I spent all weekend trying to figure out where I left them. The last place I remembered putting them was on the wing as I buttoned up the airplane. But there was no way I figured I would leave them on the wing? Luckily, when I went to pay my fuel bill at the airport and mentioned I misplaced them, the lovely young lady working behind the counter gave me a reassuring smile and handed me what I had thought I'd lost! Booyah! The trip got better!
Back in the air and on the way home. The weather was MUCH better today. We did a pass over the racetrack.
Saratoga County airport.
To get over the Catskill mountains I decided to go high.
Nice tailwind up here - 15 kts.
Bumped up to 10.5K'.
Scooting across the ground at 180kts.
After passing over the Pocono mountains, we dipped under the clouds for the remainder of the flight home. 1.7 hours home, and 2.3 hours up there. Way better than driving!
I am going to be away for the next few weekends, so it was perfect timing to send my autopilot into TruTrak to get it upgraded to a Vizion 385. TruTrak was running a great promotion at Oshkosh that I am taking advantage of. This upgrade will give me altitude select, vertical speed select, GPS steering, vertical GPS steering as well as a few other add-ons. While I don't need any of these features now, I am planning on getting my Instrument Rating, and these upgrades will assist greatly in flying in actual conditions to relieve some of the intense workload of flying through the clouds. removing the control head out of the panel was the relatively painless.
The not so fun/easy part was removing the pitch servo, which also needed to be send in for the upgrade.
Both the control head and the pitch servo removed and ready to be sent back. I am excited to get the upgraded AP in the airplane!
Last Modified: August 13, 2023