You are hereJuly/August 2008

July/August 2008

Summer’s Here!

Summer is in full swing and this issue is chock-full of great travel ideas for summer and early fall including a little side trip for those visiting EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh air show. In this issue, we also continue our 10-year-anniversary celebration with a look back at our favorite Fly-in Beaches, Mountain Escapes, and Seaplane Getaways.

Vancouver, Washington

Experience the best of the Northwest on the northern banks of the beautiful Columbia River. The snow-covered volcanic summit of Mt. Hood rises sharply to the east; at sunset on warm summer evenings it takes on the rich pink hue of Northwest salmon. You’ll land at Pearson Field, the oldest continuously operating airport in the United States. And, in the country’s oldest wooden structure still used as an airplane hangar, you can visit the Pearson Air Museum that has an assembly of beautiful, historic aircraft, such as one of only three 1913 Voisin III, a 1941 de Havilland Tiger Moth, and a Formula One Air Racer. Next to the airport is Fort Vancouver, where you can experience what life was like in the early 1800s, during the heyday of fur trading. Summer might be the best time to visit, as you can join in with re-enactors making bread, pressing furs, and trying carpentry with authentic tools. Vancouver is a great walking town, with shops galore, a Farmer’s Market, and hiking trails nearby. Hungry travelers will love the great restaurants, and the accommodations that range from the Hilton to quaint B&Bs will suit any style. So much fun so close to the airport makes this a wonderful pilot getaway!

New Braunfels, Texas

New Braunfels is a family-friendly destination, especially during warm weather when you can spend a good portion of your day wet… either in the #1-rated Water Park in America or lazily tubing down a spring-fed river. Senior Editor Stephanie Smith takes you to this friendly German town right in the center of Texas. Around 1845 when Texas was annexed by the United States, about 7,000 people emigrated here from Germany. You can celebrate with the current residents during Wurstfest each fall. This town is a beer drinker’s and sausage lover’s delight, but you can sample excellent local wine, too. And let’s not forget Schlitterbahn. With 17 water slides—some that even push you uphill—over its 65 acres, your kids will remember this place forever. You can also enjoy floating down the Comal or Guadalupe rivers while watching catfish and turtles playing in the aqua-blue water. Nearby Gruene is a country music hotspot with antique shops, fine dining, and the oldest dance hall in Texas. You can stay at the Schlitterbahn Resort, a quaint B & B, or any number of bargain motels and hotels. But be careful, your kids will be begging you for an encore next year!

Wisconsin Dells , Wisconsin

Feeling the heat after a few days at the AirVenture Oshkosh air show? Well pick yourself, your family, and your plane up for the short flight to the Baraboo Wisconsin Dells Airport for some all-American vacationing with a water theme. As writer Fran Severn-Levy explains, you can tour fantastic sandstone formations on the Wisconsin River in a most unique way: on a DUCKS, the same type of amphibious landing craft that climbed the beaches in Normandy and Iwo Jima during WWII. You’ll power up over ravines and plunge into the river, but if you’d like to go faster, you can take a 700-hp jet-boat ride. However the best way to cool off may be the water parks. There are 21 of them with more than 200 waterslides to choose from! Some are indoors, some are outdoors, and many have different themes. Later you can enjoy and old-fashioned drive-in movie theater or stroll along the Riverwalk. There’s a wide selection of affordable hotels and restaurants for families, along with more upscale resorts.

Paso Robles, California

One of California’s most exciting wine regions is Paso Robles. After spending a few days enjoying truly fabulous wines served in a relaxing atmosphere, you will feel comfortable whether or not you are a wine expert. Technical Editor Crista Worthy explores this sprawling area, from the wide and flat east Paso with its larger wineries and challenging golf to the rolling, oak-shrouded hills of west Paso with small, boutique wineries that feature terrific Rhône blends. Visit an olive farm for the best olive oil you have ever tasted, stay in a luxurious villa where your French doors open to an expansive view above the vineyards, or sleep in a luxury suite right above a winery. Downtown Paso sports a number of lively restaurants, a beautiful park, a historic inn with mineral Jacuzzis in the rooms, and festivals year-round. Located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Paso Robles is uncrowded and surrounded by the natural beauty that is classic California ranch country. You may just make this your regular wine-country getaway.

Seneca Falls, New York

Fly to Finger Lakes Regional Airport for a wonderful weekend in Seneca Falls. Steeped in American history and surrounded by lakes and canals, the old town is home to a number of historic buildings and was the birthplace of the Women’s Rights Movement. Several museums pay tribute to the accomplishments of a number of extraordinary women, including female pilots like Amelia Earhart. You can hike to the tallest waterfall in the northeast, the 215-ft. Taughannock Falls, or catch a summer concert in the park. Don’t miss the wineries, either; the mild climate here is ideal for grapes. When you’re hungry, you can choose between some of the best chicken wings in the U.S., or savor traditional Austrian cuisine in a modern room. You can even dine in a real castle! A wide variety of B&Bs can be found here, as well as traditional hotels in which to end your perfectly relaxing days in Seneca Falls.

West Fork Lodge, Montana

There is a wonderful lodge tucked up against Idaho’s Bitterroot Mountains that’s a paradise for pilots. As author Mike Sidders explains, Tex and Heidi Irwin settled at the West Fork Lodge three years ago after traversing the country in their own Cessna 172 and they’re here for the long haul. They’ll do almost anything to make you comfortable and happy! Sleep in the comfortable lodge rooms or rustic cabins with kitchenettes, or just camp under the wing of your own airplane. With a wireless Internet connection, you can even stay connected to your business if you bring your laptop. You’ll enjoy bountiful and delicious breakfasts and dinners at the lodge and the Irwins will be happy to pack you a picnic lunch. Trout are waiting in the nearby river, or you can just enjoy the solitude of a hike through the forest. The lodge is also a great home base from which to explore Idaho’s wonderful backcountry airstrips.

Using Electronic Charts – Fly Legal and Save Trees

Did you know you can chuck those paper IFR charts and still be legal? That’s right, for about a year now the FAA has allowed Part 91 pilots to fly with electronic charts that are valid, up-to-date, and the functional equivalent of paper charts. In this article, Technical Editor Crista Worthy gives you an overview of the kinds of systems that are available, from portable to in-panel, at all price ranges. Advancing technology has really brought down the cost of some pretty amazing features: full legal DUATS briefings, terrain, weather, highway-in-the-sky systems, flight and fuel planning, and so much more. These charts will automatically switch from departure to enroute to arrival to airport taxi diagrams. And since they’re georeferenced, you’ll see your plane on the chart and know exactly where you are, even when you can’t see outside. For VFR days, you’ll see your plane flying on an exact copy of a current sectional. Fly safe and save trees! How cool is that?