You are hereNovember/December 2012

November/December 2012

Winter is almost here, but that doesn’t mean you have to put your airplane—and your flying skills—into hibernation. This issue is jam-packed with fun places all around the country for your next winter adventure. From the far north to the Southwest to the Florida Keys, we’ve got an array of destinations to fit all budgets. And for those who may be dreaming of the perfect fun airplane for the backcountry, we present a thorough review of the amazing CubCrafters Carbon Cub!

CubCrafters Carbon Cub

If you want a fun airplane, the Carbon Cub by CubCrafters provides it in spades. It’s the best-selling Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) in America and editor John T. Kounis takes readers into the cockpit. Unlike most other LSAs, the Carbon Cub is powered by a powerful 180-horsepower, 340-cubic-inch engine, the CC-340. This engine is based on the Lycoming O-320, but is manufactured by CubCrafters. (The company is one of the few aircraft manufacturers also certified to manufacture engines.) The Carbon Cub also makes extensive use of strong but lightweight carbon fiber, along with many other weight-saving details. The result is an aircraft with an incredible power-to-weight ratio of 7.33 pounds per horsepower, and the ability to take off or land in extremely short distances. In fact, in a competition in Valdez, Alaska, a Carbon Cub took off in only 19 feet, which is several feet less than its own length. Ample power, easy handling, and exceptional STOL capabilities make the Carbon Cub the perfect airplane to take into the backcountry. As you’ll discover in the article, the Carbon Cub is thoughtfully designed from prop to tail, making it an easy airplane to learn, whether or not you’ve flown a tailwheel before. After reading this story, your next stop may be the CubCrafters facility in Yakima to try one of these fun airplanes for yourself!

Sedona, Arizona

Sedona is one of the Southwest’s most beautiful and treasured vacation spots, and for many, winter is the best time to visit. As Technical Editor Crista V. Worthy explains, hikers, bikers, photographers, artists, families, and even football fans stopping by on their way to or from the Fiesta Bowl are drawn to Sedona around the New Year. Hikers and bikers know that winter brings cooler temperatures that are more conducive to exercising without overheating in the desert sun. Photographers and artists know that the Winter Solstice places the sun at its lowest angle of the year, creating a magical, golden light to further emphasize the deep red and orange hues of Sedona’s famous rock formations. At this time of year, those rock formations will likely be sprinkled with snow, becoming the “icing on the cake” in terms of scenic beauty. Finally, families flock to Sedona around Christmas for the fantastic Holiday light display, with over a million lights.

While in Sedona, you can choose from an array of exceptional accommodations, from kid-friendly facilities with convenient on-site restaurants to some of the quietest and most romantic inns in America. Wake up in the forest beside the iconic Oak Creek or to a panoramic view of blue skies and red rocks. If you want to stick close to the airport, one lodge is nestled right at the edge of the plateau where the runway sits above town, giving you get the best views in all of Sedona. At the airport, you’ll also find a beautifully designed restaurant where you can enjoy excellent meals while taking in a full view of the runway and its activity. Other restaurants include one with a fun “alien” theme, an exceptional Southwestern restaurant, and the famous L’Auberge Restaurant serving world-class cuisine right beside Oak Creek.

Grand Forks, North Dakota

Grand Forks might not be the first place that comes to mind when contemplating a winter vacation, but author Patricia Strutz shows you how to have plenty of winter fun in that northern town. Pilots can take a factory tour of the Cirrus manufacturing facility in Grand Forks and see the latest in composite aircraft assembly technology. Additionally, the University of North Dakota (UND) is home to one of the best collegiate aviation complexes in the world. Take a tour and watch UND students utilize flight and air traffic control simulators, or experience the effects of hypoxia in an altitude chamber. Later, you can join 11,000 screaming fans as they cheer on the Fighting Sioux hockey team in their cutting-edge sports arena. You can also take in a local curling match and find out why so many folks in colder climes love this sport. Grand Forks is a great place for fun and inexpensive winter play, including snowboarding, snowshoeing, sledding, and Nordic skiing. If you need gear, you can get it all at the 60,000-square-foot Cabela’s store in town. You’ll find plenty of convenient lodging, and dining that runs the gamut from pizza to fine dining to homemade artisan breads and hearty soups to take out the winter chill.

Little Palm Island, Florida

Ready for a winter warm-weather splurge? Point your plane toward one of Florida’s best-kept secrets, Little Palm Island. If your airplane is on floats, you can fly right in and dock at the tiny, private harbor. Otherwise, you can fly to nearby Florida Keys Marathon Airport for a free boat shuttle to Little Palm, or go all-out and charter a local float plane to drop you right at the dock. Once you arrive, time slows down and your cares evaporate, as author Heather Sanders Connellee experienced herself on a recent visit there. The total number of guests is limited to 60 or less, lending to a private experience. The friendly staff stops at nothing to see that you are as happy and relaxed as possible. They’ll shower your cabana in rose petals and sneak fine champagne bedside or tubside to set up the perfect romantic interlude; they’ll even help you compose love letters. Spa services abound, and you can enjoy your massage right in the shallow bay as tiny waves peacefully lap beside you. When you feel like actually doing something active, you can hit the fitness center or choose from scuba, snorkel, or a variety of other exciting guided trips, or simply frolic in the water off the fine sandy beach. Cuisine at Little Palm is absolutely top-notch, as world-class chefs labor to bring you their latest creative creations. Don’t be surprised if a diminutive Key deer walks up to your outdoor table, asking for a nibble or just a gentle pat. Your accommodations? Indonesian, Polynesian, and British-Colonial-style thatched-roof bungalows decorate the island while blending in perfectly with their surroundings. Inside, these deceptively luxurious suites boast mother of pearl tile, crystal sconces, chandeliers, and teak ceiling fans. You may never want to leave!

1 in 109 Could Happen to You—Are You Ready?

These days, most pilots have an operating GPS on board their aircraft, whether a small portable unit or full glass panels in Technically Advanced Aircraft. As a result, many pilots today are losing basic navigational skills such a VOR navigation or approaches, pilotage, or good old dead reckoning. In this article, Technical Editor Crista V. Worthy shares her recent experience as a passenger on a Boeing 767 that lost all navigation capability over the Pacific Ocean enroute to Hawaii, and how the pilots were able to safely bring the crippled jet back to the mainland with nothing more than a compass to guide them. We have been hearing more stories lately of the failures of seemingly infallible glass panels. Add to this that the entire GPS system is somewhat vulnerable to damage or sabotage, and you have the recipe for problems, especially with pilots who are rusty flying without a GPS. The solution lies in training, which can be both challenging and fun. Read this story and evaluate how your own skills currently add up, and then take some time to practice navigating without your GPS or autopilot. Someday, you may be very glad you did!