Cessna 172 and our pilot, Brian Allen
Sunday - day 5
Sunday was our last day in the Straits.
After checking out of our motel, we went to the St. Ignace airport where I had chartered a Cessna 172 for a 90 minute flight. We were checked in by the owner of the company (Great Lakes Air) who I had not seen since the 1970s. His father was the Chief of Police when I was a Mackinaw City police officer. I would never have recognized him if I hadn't heard his name. I don't think he remembered me at all.
They don't regularly do lighthouse tours, but I knew where the lights were and worked out a route with our pilot which let us photograph 17 lighthouses, the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City and the Mackinac Bridge in about 90 minutes. I rode shotgun, where I could consult with the pilot, while Linda had the two seats in back, where she could photograph from both sides of the plane. We were taking pictures during almost every minute of the flight, taking about 700 photos between the two of us during the flight. It was cool, clear and calm - a beautiful day for the flight.
Many of these lighthouses can only be seen from the air or by boat and I had never had a close look at three of them (Skillaglee Light, Martin Reef Light and Spectacle Light) before. Photos from this trip will be soon be used to expand our pages devoted to Straits of Mackinac Lighthouses.
I think the pilot enjoyed it as well. He asked me to email some pictures of the lights to him so he can print one for his father. Much of the flight was at about 500' and there were many times when the plane was tipped about 75 degrees as were circled a light. I had a fabulous time. Linda enjoyed the plane ride for the most part. There was a couple of times that the quick tight turn around the lighthouses almost made her sick... but she says it was a great way to get some wonderful photos that you can't otherwise get.