We All Scream For Ice Cream – Penn State Creamery

People always say there are never any guarantees in life. While that may be true most of the time, I think I have found an exception. I can guarantee that once the magical goodness that is Penn State University ice cream hits your mouth, you will be guaranteed joy in direct proportion to bowl size. In fact I will take this time to warn you right now. Do not eat Penn State ice cream, it will forever ruin you. You will never enjoy anything as spectacularly creamy and delicious as this ice cream. All other ice cream will be referred to as ‘that garbage’. I even heard a story of a man who spent 3 months hitch hiking his way from Seattle on Chicken trucks to get to the creamery. Alright, I made that last part up but you get the idea.

Penn State started producing dairy products in 1865 as part of their agriculture school. They began offering dairy short courses shortly there after. People still come from all over the world to attend the short courses. In fact you might recognize some of their students. Two men by the names of Ben & Jerry. That is right they learned how to make it right there in Penn State.

So what does this have to do with a blog about flying you may ask? Well it makes a great day trip and I recently did it with my friends Matt & Pascale. The university is served by University Park airport KUNV which is 5mi from the creamery. The flight left Morristown MMU to pick up my friends at Wings Field LOM and then to University Park. We navigated using VORs on the way there. Lately I feel like I have been following the magenta line too much. It was good to know I can still track a radial and actually get to my destination.

When you are about 10min out make a call to unicom and ask them to call a cab. As you approach the airport from the east you will have Nittany Mountain in between you and the airport. This airport recently added a control tower and the charts aren’t completely updated so check the notams for frequencies etc. As you can see the airspace is designated Class D but the airport still shows uncontrolled. However the tower is most definitely there and active. We were told to fly around the mountain and report a left downwind for 24.

New Control Tower
Landing on 24

We were marshaled to a parking spot and walked right into the terminal. The woman at the desk was very friendly and told us our cab would be there shortly. Since we wanted to spend a few hours there we had the cab drop us off downtown to get some food. It is your typical college downtown lots of restaurants, diners, and even more places selling blue and white lion garb. The creamery is a short walk from downtown.

One huge stadium
The Lion - Pascale & Me
Berkey Creamery

You may want to look ahead at the half-gallon flavors if you intend to bring some home. So many students bring home ice cream for their families that they have a special thermal bag you can purchase to keep things cool. You can also bring your own cooler. Either way they provide you with enough dry ice to keep everything frozen for the ride home. Before this trip I took a few orders from friends so I ended up leaving with 9 half gallons. It was pretty heavy so we debated leaving Pascale at the airport and taking the ice cream. A man has to have priorities right? OK so it wasn’t THAT heavy no one had to be left behind.

The ice cream crew
Lots of ice cream inside the terminal
Lift with your back not legs

The cab rides were about $12 each way and there are no landing or ramp fees if you get fuel. Overall it made for a fun trip and something a little different from your typical $100 hamburger. If you give it a shot let me know how it worked out for you. Oh and I will take a half-gallon of Peanut Butter Swirl thank you very much.

Dulles International Airport and the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum

After scrubbing three prior attempts we finally did it. For almost a year I have been planning on flying into Dulles International to go to the Udvar-Hazy Air & Space museum with my friend and fellow pilot Matt. We finally lucked out with the weather and maintenance. The trip would start at Morristown MMU then head to Wings Field LOM to pick up Matt then into the Washington DC SFRA and on to Dulles IAD.

Flying VFR into the SFRA takes a little more planning but it was actually pretty easy. You can find all of the information you need right here. Here is what worked for me, your mileage may vary. The first thing I did was take the online course. You must pass that course to fly anywhere within 60mi of the DCA VOR and I recommend you print out the certificate and keep it into your flight bag. Next I had to work on the flight plan. I picked the WOOLY entry gate and put that in for my departure point with a direct route to Dulles. I filed using the CSC Duats mobile website on my phone. The flight plan is always filed as IFR and in the comments you must write SFRA DUATS.


As we approached the Westminster VOR we contacted Potomac approach and they assigned us a transponder code. We were then cleared into the SFRA at 6,500ft. The next thing that happened was quite strange. As we approached the Class B airspace Potomac explained that they cannot clear me into the bravo, the next controller had to do that. So I had to spiral all the way down to 2,500ft only to be cleared into the bravo minutes later. It really didn’t make any sense but it worked and no F-16s where scrambled. We ended up being number two to land on runway 19C behind a Netjet. The FBO we chose was Landmark and they are right at the approach end of 19C. After taxing over we were shuttled right from the plane into the FBO’s building. I asked them to top off the fuel and asked for a shuttle to Udvar-Hazy. We were immediately off in a minivan on our way to the museum.

Final Approach to 19C

I won’t get into too much detail on the museum itself because you can find much better photos and history elsewhere online. To sum it up rather quickly, it is amazing. Just think of almost every historically significant airplane and it is there. Everywhere you look there are planes on the ground and hanging from the ceiling. I highly recommend making the trip out there.

I forgot my Jet
Long taxi out
Flying out of Dulles

Flying out was simply the reverse of flying in. The FBO picked us up at Udvar-Hazy. I squared up the bill with the front desk, filed the flight plan on my phone, and we were on our way. The landing fee and ramp fee came to $38. I think it was completely worth it. A taxi would have probably cost almost as much and would not have been even close to the level of service. The FBO even has free coffee which Matt gladly participated in. I used a free program for my Blackberry called GPS Logger II to log the flight path for the whole trip. You can see the flight plan part of our trip home on Flightaware.

DC to Wings track

The flight back was straight forward without any hiccups. We elected to stay down at 2,500ft the whole way to check out some scenery. This was by far my longest cross country to date and an awesome day trip. Total Hobbs time came out to 4.5hrs.I highly recommend giving it a try. Let me know how it works out for you.


NJ Airport Adventure Quest – Update

As I mentioned in an earlier post my current goal is to land at every public-use paved airport in New Jersey.  I have been making steady progress on the list for my last few flights. As of this post I am more than halfway through. Assuming the list is correct there are 37 paved airports in the state. I have completed a full landing at 21 airports so far. With less than half left to go I decided I should update you a bit with a pireps and pictures I took along the way.

Hackettstown N05 – While there wasn’t much to say about the airport itself I decided to take the plane up to 10,000ft for the first time. There was a wicked wind aloft that made for some impressive ground speeds for a little 172.

Millville MIV – Dubbed ‘America’s First Defense Airport’ Millville is a former military base that is now a public use airport. Checkout this page for more on the history of the base. While I was there I saw a huge Chinook helicopter practicing landings and hovering.

Cape May WWD – Formerly known as Naval Air Station Wildwood. Cape May airport has a museum on the field and the Flight Deck diner. We ate a the diner and can report it was good and had fairly typical prices for your typical NJ diner.

Solberg-Hunterdon N51 – Spotted the MetLife blimp while I was here. I think it was in town for the Barclays golf tournament.

Monmouth BLM – This airport has active skydiving. I learned that while you should never over fly the field during jumping you can continue to land. There were several planes in the pattern ahead and behind me all while chutes came gliding down. Pretty cool.