On Wednesday I headed back to work after a long stretch of time off after Kiley’s birth. It’s always tough to go back to work after being off so long, especially when work involves being gone so long. There was, however, a little silver lining on this first flight at work.

We were flying Cathay 095 from JFK to ORD (Chicago O’hare), but because there was so much weather in the Northeast, we were routed in a more southerly direction than we normally fly. Normally, we head North toward Buffalo. This re-route was given to us after we started taxiing out for takeoff, and would be the first of five we would be given before we got to Chicago! That’s a lot of changes, even for me, who has been flying in the area a long time.

Once in the air, we were cleared to the Keating and Phillipsburg VORs (ETG and PSB) and I didn’t even need to look them up in the chart because I remembered them from the old days. The Captain, who doesn’t fly around here much, was surprised I knew them off the top of my head, but I told him I’d flown over this area for years. I started flying at Chautauqua on the Saab 340 and then moved over to the Embraer 145 and have crisscrossed this airspace a lot. It was neat to remember my old flying days with names like Dreyer, Williamsport, and Appleton.

It was also neat to be flying over this airspace in the 747-400. Just a few years ago, as an F/O on the Saab, I would never have dreamed that years later I’d be in the same airspace, albeit, much higher, in a 747. Things got even better when we were cleared to Appleton VOR (APE) because Appleton sits just a few miles from Columbus, Ohio, where Peanut, Kiley, and Gus happened to be.

Would I be able to see Columbus, Rickenbacker, and even Groveport? Sure enough, as the clickable map above shows, you can see we flew right over the city of Columbus and I was able to look down on our little neighborhood. I’ve certainly seen it before while flying with Chautauqua, but not from the 747. It was awesome to be so close, and see it from the air, as a way to ease me into being gone for ten days. I got to see home one more time!

You can see a better map of the flight here, where you can interact with it and zoom in, but I don’t know how long the link will work.

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