by Charles Gulick
Maid of the Mist
Title: MAID OF THE MIST
En Route Coordinates:
Aircraft: N17935, E19339
You are entering the Niagara River Canyon for one of the most engrossing rides you'll ever take--one that will tax your skills and test your judgment all the way.
You are to follow the canyon. It will not always be immediately evident which way it turns; the wrong turn will likely take you into an abstract never-never land. What should be made absolutely clear is that you must keep your altitude at about 500 feet. You'll be safe (at least as far as altitude is concerned) even down to 400 feet. But the Niagara River will swallow you and your airplane if you get much lower. This river is not at sea level. Also, you must keep as close as possible to the center of the canyon.
You'll pass under two bridges if your route is correct. As you approach the first, you'll find that the canyon walls are higher than they seemed a moment before. When the second bridge is in view, you'll know you're on the homestretch, and when you've passed under that bridge you'll know it's time to apply some power.
Water pours over Niagara Falls at the rate of 200,000 cubic feet per second, generating electric power shared by the U.S. and Canada. In your canyon flight you'll see the American Falls first, then the Horseshoe or Canadian Falls. The former are 1000 feet wide and drop 167 feet, the latter 2600 feet wide with a drop of 158 feet. The structure you see as you approach the American Falls is the 282-foot Niagara Observation Tower.