Christmas has begun. I had planned to fly the club plane to Nantucket for the annual Christmas Stroll down Main Street, an informal fly-in that had been organized by members of the Fitchburg Pilots Association on the New England Pilots Facebook page, but family constraints made a shorter flight a better idea. I ended up flying to Groton on the southern Connecticut coast instead. The last time I had been to Groton was in a Citabria to attend a fly-in organized by the legendary Angela Rodriguez Leedy and her yellow Top Cub with her man-eating tundra tires.

I had expected the weather to be basically clear, but found a thin, broken layer of clouds at 3000 feet. I started off flying under the clouds, but then thought, “This is stupid,” and I found a gap in the clouds and climbed up above the clouds to 4500 feet. What a view. What calm above the turbulence beneath the clouds. Later in the day, on the flight home, I climbed up to 5500 feet and got an even better picture of what was going on with the weather. South of Worcester, I saw smoke from a smoke stack climb to 3000 feet and flatten out at the top as if it had run into a flat, glass panel. The picture of the temperature inversion, a cold layer of air on the bottom and a warm layer on the top, had never been painted so clearly for me before.

At the Groton airport, I walked into Cafe 511 and was greeted with a cheerful surprise. The restaurant was decorated for the Christmas season, complete with a baby in a bassinet sucking down a bottle of milk, and an advertisement for a visit by Santa next weekend. I had a great Cuban ham sandwich.  Even the controllers were in a cheerful mood. Imagine that!

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