You are hereNovember/December 2009

November/December 2009

Now that winter’s chill has set in, it’s time to plan a fun holiday getaway. Whether you live in the East or West, we have the inside scoop on some great ski resorts, as well as where you can try dog sledding or snowshoeing. And since winter flying brings with it the possibility of icing, we’ve got some important tips to keep you safe. If you’d rather get away from the cold, we found a Southern California town with its own style of barbeque to heat you up.

Santa Maria, California

Santa Maria’s mild year-round weather makes it ideal for a winter visit, and you couldn’t ask for a more convenient pilot destination. As Senior Editor Stephanie Smith explains, you can taxi right up to your hotel, a great Mexican restaurant, and an aviation museum. Wineries surround the airport, and Vandenberg Air Force Base is just 15 minutes away. That’s where some of the largest ICBMs ever made are launched, and where other rockets carry satellites and other payloads into space. It’s quite a spectacle to see a launch, but non-launch days offer another treat: the nearby beaches are open to beachcombers. These beaches have some of the last wild coastline left in California, and are home to sea lions and other creatures. You can spend a day visiting numerous local wineries and sampling famous Santa Maria Barbecue. Here, lean tri-tip beef is rubbed with garlic, salt, and pepper, smoked over red oak, and served thinly sliced with delicious accompaniments. Try it at the Hitching Post, a favorite hang-out for Vandenberg pilots. When you’re ready to turn in, you can head for your hotel at the airport, or stay at a historic (and reputedly haunted) inn.

Killington, Vermont

For winter sports in the East, you can visit Killington, the largest ski resort in the eastern United States. With six mountains, 24 lifts, and more than 150 trails, the diverse terrain appeals to all skill levels. Author Heather Sable takes you along for snowmobiling, horseback riding, snowshoeing and more, and explains where to find the best hearty meals to recharge your engine after all that exertion. You might also want to check out the restored Paramount Theatre, now on the National Register of Historic Places, for a holiday show. In Killington, you’ll find grand resorts as well as cozy B&Bs where you can curl up in front of the fire. And you don’t even need a turbocharged engine to fly over these mountains!

Sunriver, Oregon

Central Oregon’s Sunriver Resort quickly becomes a favorite of any pilot who visits. From the moment your aircraft is chocked at the newly renovated airport, all you and your loved ones have to do is enjoy yourselves. As author Erin Willison points out, Sunriver has everything you need for year-round fun and relaxation: fabulous golf, tennis, swimming, biking, and hiking. And now that winter is here, just jump on the convenient, 20-minute free shuttle ride to Mount Bachelor, a ski area with 71 runs from green to double-black-diamond. There’s also a ten-acre tubing park, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and sledding. Back at Sunriver, soothe your ski-tired muscles at the spa, and then check out the telescopes at the observatory to see planets, galaxies, or maybe spot a satellite cruising across the night sky. Several onsite restaurants will please all, from the fussiest kids to the fussiest gourmets, and you can retire to a rented condo with kitchen, or a room or suite in the lodge, with wood-paneled vaulted ceiling, fireplace, and balcony with view. Winter or summer, Sunriver is a perfect pilot getaway for many.

Fly-In Fishing Trips – Pt.1: Merging Your Two Favorite Pastimes

Patricia Strutz, who has been a fishing guide for over a dozen years, presents the first of our three-part series about fly-in fishing destinations. Many pilots and their families love to fish, so why not combine fishing and flying? You’ll learn all the things to consider when selecting a fishing lodge, and we visit two very different destinations for different experiences. You’ll also get a directory with information about a number of different fishing lodges so you can start planning your perfect fishing trip during the winter, to be ready for when the warm weather comes. If you’ve been considering a fishing trip, this article is a must.

Understanding Icing

No pilot wants to be flying an iced-up aircraft, and hopefully you never will. But as winter weather bears down, it’s worth taking the time to understand principles of icing: how different clouds and temperatures produce different kinds of water droplets, how and where ice is most likely to form, and what ice does to your aircraft’s performance. Technical Editor Crista Worthy discusses these principles, as well as sharing advice from NASA on how to fly and land with an ice-contaminated airplane, concentrating on how to avoid a tailplane stall and what to do if it does occur.