A Flight Simulator Odyssey

by Charles Gulick

Stupendous Colossal

Chart: New York
En Route Coordinates:
   Aircraft: N17258, E21228
   Tower: N17283.678, E21248.226
   Aircraft: 1500
   Tower: 14
Heading: 061
Time: Daylight

You're on final approach to Runway 06 at Igor I. Sikorski Memorial Airport in Bridgeport, CT. This town had no less a character for mayor in bygone days than Phineas T. Barnum, the circus entrepreneur. Born in 1810, he began his show business career at the age of 25 by exhibiting a black woman, Joyce Heth, whom he claimed was over 160 years old and had been George Washington's nurse. In 1841 he opened the so-called "American Museum," which was an exhibition of freaks and curiosities, including the dwarf Tom Thumb and The Bearded Lady. In 1850 he made a genuine contribution to culture by managing an American tour for coloratura soprano Jenny Lind, the Swedish Nightingale, and one of the most famous opera stars and recitalists of her time. The first performance of Barnum's circus, "The Greatest Show on Earth," was in Brooklyn in 1871, and ten years later he merged with rival showman James Bailey to form the famous Barnum and Bailey Circus.

Your approach is over Long Island Sound, and airport elevation is 17 feet. (The tower position is a short way up the runway, and is a beauty for watching yourself come in, or re-playing your approach.)

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