You are hereJuly/August 2015

July/August 2015

Just as we were finalizing this issue, we were struck by tragedy: our co-founder and editor-in-chief, John T. Kounis, passed away suddenly from a pulmonary embolism. In place of John’s usual letter from the editor entitled “Flight Plan,” our publisher and co-founder, George A. Kounis, wrote a heartfelt tribute to his older brother, business partner, and best friend. You can read it here.

As Pilot Getaways moves forward, we will continue to honor John’s spirit of adventure that he brought to each and every issue.

This issue has some fun suggestions for late summer getaways, from two fabulous fly-ins and an aviation museum at one Tennessee airport to mysterious Indian ruins and an exclusive upscale lodge hidden away in the mountains of southwest Colorado. Or, fly to a remarkable corner of the Golden State that will allow you and your family to explore free from summer crowds. Finally, visit a cluster of Upper Midwest cities along the mighty Mississippi River, all conveniently accessed by a GA-friendly airport.

Tullahoma, Tennessee

Tullahoma Regional Airport is always a great pilot destination, as the Beechcraft Heritage Museum, which is filled with some of the world’s most iconic aircraft, sits at the south end of the runway. This fall makes a wonderful time to fly in. In addition to the annual Beech Party fly-in held each October, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) will also hold its final regional fly-in of 2015 here. You can come for AOPA’s Barnstormer’s Party, seminars, pancake breakfast, and town hall meeting with AOPA President Mark Baker. A few days later at the Beech Party, you’ll see dozens of gorgeous Beechcraft airplanes, including the much-loved Staggerwing and Twin Beech aircraft, and have the opportunity to mingle with their owners. Whether or not you participate in the fly-ins, there’s plenty to do in Tullahoma and the surrounding areas. Author MeLinda Schnyder takes you to the Jack Daniels distillery as well as another local distillery. Tour the facilities and compare the processes at both locations. You can play a round of golf, take in a movie at an old-fashioned drive-in, visit the Hands-On Science Center, hike to a beautiful waterfall, or take in a local theater performance. Accommodations run the gamut from camping (either with your airplane or in the state park), to historic bed and breakfast homes, to a beautiful inn converted from an old gristmill. Dining options include great Southern barbeque, fine dining, and casual menus. Tullahoma will be waiting for you this fall!

Lake Almanor, Mount Lassen, and Burney Falls, California

California may be home to over 38 million people, but if you fly in to Rogers Field just south of Mount Lassen, you’ll find a remarkably uncrowded corner of the Golden State that offers peace, freedom, and beauty. If you’re into water sports, spend a few days at the large Lake Almanor where you can fish, waterski, and go boating. Then start driving up the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, one of America’s best road trips. Explore Lassen Volcanic National Park, often called California’s Yellowstone for its geothermal features. Hike to boiling mud pots, steam vents, and aqua lakes, with Mount Lassen’s dormant volcanic peak towering above at every turn. Inside the park, a beautiful lodge offers horseback riding, fishing, swimming, and massage services, as well as all gourmet meals included. As you explore the park, you can visit glacial lakes, a giant lava tube, and an array of huge telescope dishes currently searching for extraterrestrial life. Don’t miss Burney Falls, which Theodore Roosevelt called “The Eighth Wonder of the World,” and camp nearby as Managing Editor Crista Videriksen Worthy did as a child, and again as an adult with her own children. Or head over to a highly regarded fly-fishing resort with gourmet meals where top-notch guides and instructors will see to it that you get the most out of your fishing day, no matter your skill level. You’ll have access to a number of different rivers and streams as well as an excellent golf course nearby. A Lassen-area vacation is one you can bring the kids on and that they’ll always remember: playing in the lake, seeing and smelling geothermal features firsthand, or fetching water for your campsite. Exploring the great outdoors with your family is what summer’s all about.

Cortez, Colorado

After flying to Cortez in southwest Colorado, you can make the beautiful drive up to Mesa Verde National Park and visit elaborate cliff dwellings that are among the world’s greatest archaeological treasures. The amazing structures stand as tall as several stories and, centuries ago, each housed more than 100 people. Although the local Ute tribe was aware of the structures, they weren’t described by science until the end of the 19th century. Early tourists took to stealing artifacts from the sites, which led to the creation of Mesa Verde National Park to protect them. The park’s goal, to “preserve the works of man,” was a first. The name of the park means “green table” in Spanish, due to the green forests of juniper and pine prevalent here. When Managing Editor Crista Videriksen Worthy visited Mesa Verde with her family, they hiked trails, climbed ladders, and squeezed through narrow passageways on ranger-led tours to the magnificent ruins. Come along and see why this park attracts visitors from around the world. You can camp in the park or stay in the elegant Far View Lodge, which boasts views into four states. Enjoy sophisticated Pueblo-Southwestern cuisine in a restaurant with panoramic views, or choose from several more casual options. After you visit the park, you might want to spend a few days at a secluded ghost-town-turned luxury resort, situated in the mountains along the West Dolores River. Ride horses, take a hike, soak in the indoor or outdoor hot springs, and then savor finely prepared meals with other guests. The cabins are original and rustic on the outside, but loaded with amenities on the inside; one even has an indoor hot spring with cold plunge pool. You can also go “glamping” in luxurious tents that are as comfortable as any hotel room. Come discover this special spot!

The Quad Cities, Illinois and Iowa

As the mighty Mississippi River flows south to its eventual end at the Gulf Coast, about 100 miles west of Chicago it passes through a bi-state area that promotes itself as a single community. The Quad Cities are actually five cities: Davenport and Bettendorf, Iowa, and Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline, Illinois. Author Patricia Strutz reveals that these cities joined by a river are perfect for a visit via general aviation. You can visit the museums, parks, restaurants, and riverboats that line the river, and enjoy riverside festivals and live music events that take place seemingly every weekend. Bridge aficionados will be pleased with the five bridges that connect the cities. You can tour Lock and Dam No. 15, a 1,200-foot roller dam with twin locks, and Arsenal Island, the largest government-owned weapons manufacturer arsenal in the United States. With all these cities beside and across from each other, there are plenty of lodging options. Choose a large hotel on the Iowa side right across from the John Deere Pavilion, a museum that’s a delight to anyone interested in gardening or agriculture. Or you can check out a casino on the Illinois side that offers buffets and fine dining right on the river. Camping is another option, especially in summer and fall. While in town, don’t miss the iconic Fifties-themed Maid Rite diners with fabulous shakes and original loose-meat sandwiches. In Moline, you can pick up some old-fashioned candies, soda fountain favorites, and deli sandwiches. Another quintessential Quad Cities restaurant has everything from pancakes to Greek specialties, omelets, and coffees. Quad Cities may just become your regular stop pre- or post-Oshkosh!

Ceilings, Visibility, & Icing – Know the Rules, Then Set Your Limits

Although a Part 91 pilot can legally launch and even begin an instrument approach when the destination is reporting zero-zero, most would agree it’s unwise. When contemplating a Part 91 instrument flight, what does the FAA really say about ceilings, visibility, and flight into “known icing”? And what actually is the controlling factor on the approach? Is it ceiling, visibility, both, or neither? The answer depends on whether it’s a Part 91 or Part 121 flight, and if you throw your own personal minimums into the debate, it can get confusing. In this article, Managing Editor Crista Videriksen Worthy sorts out the legalities of ceilings vs. visibility. You’ll also read about a major clarification with regard to what the FAA does and does not consider “flight into known icing.” Learn the regulations, think about them and your skill sets, devise your own personal minimums, and then go out and practice in the nice late summer and fall weather so you’ll be ready when winter sets in.