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Boonville's airfield isn't much more than a field, but it does have gas.  Pilot Bob Keller gases up.
Boonville's airfield isn't much more than a field, but it does have gas. Pilot Bob Keller gases up.

Heard Up North: Pumping gas for flight

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Whether it's from a float plane, a little two-seater, or even one of those little commercial jets, the aerial view of the North Country is unforgettable. You can see the whole topography of the Adirondack range, topped by the high peaks. There are vast skeins of wetlands, rivers, lakes and ponds, and villages stitched together with ribbons of roadways.

The network of airstrips across northern New York is less obvious, but there are just enough to host a community of private planes and their pilots. The airfield in Boonville is typical of the smallest private airfields. It's really just that: a flat, well-mowed grassy field. But it does have its own gas pump. Here's today's Heard Up North.

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We burn about 16 gallons an hour. Hi, I’m Bob Keller. I live here in Boonville and I’ve been flying since about 1990. I’ve got about 6,000 hours up there in the air and I really enjoy it.

This is the Boonville airport just south of Boonville. It’s privately owned by a bunch of pilots in the area and we have two 2,600-foot runways and we do have our own fuel here, which is nice, and some hangers to keep the planes in. So we have about, I think, ten or twelve planes based here. It’s what aviation’s all about.

The airport in Old Forge was reopened a couple years ago by Mike Mitchell. I don’t know if he has fuel up there. And there are other airports scattered around. There’s not a lot of them because the Adirondacks is not conducive to building airports but there’s one Piseco, one in Saranac Lake, Lake Placid, and bunch of ones on the north side of the Adirondacks, Malone, Potsdam, Ogdensburg.

That’s the grounding wire. We always have to ground the airplane to eliminate any chance of a spark when you are fueling it. Better safe than sorry. This plan holds 92 gallons of fuel.

It’s a sense of freedom and also a sense of accomplishment. Flying well takes some skill. I’m a commercial pilot, flight instructor, multi-engine, also have a seaplane rating. You know, to fly well you have to stay sharp, stay current. It doesn’t suffer mistakes easily so I enjoy that.

OK we are good to go and we will take off here.

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