Penn's Cave (N74) PIREP

Brad Z

Final Approach
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Brad Z
I read through this thread, but figured electrons are cheap and decided to start my own thread.
We did a day trip from my home base, Potomac Airfield (VKX), to Penn's Cave Airport, N74. Here's my PIREP.

TL;DR- great day trip!

The flight up was an easy 1:10. With ceilings a bit too low to thread our way out of the FRZ/SFRA VFR, we filed and flew IFR. Aside from getting bounced around inside some puffy clouds, it was a pretty stress free flight. As we approached N74, NY Center got us down to 4,100. We cancelled in the air and continued VFR. Winds were parallel to the ridges running straight down the runway, but imagine strong winds out of the NW might make things a bit more interesting. Flying the left pattern to RWY 25 puts you pretty close to a ridge, so plan accordingly.

The landing was actually shorter than my home base but might seem pretty short if you're used to airports suitable for jets. It has a pretty substantial crown in the middle, so you can't see one end from the other. It also means you're heading downhill on your rollout if you touchdown long, so nail your approach speeds.

A sign points to parking in a grassy area with no discernible tie down points. There was no one else at the airport so we opted to park on the small ramp closest to the cave. No tie downs there either. Winds were not too strong and no T-storms forecasted so we double chocked. Next time I'll bring some portable tie downs.

The walk to the cave was an easy .5 walk along the road leading to visitor center. There's a parallel gravel road that you can walk on too.

We didn't buy tickets in advance (due to wx uncertainties) so we bought tickets on arrival. We did the cave and wild animal tour combo which worked out well. We arrived at about 12:30 but the next available cave tour was 2:25 and the animal tour was 4:00pm. We had lunch and bought a bag of gems to pan for our 6yo future geologist and kept busy until tour time.

The in-house cafe was adequate, but there are also plenty of picnicking areas if you'd rather pack your own. I had the bison burger, presumably a relative of the herd of bison we'd see on the wildlife bus tour.

The cave tour was pretty cool. It was about an hour long and consisted of riding in a narrow electric boat through river in the cave. We've been to quite a few caves...I though this one was pretty neat.

The wildlife tour was 90 minutes long and featured several native species of North American wild animals, including bison, bobcats, timberwolves, foxes, black bears and rams. It was on a bus that went from section to section.

Pro tip for tired kids: the last stop on the tour was adjacent to the airport, so before the tour started we asked our guide to let us out. That saved us the hot walk back and put us back on schedule.

The grounds are also home to the Nittany Antique Machinery show, held twice a year. Next show is September 9-12. I understand that's a popular time to fly in and see some neat old equipment.

So a day with a plane ride, boat ride, bus ride, animals and caves qualified for my son's declaration of "Best Day ever!". I can't really argue with him, lol.
 
Last edited:
I read through this thread, but figured electrons are cheap and decided to start my own thread.
We did a day trip from my home base, Potomac Airfield (VKX), to Penn's Cave Airport, N74. Here's my PIREP.

TL;DR- great day trip!

The flight up was an easy 1:10. With ceilings a bit too low to thread our way out of the FRZ/SFRA VFR, we filed and flew IFR. Aside from getting bounced around inside some puffy clouds, it was a pretty stress free flight. As we approached N74, NY Center got us down to 4,100. We cancelled in the air and continued VFR. Winds were parallel to the ridges running straight down the runway, but imagine strong winds out of the NW might make things a bit more interesting. Flying the left pattern to RWY 25 puts you pretty close to a ridge, so plan accordingly.

The landing was actually shorter than my home base but might seem pretty short if you're used to airports suitable for jets. It has a pretty substantial crown in the middle, so you can't see one end from the other. It also means you're heading downhill on your rollout if you touchdown long, so nail your approach speeds.

A sign points to parking in a grassy area with no discernible tie down points. There was no one else at the airport so we opted to park on the small ramp closest to the cave. No tie downs there either. Winds were not too strong and no T-storms forecasted so we double chocked. Next time I'll bring some portable tie downs.

The walk to the cave was an easy .5 walk along the road leading to visitor center. There's a parallel gravel road that you can walk on too.

We didn't buy tickets in advance (due to wx uncertainties) so we bought tickets on arrival. We did the cave and wild animal tour combo which worked out well. We arrived at about 12:30 but the next available cave tour was 2:25 and the animal tour was 4:00pm. We had lunch and bought a bag of gems to pan for our 6yo future geologist and kept busy until tour time.

The in-house cafe was adequate, but there are also plenty of picnicking areas if you'd rather pack your own. I had the bison burger, presumably a relative of the heard of bison we'd see on the wildlife bus tour.

The cave tour was pretty cool. It was about an hour long and consisted of riding in a narrow electric boat through river in the cave. We've been to quite a few caves...I though this one was pretty neat.

The wildlife tour was 90 minutes long and featured several native species of North American wild animals, including bison, bobcats, timberwolves, foxes, black bears and rams. It was on a bus that went from section to section.

Pro tip for tired kids: the last stop on the tour was adjacent to the airport, so before the tour started we asked our guide to let us out. That saved us the hot walk back and put us back on schedule.

The grounds are also home to the Nittany Antique Machinery show, held twice a year. Next show is September 9-12. I understand that's a popular time to fly in and see some neat old equipment.

So a day with a plane ride, boat ride, bus ride, animals and caves qualified for my son's declaration of "Best Day ever!". I can't really argue with him, lol.

Think ya shoulda put "...my son's declaration of "Best Day ever..." up at the top for the TL;DR'ers
 
That place is about 30 min drive for me snd when I have out of town friends or inlaws I will often take them here for the day. And finish it off with a trip to the now closed roadside America
 
That place is about 30 min drive for me snd when I have out of town friends or inlaws I will often take them here for the day. And finish it off with a trip to the now closed roadside America
Yeah, I heard that it recently closed and everything was auctioned off. I never got to check it out.
 
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