You are hereMarch/April 2005

March/April 2005

Spring is here!

This time of year, our thoughts turn to the warmer flying season ahead and, for some of us, to landing on grass airstrips. Some love landing on a lush, well manicured lawn, while others prefer a grassy bush strip in the mountains. This issue features both kinds of strips, including a bush flying school in New Jersey that can teach you the skills needed to land on most any kind of airstrip. Not to worry if grass strips are not your style—this issue features paved strips, water runways, even snow landings.

Grand County, Colorado

Here in Grand County, the sky seems bluer, the sun shines brighter, and light rays break through scattered clouds to create a surreal radiance. Deep in the Rocky Mountains at 8,200 ft., Granby-Grand County Airport serves the towns of Granby, Grand Lake, and Hot Sulphur Springs and is a gateway to outdoor adventure. Whether your adventure consists of hiking, canoeing, fishing, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, or merely soaking in the hot springs, you’ll agree that everything’s a lot more vivid in these mountains.

Andover, New Jersey

Most people expect a top-notch bush flying school to be in the mountains. But just an hour from New York City? Andover Flight Academy may not fit the stereotype, but it certainly does teach great tailwheel skills. Our senior editor, Jessica Ambats, started her flight training here, and just had to share this place with our readers. In addition to teaching bush pilot skills, the airport is within Kittatinny Valley State Park, so great fishing, mountain biking, and hiking are just a short distance from your tiedown.

Petit Jean, Arkansas

Camping just steps from your airplane is a dream for many. Mix in great fishing and hiking, plenty of wildlife, and a spectacular night sky, and you might think you really are dreaming. But—pinch yourself—this is Petit Jean, one of Arkansas’ best-kept secrets.

Madden’s on Gull Lake, Minnesota

Does springtime start you looking for a romantic setting for you and your significant other? Madden's Resort is surrounded by water on three sides and served by a plush, grass airstrip, so flying there is like escaping to an island. But not your typical deserted island—this one has beaches, water sports, four excellent golf courses, just about any sport imaginable, and, best of all, an amazing spa. And if that’s not enough, this resort is owned by pilots, so you can even get a seaplane rating during your stay.

Hampton, New Hampshire

Joe Aversano’s popular Airfield Cafe is in southern New Hampshire at one of the few fields that has continuously offered flight training in Piper Cubs since 1945. You’ll step back in time as you land on the grass strip next to vintage aircraft ranging from a 1930s biplane to a DC-3, you might believe you’ve stepped back in time. The nostalgic décor inside the Cafe certainly adds to this romantic feeling. With great food and a friendly atmosphere, you might agree with Joe’s comment that “The people at this airfield are just incredible!”

Flying M Ranch, Oregon

According to author Cal Thomas, one of aviation’s rewards is the accomplishment that comes from having applied learned skills in a new situation. For Cal, his first landing at the Flying M Ranch was the perfect opportunity for that. The grass and gravel strip that serves the “M,” as locals call it, is in the eastern foothills of the Oregon Coast Range, only 35 nm southwest from Portland. This challenging mountain airstrip is a lodge, hotel, campground, dude ranch, and Western saloon. At the “M,” you can experience the Old West through hikes, rides, meals, and music.

Ski Flying Adventures – Part 2: Ski Operations

In the last issue, ski flying expert Michael Vivion showed us how to prepare for ski flying. In this issue, he concludes by showing us how best to have fun flying in the snow. He covers how to get started with flying with skis, safety issues to consider, advanced techniques when landing on snow, and what you’ll need to do to make it easier to depart your landing area.

Cold Weather Preparations – How to Fly Safely when the Temperature Drops

You can have a lot of fun while flying an airplane with skis. In addition to the techniques outlined in Michael Vivion’s Ski Flying articles, there are other procedures that are just as important when flying in the cold—whether you’re on skis or wheels. You’ll also need to know how to take care of your engine, tires, fuel system, and what to bring for survival gear. With this knowledge, you’ll find you and your aircraft can operate just as well in wintry weather as you can in summer.