Mifflin Airport Review

I apologize for the lateness of this post - I was tied up with repairing my wing wheel, and replacing leaky air tubing on my glider :-(.  Anyway, here is my (personal, biased, and more than likely insane) take of the airports/airstrips in the Mifflin contest area.  As always, if an airport/airstrip isn't mentioned, that means I think I could put my 18m wondership into it without too much problem.  Also, this entire analysis is done using Google Earth imagery, which can be a year or more out of date.  Therefore, an airstrip that looks perfectly reasonable in GE may have been turned into a potato farm between the imagery date and the present (this actually happened in the Perry flying area when the 'Catos' airstrip was converted to a huge potato operation just before the Perry contest started.  However, in a twist you wouldn't even find in a Hitchcock movie, the potato farming operation actually put in a brand new airstrip right next to the old one - go figure!).  What you generally can take to the bank is that if an airstrip looks abandoned in the GE imagery, it doesn't get any better with age ;-)

And, one last caveat.  I noticed that the GE imagery for this area is woefully out of date.  I saw many images dated 2005, almost a decade old.  A decade is a loonnnnnggggg time for an airstrip, so beware!

The Mifflin soaring area is HUGE!  It extends from well north and east of Williamsport, all the way down into Maryland, almost all the way to Frederick.  Although the contest database, (51 numbered waypoints including 15 airports/airstrips, all of which are usable)  is quite stable and has been for years, it appears that the auxiliary airstrip portion of the database could use some TLC.  Of the 125 or so waypoints in the non-contest control point section, fully 45 were no longer suitable for one reason or another.  As it stands, a pilot would have a 1 out of 3 chance of arriving at an airstrip waypoint in the database and not finding anything!  In addition, several of the waypoints are significantly displaced from the actual landing spot (echoes of the old photo days?), one or two my more than a mile.  Pilots beware!

Mifflin Soaring Area

Mifflin Soaring Area

 

Aux Airports/Airstrips

Homan Airstrip:  As far as I can tell, there's nothing that looks even remotely like an airstrip.  There *might* have been something about 0.5 mi southwest of the airport symbol, but...  Nothing close by either, but at least the fields in this area are generally flat and (at the time of the contest anyway) the crops are low/non-existent.

Homan Airstrip - Nothing there that I can see

Homan Airstrip - Nothing there that I can see

RoadCap Airstrip:  May have been an airstrip here at one time or another, but it looks abandoned now (and even it isn't abandoned, it's too narrow for an 18m ship).  Better off in one of the many nearby fields, or at Gilfert Airstip 5 miles west.

RoadCap Airstrip

RoadCap Airstrip - looks abandoned and is in any case too narrow for 18m

 

Buzzards Field: There *might* be a 130 x 1800' airstrip here, and there might not :-(.  It looks mowed in a 2005 image, and it is well-situated with respect to a very large mansion, but I can't see a hangar or any other structures or markings associated with an airstrip.  My guess is --  not.

Buzzards Field Airstrip

Buzzards Field Airstrip (or not!)

 

Shulls:  There is an airstrip, but it is about 1.5 miles to the east of the airport symbol - beware!

Shulls Airstrip.  Correct coordinates are (40.3174, -77.2839)

Shulls Airstrip. Correct coordinates are (40.3174, -77.2839)

Shulls Airstrip - the airport symbol is 1.5 miles southwest of the actual airstrip

Shulls Airstrip - the airport symbol is 1.5 miles southwest of the actual airstrip

 

Chestnut Hill: I really can't tell about this one.  There was obviously an airstrip here at one time (the access road is named 'Piper Cub Drive'), and it may still be serviceable.  I'm going to leave this one in my personal database, but....

Not sure about this one - leaving it in my personal database, but....

Not sure about this one - leaving it in my personal database, but....

 

Gusler Airstrip:  OK for 15m, but too narrow for 18m.  However, the crops should be low/non-existent at the normal contest time in May, so I'm going to leave this one in.

Gusler Airstrip.  Too narrow for 18m, but OK when crops are low.

Gusler Airstrip. Too narrow for 18m, but OK when crops are low.

 

Sheepshead Airstrip:  Long since abandoned.  Much  better off at Harman about 6 mi WSW

SheepsHead2

 

Blue Knob Airstrip:  Looks like it has been abandoned, or it is a new airport still under construction in this October 2011 image.  Would be nice if it was the latter, as it is just 3.6 mi west of the Dunning Mtn section of the Bald Eagle ridge, northwest of Blair County.  I'll leave this one in for now, pending confirmation.

Blue Knob Airstrip - Can't tell if it has been abandoned or is under construction.  Leaving in my personal database for now...

Blue Knob Airstrip - Can't tell if it has been abandoned or is under construction. Leaving in my personal database for now...

Blue Knob Airstrip - located just 3.6 mi west of the Dunning Mtn ridge, north of Blair county.

Blue Knob Airstrip - located just 3.6 mi west of the Dunning Mtn ridge, northwest of Blair county.

 

Alberter Farm Airstrip:  Looks abandoned (assuming I even have the right field)

Alberter Farm Airstrip.  Can

Alberter Farm Airstrip. Looks abandoned

 

Bierly Airstrip:  Looks like this field has been returned to cropland.

Can't see anything that looks like an airstrip - can you?

Looks a lot like this has been returned to crops

 

Broadt Airstrip:  Looks abandoned.

Broadt Airstrip - Looks abandoned.

Broadt Airstrip - Looks abandoned.

 

Dee Jay Airstrip:  There may have been something about 0.5 mi west of the airport symbol at one time, but it doesn't look like there is anything there now.

Dee Jay Airstrip.  Looks abandoned.

Dee Jay Airstrip. Looks abandoned.

 

Deitch Airstrip:  Nothing there that I can see

Deitch Airstrip:  Nothing there that I can see

Deitch Airstrip: Nothing there that I can see

 

Dutch Country:  Nothing there that I can see

Dutch Country Airstrip:  Nothing there

Dutch Country Airstrip: Nothing there

 

Ecko Field:  Now a housing development

Ecko Field:  Now a housing development

Ecko Field: Now a housing development

 

Egolf Airstrip:  Way too narrow for even a 15m ship, and pretty short too (about 1300').  Better off at Shulls 1.3 miles SSE.

Egolf Airstrip:  Way too narrow for even 15m, and pretty short, too (1300').  Better off at Shulls 1.3 mi SSE

Egolf Airstrip: Way too narrow for even 15m, and pretty short, too (1300'). Better off at Shulls 1.3 mi SSE

 

Flying R Airstrip:  Nothing there that I can see.

Flying R Airstrip: Nothing there that I can see

Flying R Airstrip: Nothing there that I can see

 

Gerstell Farms Airstrip:  Airport symbol is 1mi NE of the airstrip.  Correct strip coordinates are (39.4743, -78.9428)

Gerstell Farms Airstrip:  Airport symbol is located 1mi NE of strip.

Gerstell Farms Airstrip: Airport symbol is located 1mi NE of strip.

 

Hackenburg-Penny Airstrip.  Airport symbol is located about 0.6 mi SW of strip.  Correct coordinates are (41.1590,-76.8966)

Airport symbol is 0.6 mi SW of airstrip

Airport symbol is 0.6 mi SW of airstrip

Hamilton Hill Airstrip:  Nothing there as far as I can see....

Hamilton Hill Airstrip:  Nothing there as far as I can see...

Hamilton Hill Airstrip: Nothing there as far as I can see...

 

Indian Lake Airstrip:  Looks abandoned (X's on runway) and too narrow for even 15m ships.

Indian Lake Airstrip:  Looks abandoned (X's on runway) and too narrow for even 15m

Indian Lake Airstrip: Looks abandoned (X's on runway) and too narrow for even 15m

 

Lamberson Airstrip:  Nothing there that I can see...

Lamberson Airstrip:  Nothing there

Lamberson Airstrip: Nothing there

 

Neiderer Airstrip:  Nothing there that I can see....

Neiderer Airstrip:  Nothing there

Neiderer Airstrip: Nothing there

 

Sankey Airstrip: Looks abandoned

Sankey Airstrip:  Looks abandoned.

Sankey Airstrip: Looks abandoned.

 

Schadels Airstrip:  Nothing there

Schadels Airstrip:  Nothing there

Schadels Airstrip: Nothing there

 

Shimerfield Airstrip:  Nothing there

Shimerfield Airstrip:  Nothing there

Shimerfield Airstrip: Nothing there

 

Spud View Airstrip:  Nothing there

Spud View Airstrip:  Nothing there

Spud View Airstrip: Nothing there

 

Sutliff Airstrip:  Nothing there

Sutliff Airstrip:  Nothing there

Sutliff Airstrip: Nothing there

 

Tallman West Airstrip:  Airport symbol is about 0.6 mi NNE of the strip.  Correct coordinates are (40.3964, -76.9417)

Tallman West Airstrip:  Airport symbol is approx 0.6 mi NNE of strip.

Tallman West Airstrip: Airport symbol is approx 0.6 mi NNE of strip.

 

Vicars Airstrip:  Looks abandoned, which is too bad as it is located just to the north of Altoona (and NW of the old Altoona Intown airstrip)

Vicars Airstrip:  Looks abandoned.  Located just on the north edge of Altoona, just NW of the old Altoona Intown strip

Vicars Airstrip: Looks abandoned. Located just on the north edge of Altoona, just NW of the old Altoona Intown strip

 

Vogelsong Airstrip:  Nothing there

Vogelsong Airstrip:  Nothing there

Vogelsong Airstrip: Nothing there

 

Waltz Airstrip:  Too narrow for even 15m ships when crops are high.

Waltz Airstrip:  Too narrow for even 15m when crops are high

Waltz Airstrip: Too narrow for even 15m when crops are high

 

Berwick Airstrip: Nothing there

Berwick Airstrip:  Nothing there

Berwick Airstrip: Nothing there

 

Buzzard's Gap Airstrip:  Nothing there

Buzzard's Gap Airstrip:  Nothing there

Buzzard's Gap Airstrip: Nothing there

 

Fauser Landing Site:  Nothing therere

Fauser Landing Site:  Nothing there

Fauser Landing Site: Nothing there

 

Hartman Airstrip:  Under heavy (re?)construction as of 9/2013.  Should be considered unusable until confirmed otherwise.

Hartman Airstrip.  Heavy construction activity shown in 9/2013 image.  Consider unusable until confirmed otherwise

Hartman Airstrip. Heavy construction activity shown in 9/2013 image. Consider unusable until confirmed otherwise

 

Krill Use Airstrip:  WAY too narrow for even 15m ships (or even 1-26's for that matter!)

Krill Use Airstrip:  WAY too narrow for even 15m

Krill Use Airstrip: WAY too narrow for even 15m

 

Lake Airstrip:  Nothing there

Lake Airstrip:  Nothing there

Lake Airstrip: Nothing there

 

Raystown Dam LF:  This is not a landing strip per se, but it is not only vital to have in one's database, it is also world-famous due to its inclusion in the Condor Soaring Simulator database for the Miffling flying area.  This is a farmer's field located in a bend in the Raystown Dam reservoir, right on the line from Blair County Airport's runway 30 to the traditional southwest entry point to the Raystown Dam ridge.  It is within easy gliding distance of the ridge at this point, and it is the last (and only) bailout option other than the water when running the Raystown Dam ridge home from the Cumberland area.  As noted in KS's  many articles, it is important to go directly from Blair County to the Raystown Dam ridge and determine immediately if it is going to work, before getting out of glide range of this field!

Raystown Dam LF:  About 6 mi east of Blair County, on a direct line from the airport to the Raystown Dam ridge

Raystown Dam LF: About 6 mi east of Blair County, on a direct line from the airport to the Raystown Dam ridge

Raystown Dam LF:  Not an airstrip, but a handy (and only!) bailout option if the Raystown Dam ridge doesn't work

Raystown Dam LF: Not an airstrip, but a handy (and only!) bailout option if the Raystown Dam ridge doesn't work

 

Sauers Haven Airstrip:  Nothing there

Sauers Haven Airstrip:  Nothing there

Sauers Haven Airstrip: Nothing there

 

The Old Commonwealth Airstrip:  Nothing there

The Old Commonwealth Airstrip:  Nothing there

The Old Commonwealth Airstrip: Nothing there

 

Thomas Airstrip:  Nothing there

Thomas Airstrip:  Nothing there

Thomas Airstrip: Nothing there

Wildcat Airstrip:  Nothing there

Wildcat Airstrip:  Nothing there

Wildcat Airstrip: Nothing there

Frank Paynter

Dr. Frank (TA) Paynter has a PhD in Electrical Engineering. He retired from a successful 25-year civil-service career in 1993 and spent the next 15 years as a antenna researcher at The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH, retiring again in 2008 to become a full-time soaring bum.He is the author of the book “Cross Country Soaring with Condor”, co-authors (along with Scott Manley) the popular Condor Corner column for ‘Soaring’ magazine, and is a regular contributor to the Condor section at SoaringCafe.com.Along with Mark Hawkins, he is part owner of Hawke Tracking, the company that provides SPOT tracking services for contests and clubs. Before soaring came along, Frank was a national champion skydiver and still holds the record for the most number of consecutive dead-centers in skydiving competition. Frank started soaring in the mid-1990’s at Caesar’s Creek Soaring Club near Waynesville, Ohio and instantly fell in love with Cross-Country racing. Now he goes to as many contests as his wife of over 30 years will allow, and spends his winter months racing and instructing in Condor.

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  1 comment for “Mifflin Airport Review

  1. Mark Rebuck
    May 21, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Glad you mentioned Ecko field… I live in that housing development, and I can promise you there is NOT an airstrip. You might managed to land in one of the common areas without killing yourself (if you do, I’ll throw something on the grill while you wait for your retrieve :-)), but I it absolutely does not belong in any airport database.

    Cheers,
    -Mark Rebuck

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