All went comparatively well and so I came into the mountainous regions of the Alleghenies. Here, somehow, I missed my landmarks and was soon in a quandary as to where Wilkes-Barre, I first intended gas stop, might lie. After a brief but fruitless search in the vicinity of where I thought it should be, I determined to go on to Williamsport, as my guess was sufficient, and I didn’t see the use of using it all up in one spot looking for W-B. I flew for some time and I thought I had my bearings established again, but after a little bit I began to wonder, and as the visibility was getting poorer all the time, I determined to turn in a southerly direction sure of intersecting the Susquehanna River somewhere before getting to Williamsport. Well, that I did at a point about 2 miles northeast of Sunbury although I didn’t know where I was until I flew over Sunbury and saw the name on the roof of the hangar. I was about 20 miles south of 15 miles east of Williamsport. I was glad to see an airport and wasted no time landing on the sod runway. I had the ship gassed, checked the weather and found there were local light snow falls do. As this was not a bad report I went down to the end of the runway and took off. A cub took off right behind me with the two mechanics who had gassed my plane. They were going up for a little practice. We were hardly off the runway when the snows came, and BROTHER, it wasn’t exactly “light” snow. I circled around to get above the bank of the river and figured I’d break out of it soon, but after five minutes flying it became so thick I could barely see the ground they turned back onto the river and headed for Sunbury. By that time I was between the riverbanks and couldn’t see either one half the time. By guests and by golly I finally got back
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field and landed. Weather reports had changed and now the prediction was for an all-day snow. Resignedly, I sat and talked to the men the field and at noon I went into town and grabbed a lunch. As soon as I sat down to eat the snow tapered off and by the time I had finished it had stopped completely. Not waiting for my ride back to the airport I set out on the run and was cranking up and took off, still hoping to make Norwalk by nightfall. Flying over mountainous country was low ceiling and scattered snow flurries is rather uncertain business, and when the wind is changing direction as it was that day, it is really a nuisance. Landmarks are few — always seem to look the same as at least 10 others, and to make a long story short, it wasn’t long before I was once again in a quandary. The trouble was that my compass correction was incorrect for the wind, which had shifted, and as a result I flew In NW in relation to the ground instead of due W, which it should have been. At one time there was a particularly heavy snow flurry and for about three minutes I never saw thing but the windshield and the side windows outlined in white. That was a hell of a long three minutes. Also, the snow had blocked off the vent on the reserve tank and when I pulled the valve, no gas ran into the maintaining. There I was with probably an hour’s gas at the most, not sure where I was, not positive that I had over half an hour’s gas, and over the mountains, and snow flurries. Well, I kept a weather eye peeled, and each time I passed over a community I searched the surrounding countryside for an airport.
Tomorrow, the conclusion of Ced’s travails so far, and the end of this letter.
On Saturday and Sunday, more Special Pictures.