You are hereMarch/April 2014

March/April 2014

The advent of spring means the start of the flying season isn’t far behind. This issue has stories from the Northwest, Southwest, Texas, and Florida, close to the annual Sun ’n Fun fly-in. Find out why Idaho’s Treasure Valley deserves its nickname, relive American history at the Alamo, see what’s new at the incomparable Gateway Canyons Resort, and visit America’s Seaplane City.

Gateway Canyons Resort, Colorado

In a remote portion of western Colorado, just a few miles from the Utah border, you’ll find a hidden and luxurious retreat. Gateway Canyons Resort is the brainchild of John Hendricks, founder of Discovery Communications. If you’ve watched any of the diverse programs on the network of Discovery stations, you know Hendricks is enthusiastic about adventure, science, cars, and airplanes—and you can find plenty of all those things here. To get to the resort, you can fly into Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT), or, if you have the appropriate skills and aircraft, you can land right next to the resort on the 2,600-ft. dirt Hubbard Airstrip (9CO3). Another option is to splurge and get picked up from Grand Junction by the resort’s helicopter. Once you’ve settled in to your lovely casita or room at the resort, you can go white water rafting, mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, hiking, or four-wheeling through the surrounding canyons and plateaus. The drive through the scenic red-rock canyons is even more exciting in world-class cars like a Porsche 911 Carrera, convertible Bentley Continental GTC, Dodge SRT Viper, and Ford GT. Of course, you can rent these vehicles and others to make your drive more memorable. And for more high-throttle excitement, you can ride in or drive a customized off-road Pro Baja Truck on their closed two-mile dirt course. The 435-hp V-8 can propel you around the course at dizzying speeds, punctuated by exhilarating jumps. Afterward, you can enjoy spa services at their full-service spa. Or just relax beside the beautiful swimming pool and Jacuzzi. You wouldn’t expect it here in the desert, but the resort has one of America’s finest classic car museums that is filled with gems collected by Hendricks, as well as a couple of choppers you may have spotted on one of the TV shows. Four restaurants provide ample variety and sublime delicacies. There’s so much to see and do here, we bet you’ll be back again and again.

San Antonio, Texas

A visit to San Antonio is a wonderful way to begin your springtime flying adventures. This Texas city uniquely combines Southern hospitality with Latin culture. In spring, temperatures are perfect and flowers are blooming everywhere, from the famed Texas bluebonnets to the flower-bedecked banks of the River Walk. Author Heather Sanders Connellee describes how the San Antonio River runs right through the center of the city, so you can take a popular and informative boat cruise and pass by numerous restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, and shops on both sides. After your cruise, you can walk along the River Walk, stop at one of the bistros, and enjoy a Prickly Pear Margarita under a bright red umbrella beside the river. Another must-visit is the Alamo, the famed mission-turned-fortress where the Texians suffered complete defeat by the Mexican army under General Santa Anna. The defeat inspired the Texians to “Remember the Alamo!” Six weeks later and led by Sam Houston, they rallied to defeat the Mexican army, end the revolution, and gain independence for Texas. Visit the museum with exhibits like Davy Crockett’s rifle and view reenactments of this important event in Texas and American history. For more history—this time in art form—the San Antonio Museum of Art houses the largest collection of ancient Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Asian art in the southern United States. And make sure you get up to the top of Hemisphere Park’s Tower of the Americas, built as the centerpiece of the 1968 World’s Fair. From the Observation Deck or the revolving Chart House restaurant, you’ll enjoy high-altitude views of the entire city. When it’s time to turn in, you can sleep in a stylish hotel right on the banks of the River Walk. History buffs will love the Menger Hotel, where at least nine presidents have stayed, in addition to Babe Ruth, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, and many other famed names. Gorgeous furnishings and an onsite fine dining restaurant make a stay here one you’ll want to repeat.

Treasure Valley, Idaho

Treasure Valley, in southwestern Idaho’s Snake River Plain, is home to Idaho’s capital of Boise as well as the city of Nampa. The Warhawk Museum at Nampa Municipal Airport honors veterans of World War II, and the Korean, Vietnam, and Gulf wars. Visitors can flip through personal journals of American pilots and relive their trials and tribulations as they fought in far-away places. The museum is home to a pair of P-40 Warhawks and the P-51 Mustang Boise Bee among other aircraft, all of which fly each summer during the Warbird Roundup. Managing Editor Crista V. Worthy, who lives near Treasure Valley, claims the Warhawk Museum alone is well worth the trip, but there’s so much more to Treasure Valley. Boise is a vibrant city with excellent restaurants, a hopping bar scene, unique local shops, and a setting that’s perfect for active travelers. The Boise River runs right through downtown, and you can float down the river during summer, or walk, run, or bike the 25-mile-long Greenbelt that runs along the river any time of year. Visit the historic Penitentiary, Botanical Garden, or play a round of golf beside the river. And don’t miss the World Center for Birds of Prey. Depending on time of year, you can get within arm’s length of magnificent raptors indoors, out on the lawn, or at the outdoor amphitheater where they fly inches over your head. From warbirds to more birds, Boise makes a fun, active getaway any time of year.

Tavares, Florida

A few years ago, the town of Tavares in central Florida rebranded itself as “America’s Seaplane City.” If you’re flying a seaplane, you can land on Lake Dora and dock in their beautiful new facility. Author Patricia Strutz reveals that you can walk to hotels, restaurants, and parks, take a tour of the Sea Rey manufacturing facility, and even ride an old steam train. Golf and watercraft rentals are other recreational options. Tavares is not just a getaway for seaplane pilots; wheeled aircraft can land at nearby Leesburg International Airport (LEE), where you can rent a car to enjoy Tavares as well. Enjoy fine dining in a restaurant with a seaplane motif, listen to live music in the evenings, or bask in the sun with your drink at a nearby restaurant that’s right on the sand… they even have a hammock. Meanwhile, the golf course’s clubhouse restaurant offers a fabulous Saturday evening buffet. Tables are heaped with crab legs, shrimp, and sushi, along with an impressive salad bar and dessert table for a real all-you-can-eat extravaganza. Stay at a resort right over the seaplane docks, or at a hotel just a block away with great lake views. Tavares, America’s Seaplane City, is a great spring getaway for all pilots!

Wind Awareness – How to Anticipate and Adapt

A significant number of accidents occur during low-level maneuvering, so increasing your awareness of the wind is important. Author Peter King, who is an ATP/MCFI produces courses for Flying Like the Pros relates his own experiences with gaining awareness. He calls these his “Aha!” moments, when everything you’ve learned finally clicks in your mind. These moments aren’t merely a thought exercise; they are based on practice and feel. He continues with suggestions on how to increase your awareness of the wind at an internalized, subconscious level—like a crop-duster pilot—so that you’re a safer pilot when you’re low and slow.