You are hereJuly/August 2009

July/August 2009

Summer’s winding down, but great flying weather should be around for a while longer, and we have you covered with coast-to-coast adventures. From wild (Burning Man) to mild (spa treatments), we’ve got it all, including a real Western working cattle ranch where you can also earn an initial Citation type rating!

Burning Man, Black Rock Desert, Nevada

For a truly unique adventure, visit Burning Man, in the middle of Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. Once a year, this desolate spot is transformed into a teeming free-for-all of 50,000 artists, musicians, and partygoers bent on having fun in every way possible. A week later, everyone departs and the desert is silent again. Pilots can land here, forgoing the long, hot, drive for a warm “Welcome Home” from the Unicom operator. Dean Siracusa and Shelley Delayne take you along to see what it’s all about and give you lots of tips to make your trip a success, should you choose to participate. Almost anything goes at Burning Man, but it is actually quite well organized, and last year, about 170 planes, from Cessna 150s to bizjets, flew in. The FAA recognizes the landing area as an official airport, so your insurance won’t be a problem if you’re worried about landing “off-airport.” There’s a different theme each year, and artists create giant works of art in the sand. The burning man himself towers 90 feet above the desert at the center of it all. You never know who you’ll run into here; aside from the hippies and artists, there are plenty of mathematicians, CEOs, lawyers, and even the occasional celebrity. All bring a desire to have and share a fun time.

Ocean City, Maryland

Where better to spend the waning days of summer than at the beach? Throw in amusement-park rides on the old-time boardwalk, boat cruises, parasailing, fishing, and famous wild ponies living in a natural setting and you’ve got all the ingredients for a great summer vacation. Author Heather Sable gives you the scoop on the Trimper Amusement Park, owned by the Trimper family for over 100 years. Kids will love the pirate cruises or examining sea creatures with a knowledgeable skipper, and fishermen yearn to take on the deep-sea challenge of the white marlin. Ocean City has a variety of beachfront and bayside hotels, B&Bs, and condos to choose from. Luxurious suites feature Jacuzzi tubs, fireplaces, sunset views, and balconies to provide great people-watching perches. As you might imagine, the seafood here is fresh and fabulous, and you can have yours with Tchaikovsky and white linens, out on a casual patio, or in a cozy wine bar.

Red Reflet Ranch, Wyoming

Red Reflet Ranch is a working cattle and horse ranch in Wyoming. Of course you can ride horses and learn how to rope cattle here, but this is truly a unique fly-in ranch! You can get a Citation rating while you visit! Author and airport manager Anthony Cirincione explains, the ranch can provide initial Citation ratings or recurrent training with a 4,000+ hour instructor using state-of-the-art techniques. If that sounds a bit over-the-top, you can get mountain flying instruction in your own plane, a Flight Review with a Gold Seal CFI, or add a glider rating. You can also spend some time with the author, an A&P mechanic, to get to know the inner workings of your plane and learn how to reduce maintenance costs. Many guests enjoy riding ATVs, dirt bikes, or snowmobiles out on trails where pronghorn and elk reside. For sport, there’s fly fishing and shooting, or you can play tennis, swim, or indulge in a well-deserved massage. With no more than 20 guests, you’ll find the ranch relaxing, with first-class service, luxurious chalets, and truly gourmet custom meals accompanied by one of more than 100 wine varietals. The gourmet cuisine extends to sumptuous trail meals. There’s no light pollution out here, so staff will help you spy on the stars with one of their telescopes. We think you’ll agree the Red Reflet Ranch is a perfect match for aviators and their families.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Find out why spa tourists have been “taking the waters” at Eureka Springs since the 1850s. Author Sandra Friend takes you to this quirky Ozarks town, now designated a National Historic Site, with more than 100 restored Victorian buildings hugging the hillsides and crooked roadways. These days, spa therapy means 2,000 hot tubs sprinkled across the tiny town, day spas, and an abundance of talented massage therapists to heal your aches and pains. In addition to the springs you can visit one of the largest collections of tigers anywhere at Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, where you can stay at the Zulu Safari Lodge, listen to the lions roar at night, and pretend you’re in Africa. Near Eureka Springs, the New Great Passion Play shows the life of Christ in an outdoor drama enjoyed by visitors from around the world. The town also claims to be the B&B capital of the country, with one even named after the Cary Grant classic, “Arsenic and Old Lace.” Whether you’re searching for Ozark country cooking or haute cuisine, you’ll find plenty of both here. The Crystal Dining Room offers black-tie service and was named one of the most wine-friendly by “Wine Spectator” magazine. Or dine underground at the Mud Street Café, built in 1888. Everywhere you turn, Eureka Springs offers a unique experience.

Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica Airport has three fine restaurants, and enough activities to qualify as a getaway without leaving the airport property. And a bonus is that you won’t have to deal with L.A. automobile traffic! Technical Editor Crista Worthy takes us on a tour of her home airport, starting with Typhoon restaurant that features Pan-Asian cuisine and over 70 different Pacific Rim dishes. Enjoy a panoramic view across the runway and toward the ocean. Things really heat up on Monday nights, with live music by some of the Southland’s most talented musicians. We’re talking Big Bands, rock ’n roll, cool jazz, and even country music, all with no cover charge. Upstairs, feast on fabulous sushi and unique sashimi creations at The Hump, also with a panoramic view, as well as an outdoor patio overlooking the airport. A short walk takes you to the Spitfire Grill, offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with a wide variety of choices, including where to sit (inside or out). KSMO has interesting activities to offer as well, including a leash-free dog park, another park for kids, a Sunday flea market, evening theatre performances, a DC-3 monument, and soon a flying museum. We think you’ll agree the Santa Monica Airport is definitely worth visiting.

Plane Sites Part III – Buying and Building Airpark Homes

If you’re considering building an airpark home, you’ve got to read this issue to get important tips from Senior Editor Stephanie Smith. Living in an airpark can be paradise for a pilot, but CC&Rs, local ordinances, lot selection, location, terrain, and price are just a few of the things you need to consider carefully. In addition to securing an aviation-savvy realtor, you’ll get advice on builders, design, and more, so you can build a home you can afford, that works for you, and fits in with the neighborhood. Should your hangar be connected to your new home? Insurance, taxes, and many other aspects of your life will be affected, so consider all before deciding. Then make your airpark dream a reality!

Landing on Hardpan

When flying in the West, who hasn’t thought of landing on that flat, dry lake bed below? Landing on hardpan comes in handy sometimes, and author Greg Illes spells out the techniques. From evaluating the surface, to landing, parking, and departure, you’ll learn how to make use of these dry lake beds, which can provide fun places to camp, or excellent emergency landing sites. You never know when you might need this information, so don’t miss out!