You are hereMarch/April 2010 Issue

March/April 2010 Issue

Spring is here again. If you haven’t been flying much, it’s time to knock the rust off, and what better way than with a fun weekend getaway? Choose your own adventure, from buffalo burgers and bald eagles off the California coast, to beers and baseball in Wisconsin, even Alaskan fishing holes accessible only by helicopter. We’ll even show you how to get there if your GPS dies on takeoff. Fly safer and have more fun with inside information from Pilot Getaways.

Catalina Island, California

A 15-minute flight from metropolitan Los Angeles takes you to Catalina’s Airport-in-the-Sky for one of the most popular “$100 hamburger” destinations in the Southland. But few of the pilots chomping down buffalo burgers stay and venture out past the airport to discover the treasures of Catalina Island. In this issue, Technical Editor Crista V. Worthy takes you on a tour of this offshore gem. Via the newly opened Trans-Catalina Trail, you can hike and see native flora and fauna including bald eagles and the endangered Catalina Island fox. Hop on a shuttle down to tiny Avalon, a town set like a diamond alongside a beautiful cove. Visit the famous Casino for a behind-the-scenes tour followed by a first-run movie in its Art Deco theatre. Then board a submersible and watch thousands of fish swimming just inches from your face, while you stay warm and dry. Since the cove is an underwater preserve, it’s a great place for snorkeling, scuba diving, or enjoying the day on a kayak. You can follow that with a romantic beachside dinner or a sunset dinner cruise while you watch flying fish leap out of the ocean on your way back. Once you discover the other treasures of Catalina, you’ll be making more opportunities to fly back to the Airport-in-the-Sky.

Eau Claire, Wisconsin

With baseball season about to start, you might consider pointing your plane toward Eau Claire, Wisc., to catch an independent game. As author Patricia Strutz explains, one of the many small-town pleasures you can enjoy here is baseball at Carson Park, once Hammerin’ Hank Aaron’s home field. The Eau Claire Express is part of the Northwoods League, bringing in top college players from around the Midwest who vie for the attention of major league scouts. Or, take a drive through the countryside and meet the Amish community, where you can visit an Amish home and workplace on a guided tour. Back in town, stroll through the downtown farmer’s market and learn about the area’s lumbering era at the Chippewa Valley Museum. Your lodgings can be cosmopolitan or folksy, as you wish. There’s excellent fishing as well as a popular dinner theatre, and don’t forget the wonderful local breweries. Don’t forget to sample famous Wisconsin cheese, along with local preparations of bluegill and venison, and leave room for that lingonberry-apple pie!

Stroudsburg & Monroe County, Pennsylvania

Stroudsburg, the seat of Monroe County and the gateway to the Poconos, has long attracted honeymooners from New York and Pennsylvania. As author Heather Sanders Sable points out, the area has expanded its reputation to include outdoor fun and mountain scenery. Pilots can gain easy access to the scenic Poconos Mountains by flying in to the Stroudsburg-Pocono Airport, just 56 nm northwest of New York City. You can begin your getaway with a hike to the “Niagara of Pennsylvania,” Bushkill Falls, made up of eight spectacular waterfalls. The scenery alone is worth the trip, but you can also ride a paddleboat, play miniature golf, mine for gems, or let your kids cavort on the playground. The nearby Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area is a haven for birders and other nature lovers, with plenty of wildlife along with streams, ponds, hiking trails, and more waterfalls. For a little culture, the Shawnee Playhouse offers Broadway-style productions year-round. You’ll find a surprisingly wide array of dining choices here, from gourmet Thai to Continental to locally-grown, sustainably raised modern cuisine. You can still find a hotel here with kitschy heart-shaped bathtubs, as well as luxury resorts with spa facilities and yoga classes.

Fly-In Fishing Trips – Part 2
Making the Trek to Alaska

For the second part of our series on Fly-In Fishing Trips, author and expert angler examines two fly-in fishing experiences. One centers on a remote lodge on a wild Alaskan river surrounded by exquisite scenery. Each morning you’re picked up at the lodge and flown in an Enstrom F28F helicopter to fishing spots virtually unvisited by others. The other adventure is a yacht-based saltwater trip along the Inside Passage where enormous halibut and king salmon are the catch of the day. Gourmet meals and side trips to fjords, sea lion rookeries, and glaciers are also included. And if you’re apprehensive about customs, you’ll get tips for flying en route through Canada along with the latest updated customs procedures—a must for planning any Alaskan flight.

Cross-Country Flight Planning and Execution

This month’s Flying Tips focuses on a trip the Pilot Getaways team made to Alpine, Wyo., and a remote backcountry airstrip outside of Boulder, Utah. Technical Editor Crista V. Worthy relates how she and Editor John T. Kounis used pilotage and dead reckoning after the GPS gave up the ghost shortly after takeoff. Using these skills is a good exercise as well as a fun way to involve your passengers in your flight.

Spending the night in an area still gripped by winter snows necessitated keeping the engine from getting too cold overnight. Learn about different methods and why preheating is so important; it could save you thousands of dollars. Back in the Southwest, the weather went from winter to spring, and the typical high desert winds were forecast for the next day.. By thinking ahead and using employing proper technique, the team was able to land, reposition the aircraft to another airport in advance of the high winds, and continue with a successful trip. This one research trip reinforced how every trip you make gives you the opportunity to become a better and safer pilot.