You are hereMay/June 2014

May/June 2014

After a long, cold winter, the warming temperatures are a welcome relief. This issue has some exciting escapes for pilots looking for places to spread their wings. One big bucket-list item for many aviators is to fly in Alaska, and this issue brings you details on flying in our amazing 49th state. Another undeveloped place to fly in the Lower 48 is in the Northwoods of Maine to a private resort with seaplane and land access. For an active vacation you can head to Eugene, Ore., nicknamed “Tracktown USA,” or party in “Brew Town” on the shores of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, Wis.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

“Brew Town” is a hotbed of American beer breweries, American motorcycles, and American baseball. Follow along with author Patricia Strutz as she gives tips on how to enjoy Milwaukee’s legendary breweries. While visiting this grand city in the summertime, you won’t want to miss a Brewers baseball game, enjoy brats with your beer, and sing “Roll out the Barrel” during traditional seventh inning festivities. To explore the city and surrounding countryside, rent a Harley Davidson after you tour the Harley museum. Your hog can also take you to Summerfest, one of the world’s largest music festivals, or Germanfest with dachshund derbies, polka, and, of course, more beer. Aviators will especially enjoy the Mitchell Gallery of Flight, commemorating General William “Billy” Mitchell, often known as “the father of the Air Force.” You can’t forget the cheese in Wisconsin, and locals like it hand-battered and deep-fried to a golden brown. We’ll show you where to get yours, as well as enjoy a fine Midwestern steak, and the best biscuits and gravy in town. For lodging, you can stay in a hotel near the airport, a boutique hotel downtown in the old Pabst Blue Ribbon Complex, or a cozy, Northwoodsy lodge

Remote Alaska

Flying to the great scenic wilderness of Alaska tops the “bucket list” of many pilots. This article picks up from where last year’s Alaska article left off [May/June 2013]. Having covered south-central Alaska, including the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak Island, and Wrangell-St. Elias last year, Managing Editor Crista V. Worthy takes you to more remote locations in the 49th state. From Anchorage, you’ll learn how to fly through spectacular Lake Clark Pass to a remote fishing lodge on Iliamna Lake that is offering half-price specials for 2014. You’ll also see why the Bristol Bay watershed is the greatest salmon fishery in the world. Experienced guides take you by floatplane or boat into wild rivers that teem with sockeye and trout. Plenty of huge bears flock to the area to join in the feast as well. Flying over Lake Clark National Park & Preserve is an eye-popping treat where glacial lakes sit like turquoise gems set in emerald forests. From Lake Clark, you’ll head north to a new remote lodge that can design an all-inclusive, custom vacation plan for you. Next, you’ll head to Denali National Park and read how to safely navigate around Mt. McKinley, North America’s highest peak. With only one road, Denali offers wilderness and wildlife everywhere; you can even land your airplane inside the park in certain areas. From Denali, head north to a remote lake that you can explore with your floatplane, then camp or rent a cabin on the lakeshore with full kitchen. Or fly above the Arctic Circle to lodges where you can bask in natural hot water pools, meet sled dogs, dine on fresh organic vegetables, fish, and local game, or explore the Gates of the Arctic National Park, with its otherworldly granite peaks and remote lakes. Rivers here teem with king salmon, sheefish, and trout. You can even fly to a remote native village to see and learn how some native subsistence hunters and fishermen live, and stay in a B&B right on the Yukon River. On your way back to the lower 48, you can land inside the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Park at a remote airstrip, also near the Yukon River. Stay for free in a cabin with stove, or camp, and explore some of the most remote forests in the world, before you head home. It will be a trip you’ll never forget!

Eugene, Oregon

Eugene’s nickname is “Tracktown USA,” and there’s no time better to see why than this July, when the IAAF World Junior Championships will be coming here. It’ll be your best chance to get a sneak preview of the next Olympic champions. Several other major track & field events will also be held in Eugene this summer. Managing Editor Crista V. Worthy explains that this beautiful emerald city on the Willamette River also makes an ideal getaway for active visitors. Beautifully groomed trails for running, biking, and walking wind through numerous verdant city parks. “Pre’s Trail” is the most famous and named for Steve Prefontaine, the legendary track & field competitor who won many races at Historic Hayward Field. Other famous alumni of the University of Oregon include Nike’s own Phil Knight. He and other local luminaries have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars to build fantastic facilities for sports, medical research, and fine entertainment. While in Eugene, you can take in the opera, symphony, or attend the Bach Festival, one of the world’s largest celebrations of the classical composer. Get a feel for Eugene’s hippie vibe at several local markets, and then indulge in wine tasting and fine dining at some of the area’s famous wineries. (The Willamette Valley is especially known for producing some of the world’s best Pinot Noirs.) Rent a bicycle and visit some of Lane County’s beautiful covered bridges, or climb to the top of a 200-foot-tall old growth Douglas fir. You can even spend the night up in the tree! Other places to stay include a luxury hotel just steps from all the track action, or a secluded B&B. Dining choices include authentic Italian specialties, steaks and seafood above the river, and an ice cream shop so good the President even stopped by when he was in town.

The Birches, Maine

The Northwoods of Maine represent one of the largest undeveloped areas in the lower 48, and come summertime, locals start talking about “going up to camp,” meaning their property in the woods. For some, that equates to a tent, while others have large lakeside cabins. While camping, they love to go lake boating, fishing, hiking, river rafting, wildlife viewing, and relax by the campfire under a stunningly clear starry night. You can fly right to an authentic Maine Camp experience if you fly to The Birches, a private resort on beautiful Moosehead Lake. It’s open year-round to pilots who can land their floatplane on the lake, fly in to the new dirt/turf airstrip, or land on the frozen lake in winter with their ski-equipped aircraft. Author Jeff Van West, a Maine resident, flew in to the new airstrip last summer and offers his report here. Fish from shore, rent a boat or kayak, borrow a canoe, or take a moose safari. Other potential trips include family river water outings, white water rafting, bike tours, or Jeep tours. You can hike near your private cabin or head across the lake to Mount Kineo where you can enjoy panoramic views of the woods and lake. There’s even a Scottish golf course below the mountain if you brought your golf clubs. If you’ve never flown in a floatplane, The Birches owner John Willard offers flightseeing tours in his float-equipped Super Cruiser. The main lodge has a popular restaurant, so you can just hang around and relax without needing to leave the property. If you visit in September, you can also check out the International Seaplane Festival in nearby Greenville, which has both a seaplane base and paved runway. Once you visit here, you’ll be tempted to come back and spend part of the summer here year after year.

Scud Running – If You Must...

In conjunction with the publication of our Remote Alaska article (see above), Managing Editor Crista V. Worthy discusses the reality of flight in Alaska in summer. On many days, the weather will be flyable but overcast, leading to what we sometimes call “scud running.” Learn how to access critical information for your pre-flight decision-making process: the network of webcams the FAA has established throughout the state. They can often help you decide whether the pass or area you intend to fly in is clear, socked in, or somewhere in between. Another important resource when you are in Alaska is the local pilot. These pilots as well as the FSS can often help you with specific information about your intended route. Our article will also give you tips on what is and is not safe, so you can keep from becoming a statistic yourself. Then get out and enjoy the ultimate flying adventure in Alaska!