You are hereNovember/December 2008

November/December 2008

Winter Wonders

Although winter is settling in, you don’t have to stow your plane away until spring! We’ve got plenty of new ideas and fun winter trips in this issue: Scream over snowy trails on a snowmobile in Wyoming; enjoy easy hikes to some of the world’s most famous and inspiring slot canyons and sandstone formations near Page, Ariz.; escape winter’s chill on Grand Exuma in The Bahamas; or treat yourself to a private golf resort in Texas. And to round out our year-long 10th anniversary celebration, we look back at our favorite flightseeing destinations and the most scenic approaches.

Alpine, Wyoming

Want to spend some time in beautiful, snowy mountains without the typical crowds? As Erika Kendrick and Cari Miller explain, Alpine, Wyoming is just the ticket. Here you can get your adrenaline going by racing along at 70 mph on a snowmobile, or hike quietly through the elk-and-moose-filled woods. Just 30 miles south of famous Jackson Hole, Alpine has similar scenery with a more laidback attitude. People in this town of only 700 are warm and friendly. Great for pilots, the freshly-plowed runway at the newly renovated airport features easy approaches, and your transportation in the form of a snowmobile can be waiting for you. After a day of snowmobiling, hiking, or backcountry skiing, you can enjoy fine dining at the Flying Saddle Steakhouse, or just grab a pizza. You can party with the locals at the Bull Moose Saloon before you retire to a cozy cabin retreat. Or to really get away from it all, stay at a guest ranch so remote, it’s a 30-mile, fun, gorgeous snowmobile ride to get there. Visit Alpine soon, before everyone else discovers it!

Page, Arizona

Surrounded by the greatest concentration of National Parks and Monuments in the world, Page could well be your gateway to a lifetime’s worth of adventure and exploration. The flight alone offers stunning views of dramatic redrock buttes, mesas, and canyons, and as you approach Page, you’ll be dazzled by the incongruous blue of the Lake Powell reservoir. Technical Editor Crista Worthy reveals how to visit some of the most famous redrock formations in the world. If you don’t know their names, you’ve likely seen their photos many times: The Wave, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and hundreds of rock toadstools in a setting so foreign and quiet, you feel like you’re walking on another planet. Winter is a magical time on the Colorado Plateau, with mostly blue skies, just an inch or two of snow scattered about like powdered sugar, and very few people. If you choose to houseboat on the reservoir, you’ll have access to nearly a hundred side canyons, each one different, that you’re virtually guaranteed to have to yourself. Slide into a skinny slot canyon, or climb onto a bench and survey the landscape for a hundred miles around. As always, we’ll fill you in on the best dining and lodging.

Great Exuma, The Bahamas

You know you can escape winter’s chill in the enchanting Bahamas, but do you know where to go to escape Nassau’s crowds, too? The Exumas, in the central Bahamas, offer pristine beaches with the quintessential fine, white sand of the Bahamas, as well as ultra-luxury resorts. The Bahamian government has gone out of its way to be friendly to general aviation, and once you read author Steven Peretz’sdescription of the chain of tiny cays stretching out below you surrounded by clear turquoise waters, you’ll want to be packing your bags. Snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, golf, fishing, seashell hunting—take your pick, it’s all here. You can shop for luxury items at prices lower than in the U.S., as well as traditional woven, locally-made crafts. You’ll enjoy an array of fine dining choices, or hop a ferry across the bay for a traditional liquor-fortified pig barbeque. Once you’ve visited the Exumas, you’ll understand why Caribbean Travel & Life magazine said it’s one of the “Ten Things You Absolutely Must Do”. You can get additional information about the customs and arrival process (it’s easy) at

Horseshoe Bay, Texas

If a lakeside fly-in luxury resort that has a private airstrip, 3 championship golf courses, tennis, incredible spa services, and fine dining sounds inviting, point your plane to Horseshoe Bay, in Texas’ Golden Triangle. When you stay at one of the resort’s swanky hotel rooms, waterfront condos, or relaxed townhomes, you’ll have access to all the services club members here enjoy. There’s even a 72-par putting course that’s built like a full-size course, just shrunken down. You can make most or all of your reservations from home, so a Cadillac Escalade can whisk you off to your first adventure as soon as you land, and your concierge will take care of all the details. You can rent a waverunner or motor boat, go for a chartered fishing trip, or relax with a sunset cruise. Swim in the pools or the lake, or relax in the huge outdoor whirlpool. There’s plenty of room and fun for the kids too, if they come along.

Auburn, California

In the 1850s, towns sprang up overnight in northern California—the gold rush was on. As the years passed and the gold played out, miners wandered away, leaving sparsely settled towns in what we call Gold Country. As author Michael Coyle explains, pilots will still find gold here in the golden French toast at the Wings Grill & Espresso Bar. Park right in front of the restaurant and enjoy your meal indoors or out on the patio. This family-friendly restaurant has been here for about 50 years; the walls are covered with photos of aviation scenes from all eras. For breakfast, you can try any of 10 different omelettes, or go for the author’s favorite French toast with all the trimmings. For lunch, sandwiches and hamburgers are offered, consistently served with a smile.

Next Generation ELTs – What to Do when Satellite Monitoring Ends

In February 2009, the satellites that monitor the 121.5 MHz Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) in our aircraft will be taken out of service. That means no more formal monitoring of 121.5 MHz in case of emergency. Instead, the government is instituting a new 406 MHz standard. These units transmit much more accurate information—including GPS coordinates—to search and rescue in the event of an emergency, but the FAA is not yet requiring U.S. aircraft to have their current ELT units replaced. What will you do? Author and Civil Air Patrol member Scott Garrison has a number of tips and suggestions for you, as well as one request. Be sure to check it out, because you’ll want to be covered in case of emergency. Additionally, Rick Gardner of Caribbean Sky Tours informs us about the requirements for flying to Canada and Mexico as well as other international locations.