You are hereMarch/April 2013

March/April 2013

Spring is upon us, so it's time to brush off the rust and get into the air. This issue has an exclusive peek at a newly-opened guest resort below Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains. And as a follow-up to our Jan/Feb story on how to get your floatplane rating, we take you up into the Canadian wilderness of British Columbia and Yukon Territory for an incredibly scenic camping, fishing, and guest-lodge trip via amphibious floatplane. Those of you on the East Coast can visit Charlottesville, Va., and the former abodes of our most famous Founding Fathers. Out west, our spring adventures continue in Temecula with hot air ballooning, wine tasting, and an Old West town.

Temecula, California

Temecula lies inland between Los Angeles and San Diego. A trip here is a visit to the California of the Old West: it's an agricultural paradise with a slow, relaxing pace. As author Martha Garcia explains, Temecula is becoming a destination for wine lovers, now that it's home to dozens of vineyards. You can visit a winery by car, by horse, or by hot-air balloon—why not try all three? Don't miss a visit to Old Town Temecula, a state Historical Preservation District, to get a glimpse of the valley's heritage. Old Town's Western Days bring the Temecula Gunfighters, numerous visiting gun-fighting clubs, costumed characters, trick ropers, western exhibits and music, a chili cook-off, and calf roping into the town. Exhibits and attractions are located at booths, restaurants, and shops along Front Street, along with the “high noon shoot out and robbery.” More modern pursuits can also be yours, from a day on the golf course to a day at California's largest casino. Live concerts, a wine and balloon festival, and a military aviation museum at the airport round out a fun weekend. With so many wineries nearby, Temecula offers a growing list of fine restaurants, including a new venue gathering awards by the armful. Indulge in fine cuisine or visit a cowboy chophouse and saloon, or an old-time pub in Old Town. You can stay at a winery property surrounded by vineyards, scenic pools, and Temecula's foothills rising in the distance. With wine tasting just steps from your room, you'll toast your good fortune at finding this southern California hideaway.

Yukon & British Columbia, Canada

Every year, adventurous pilots make their way to Alaska, but most of them bypass the closer, and just as wild, Canadian wilderness areas of British Columbia and Yukon Territory. Author and Founding Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) Director Chuck Jarecki has visited the Yukon nearly every summer for the last 30 years. He has flown his amphibious floatplane up from his home in Montana for the last six of those years. In this article, Jarecki shares some of his extensive expertise. The result is a complete itinerary for a roughly 1,000-nm trip from Montana through British Columbia, the Yukon, and into the Northwest Territories via amphibious floatplane, lavishly illustrated with photos that will make your eyes pop. Relax next to your airplane beached on the shore of a turquoise glacial lake. A pair of loons breaks the utter stillness; your nearest neighbor may be 100 miles away. Fish, hike, and camp to your heart's content, or stay in a cabin or luxurious lodge with three-course meals paired with fine wines. Land on a flowing river and walk downstream to a spectacular waterfall, or visit the town of Whitehorse and its many museums. Endless adventure awaits in Canada's Yukon.

Greene Valley Retreat, Idaho

Idaho has more backcountry airstrips than any other state in the lower 48. One of the finest gems in the Gem State is privately owned and has been off-limits to the public. But this year, the beautiful, long, and well-maintained Greene Valley airstrip will be open to pilots with reservations to stay at the 17,000-square-foot Greene Valley Retreat, as well as for occasional weekend fly-in breakfast events. Technical Editor Crista V. Worthy, who has visited nearly every guest ranch in Idaho, claims Greene Valley has the most beautiful setting of them all. The 450-acre property lies at the southwestern edge of the Sawtooth Mountains. Graylock Mountain towers nearly a mile above the valley with dramatic and jagged spires. The ranch has green meadows, two lakes, plenty of wildlife, and ponderosa forest. The Boise River also runs through the property, with cutthroat and rainbow trout fishing. You can visit two nearby hot springs, or just lounge in the clean, turquoise hot pool and hot tub in front of the lodge, both of which are continually replenished with fresh hot spring water. Relax under the Milky Way at night; by day, you can golf, fish, or hike along the river, into the mountains, or over to tiny Atlanta town, population 35 or so. All your gourmet meals are included with your stay; be among the first to visit this lovely retreat!

Charlottesville, Virginia

This historic Virginia town is in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Charlottesville area is home to three founding fathers, Jefferson, Monroe, and Madison, all of whom went on to become U.S. presidents. Author Heather Sanders Connellee takes you to Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence. Nearby, visit the 550-acre estate of James Monroe, the fifth U.S. President. The Charlottesville countryside is decorated by farms, fields of cattle, and vineyards. Sample wines from over 25 vineyards that make up the regional wine trail. You'll also find upscale resorts, inns, fine dining, museums, and B&Bs. Downtown, you can visit unique boutique shops, trendy restaurants, and a walking mall frequented by students from the nearby university. Wake up early and take a hot-air balloon ride over it all, capped off with a champagne toast. A visit to Charlottesville can be your bridge between present times and the beginning of our nation.

Safety Programs—Stack the Odds in Your Favor

We all want to fly safely; yet, NTSB records reveal the same stubborn problems year after year. They all add up to a persistently high accident rate for general aviation. A recent review of aircraft accident records has revealed some rather amazing statistics. When properly analyzed, they boil down to one incontrovertible truth: over a recent three-year period, non-student pilots who enrolled and stayed current in the FAA's WINGS program almost never had an accident. Technical Editor Crista Worthy details the statistics and explains exactly how the analysis was performed in this Flying Tips article. Additionally, a range of specific training tips and recommendations have been made as a result of this study, and we will list and explain them all in this article. Finally, we have another free resource pilots can use to keep their heads in the game even when they are not flying much due to weather, schedules, or cost constraints. This article may change the way you think about the FAA and NASA.