Boca Raton. It’s Only a Few Dollars More to go First Class


Departing Leesburg, the winds were 360 at 4, clear with 10 miles visibility, temp 21, dew point 09, and altimeter 30.15. Time enroute: 01:07.

“November 85K is cleared to the Boca Raton Airport, via radar vectors to Pahokee, direct. Climb and maintain two thousand, expect six thousand, ten minutes after departure. Departure frequency one two one point one, squawk one five seven five.

This was my IFR clearance out of Leesburg for my trip to Boca Raton yesterday. Boca Raton translates into “mouth of the rat”. Who knew such a tony place would have such an unsavory name?

One of my most frequent destinations is the Boca airport in SE Florida. Boca is a single RW airport with a control tower, located about half-way between Palm Beach International and Fort Lauderdale Executive. Boca is very popular with the biz-jet crowd because of its central location and lower traffic count. The ramp is usually full of Learjets, Citations, Hawkers and other various assorted and sundry private jets. Not surprisingly, most of these jets originate from Teterboro, NJ, near NYC.

Boca started as a civilian aerodrome 1936. It was converted to a military airfield during WWII and its primary use was for basing submarine hunter aircraft. After the war, the property was deeded permanently to the City of Boca Raton to be used as a civilian airfield once again.

Like numerous other trips to Boca, this one was to see my Dad who has a townhome on the Intercoastal Waterway, near Delray Beach. He picked me up at Avitat, a luxurious FBO facility on the field. Avitat pampers its jet-set crowd by serving lots of warm, homemade cookies, iced tea, lemonade and Cappuccinos. The facility also offers multiple flat screen TVs, wi-fi, and plush leather couches. Sometimes I think Dad gets there an hour early just to enjoy their hospitality. At Avitat, the ramp fee is not cheap at $30, but I think he gets at least $30 worth of cookies and Cappuccinos out of them while waiting for me to land. It makes for a fair trade.

After unloading the plane, our usual plan is to cruise North up A1A, (Ocean Drive) from Boca to Delray Beach. Our first stop is to have lunch at Boston’s Restaurant at the corner of Ocean and Atlantic, right on the beach in Delray. Boston’s is owned by some serious Red Sox fans from well….Boston. The grilled mahi sandwich is always awesome, as are the lobsta’ rolls. We enjoyed the sweet tea, and people watching, on their front patio overlooking the beach.

After lunch, we checked out the surf; the water was crystal clear and the beach full of sunbathers. We continued our sojourn on up Ocean Drive, through Manalapan Island (where the billionaires have their beachfront mansions). We finally ended up at the fishing docks in Lantana to check out the day’s catch off the charter boats.

Last night, we caught the Kentucky-South Carolina game. We watched in amazement as the Wildcats battled back to win the game in the closing minutes. Go CATS!

The flight back today was completely different than the one down yesterday. At 1356 Zulu time, winds at Boca were 010 at 3kts, 10 miles vis, 3,600 feet overcast. There was light rain in the area and the ramp was wet.

On climb out, I entered the clouds at 3000 feet and was IMC almost all the way home to Orlando. Inside the clouds it was a bumpy and wet, as expected, from the Easterly onshore flow

Our assigned routing by ATC to Leesburg was a 360 heading on departure, to TBIRD intersection, then Victor 531 to BAIRN intersection, followed by the GOOFY5 arrival into the Orlando area. The GOOFY5 is a coded Standard Arrival Route, or STAR. Like all STARs, it is published for instrument pilots on an IFR flight plan. Assignment of STARs reduces frequency chatter and gives the instrument pilot a pictorial of the expected routing.

Once West of Orlando, the skies became clear and blue, just as I had left them yesterday.

Anyway, here is a link to some pictures and a short video flying into the clouds on the way home. The slide show is best:


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