You are hereMarch/April 2011

March/April 2011

Spring has arrived! This year, Pilot Getaways has put together a special “Backcountry Issue”. We’ve got a beautiful Idaho mountain airstrip with a cozy guest ranch. We’ll show you how to get involved in a backcountry airstrip work party and make new flying friends. And we review an amazing STOL aircraft you can take into the shortest, roughest strips yet still cruise at 160 knots.
We’ve also got great “civilized” spring getaways…one in sunny Florida, and another at New Jersey’s southern tip. All this along with the latest news and our regular columns…don’t miss out!

B—C Ranch, Idaho

The B—C (pronounced B Bar C) is a challenging backcountry airstrip adjacent to one of America’s largest and most remote wilderness areas. Technical Editor Crista V. Worthy scoops Pilot Getaways readers to this private airstrip—now open to pilots with reservations in spring, summer, and fall. Middle Fork Outfitters offers you a cozy lodge in which to stay, accompanied by good home cookin’. The surrounding meadows and mountains beckon you for hiking or horseback riding. A small lake is the perfect spot for beginners to catch their first trout. Experienced anglers have a variety of pristine mountain streams to choose from, or take a guided fishing trip into the mountains where five alpine lakes, brimming with native trout, await. The surrounding mountains are a hunter’s paradise, and now you can fly in here for fully-outfitted, guided hunting trips seeking abundant elk, deer, bear, lion, and sheep. This beautiful spot is completely off the grid, a solar-powered Shangri-la where all your city-worries will vanish as you watch a hawk soar overhead and listen to the busy songbirds. Be among the first to visit by plane!

The King Katmai

A variety of small taildraggers can take you in and out of short strips, but what if you want to carry a lot more than what a Piper Cub can hold, would like to fly faster than 90 mph, and don’t want to feel like a paper kite when the winds kick up? For an unbeatable combination of dazzling short-field performance, high useful load, fuel efficiency, fast cruising speeds, and unique protection against stalls/spins, the only place to go is Peterson Performance Plus and their amazing custom SE and Katmai aircraft, all fitted with a canard mounted directly behind the prop. The canard completely changes the aircraft’s slow-flight characteristics in ways that are light-years ahead of other aftermarket STOL kits, and increases flight safety even during normal airport operations. Technical Editor Crista V. Worthy profiles the remarkable Todd Peterson and his wife Jo, who have built this successful company together, and then flies their amazing airplane, which can take off in less than 300 feet at a weight over 3,000 pounds—yes, you read that right.

Work Parties—Have Fun & Help Out

There’s something about flying into a remote backcountry airstrip for a weekend of camping, hiking, or fishing that makes almost any pilot feel privileged and thankful to be able to do such a thing. Maybe it’s the quiet time for reflection, or just the beauty of surrounding nature. At any rate, backcountry pilots know how precious and irreplaceable America’s backcountry airstrips are. Fortunately, a number of pilot organizations are dedicated to the preservation and maintenance of our backcountry airstrips, working with government agencies and private landowners so we all can have the opportunity to visit these places. For this month’s Flying Tips, Technical Editor Crista V. Worthy introduces Pilot Getaways readers to a number of effective aviation organizations, including the Recreational Aviation Foundation, Idaho Aviation Association, Montana Pilot’s Association, Utah Back Country Pilots, and more. You’ll read their success stories and find out how you can participate. One of the best ways is to join a work party, a scheduled event held at a recreational airstrip. You’ll be sure to make new friends who share your interests and have a great time while you help maintain that precious airstrip doing tasks such as replacing a windsock, enhancing a campsite, filling gopher holes, mowing grass, or trimming vegetation that might be growing up around the runway. Work parties are most often followed by potlucks or a barbeque and then a campout, the perfect end to a perfect day of service that will benefit all pilots.

Stuart, Florida

Stuart, Florida is an exceptional spot for a spring vacation: located in southeast Florida, you’ll be greeted by mild weather and uncrowded beaches. As author Patricia Strutz explains, it’s got an “Old World” feel, without the high-rise buildings that plague other Florida beaches, and it’s home to some of the most exciting sportfishing in the world. Fishermen flock here from around the world to battle huge sailfish or take home a beautiful Dorado, tuna, or snapper. We’ll steer you toward an expert fishing guide equipped with everything you need for an exceptional and fun day of fishing and whale watching. The Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center is a great place to get a close-up, or even hands-on experience of many local ocean-dwellers, like sea turtles, rays, and starfish. A variety of beautiful beaches provide just the place to relax, or you can hit the downtown for shopping, theater, and nightclubs with jazz and dancing. Golf and walking trails for birders are additional attractions. When it’s time to dine, we’ll point you straight to the best restaurants: oceanfront gourmet seafood, downtown steakhouses, and more. You’ll also have plenty of accommodations to choose from: tropical lagoon bungalows surrounded by dolphins and manatees, luxury hotels, or fully-equipped campsites in the State Park.

Cape May, New Jersey

Cape May, at New Jersey’s southern tip, is the nation’s oldest seaside resort, attracting visitors for its hospitality, Victorian charm, and culture. As author Heather Sable explains, spring visitors will also escape the crowds, while enjoying lower prices than in the summer. Start your getaway right at the airport with a visit to the NAS Wildwood Aviation Museum. Both kids and adults will enjoy dozens of interactive exhibits and 27 aircraft inside the hangar. Once in Cape May, take a trolley tour of the gingerbread Victorian homes, visit the vineyard for some wine tasting on the Cape May Wine Trail, and board a whale-watching vessel for a rollicking tour of the inlet and ocean, home to humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins, sea turtles, and pelagic birds. With over 40 B & Bs to choose from, you can’t go wrong here. Choose a kid-friendly Inn with full kitchen and heated swimming pool, or an oceanfront Swiss Chalet-style bungalow. You might prefer one of two historic hotels, each with exceptional restaurants on the premises. As you might imagine, there’s plenty of delectable seafood on the menus, but meat eaters won’t go hungry here either. Romantic indoor ambience, garden patio dining, or nautical-themed Americana, Cape May’s restaurants will provide the perfect finishing touches to a special weekend just for two, or a fun family vacation.