You are hereSeptember/October 2006

September/October 2006

Get Ready for Fall!

As days get shorter and temperatures begin to drop, you can enjoy traveling with your airplane in different ways. Snuggle up with someone special in front of a fireplace at a romantic Victorian island. Escape to the warm and clear desert to rough it on a 4x4 tour or live in the lap of luxury at an exclusive resort. Kayak through mangroves or see a space shuttle launch at Space Coast USA. Land on a grass airstrip in Big Sky Country. They’re all accessible to you in your airplane this fall, and they’re all featured in this issue.

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Our Cover Story and Romantic Getaway, Mackinac Island was America’s second national park, and is now a lushly forested Michigan State Park. Since 1898, automobiles have been banned here, effectively stopping the clock. This means that you get around the island using your feet, bicycle, or horse and carriage. The airport is conveniently just a mile from town, so you can settle in and enjoy your surroundings—all accommodations are within two miles of the airport. Whether for its tasty fudge, spectacular fall colors, or the simple appeal of quiet ski trails in winter, Mackinac Island is a destination for the romantic in us all.

Borrego Valley, California

When you become weary of cloudy skies and the chill as summer wanes, Borrego Valley should be high on your list of escapes. Here, the desert skies are clear, with pleasant daytime temperatures and crisp nights. Borrego Valley Airport is a gateway to this desert escape. The airport and town of Borrego Springs are an “island” surrounded by the 600,000-acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, so the hillsides appear as they did centuries ago. You can make your stay here as luxurious or adventurous as you wish: explore deep arroyos and pine-clad mountains on foot, by horseback, mountain bike, or four-wheel-drive tour, or be driven from the airport to the La Casa del Zorro Resort for golf, tennis, or a poolside massage. To better appreciate the area, you can fly an aerial sky tour, so you can see the Salton Sea, the badlands, and other interesting sights of the State Park from the air.

Penn Yan, New York

Named for the combination of Pennsylvanians and “Yankees” who settled here, Penn Yan is today a sleepy, isolated town with attractive vistas and abundant wineries. You can fly in to the nearby airport to visit adjacent Keuka Lake, and if you rent a car, you can tour the entire Finger Lakes area. We'll fill you in on why Penn Yan is a good choice for a quiet trip to fish, swim, and take in this culturally rich area. Additionally, aviation history buffs will love this getaway, since the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum is just at the south end of Keuka Lake.

Titusville, Florida

It is ironic that the slice of undeveloped Atlantic coastline near Cape Canaveral has remained pristine thanks to some of America’s most sophisticated technology. NASA’s requirement for strict security during spacecraft launches has kept developers out. The area around Titusville is known as Space Coast USA, but it also offers more than 150,000 acres of natural areas, including 72 miles of protected beaches. The town overlooks both Merritt Island National Wildlife Preserve and the Kennedy Space Center. For insight into our space program, you can see a space shuttle launch, pull four Gs in a simulator, or feel one-sixth your weight hopping around on the “moon.” In addition, you can enjoy the area’s natural beauty by hiking a quiet path, kayaking through mangroves, or simply lying on a secluded beach.

Rick’s Runway Cafe , Montgomery, New York

A student and instructor discover a pleasant surprise while practicing VOR navigation in southeastern New York. Rick’s Runway Cafe is a new addition to the neighborhood—and a step up in class from the typical airport restaurant with its modern décor, bright and airy atmosphere, bustling waitstaff, and happy customers. The article fills you in on arriving, taking time to explore the town (including Orange County Choppers, made famous by Discovery Channel’s American Chopper), and departing with a full stomach.

Spotted Bear, Montana

Montana’s Big Sky Country is dotted with interesting backcountry airstrips. Some are in relatively flat land, while others stand your hair on end as you squeeze between the mountains. Spotted Bear USFS Airport has the formula just right. The mountain scenery is stunning, while the approach to the 3,800-ft. grass strip is not too intimidating. Not one, but three guest ranches await you with guided hunting or fishing, abundant activities, and home-cooked meals. Author Thomas W. Close, who flew there in his Cirrus SR22-G2, tells us all about how to get the adventure of flying into and out of a remote mountain river valley strip, and feeling the gentle thrum of grass beneath your landing gear. He shows us that Spotted Bear is remote, but accessible to many airplanes that are not thought of as ”bush planes.”

The Maule MXT-7-180 A Capable and Veratile Tri-Gear

Ever since Maule introduced nosewheel versions of their bush planes, sales of these models have been increasing. Once of the most economical, yet capable nosewheel Maules is the MXT-7-180, with a 180-hp engine and a constant speed propeller. If you’re considering a bush-capable aircraft, editor John T. Kounis offers a solid analysis for determining if this is the airplane for you. Maule’s wide range of configurations and other handling characteristics, combined with the fact that it is among the most affordable four-seat production aircraft, have been key advantages since the first Maule rolled off the line in the 1960s.

Mono-Grade or Multi-Grade Engine Oil – Which One Is Better for Your Aircraft?

Engine oil debates can get heated, if you’ll forgive our pun. To address the question of whether mono-grade or multi-grade oil is better for your engine, author Pete Trabucco defines the two types and shares the expertise he gained working for Castrol lubricants.

2006 AirVenture Report

The AirVenture Report sums up the 54th annual EAA AirVenture Fly-In in Oshkosh, Wisc. In addition to the enormous breadth of aviation displays, events, and performances, landmark announcements highlighted the progress being made in general aviation on two key fronts: Very Light Jets (VLJ) and Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). Among the developments announced at the show were the Cessna LSA as well as a surprise flyby of Cessna’s Next Generation Piston Aircraft, certification of the Eclipse 500 Jet, a new model of the Wilga bush plane, and receipt of an STC for the SMA turbodiesel engine in a Cessna 182. Next year’s show is scheduled for July 23–29, 2007,

Flyboys’ Tony Bill and David Ellison

Director Tony Bill and actor David Ellison are key players in the feature film Flyboys. They are both pilots and long-time Pilot Getaways subscribers, and we share some of their insights in this article. The film is based on a true story about the courage of the first fighter pilots and features the thrill and terror of fiery battles fought from open cockpit biplanes. Bill insisted on authenticity in the film; dogfight scenes with original World War I French Nieuport 17 biplanes, German Fokker tri-planes, their replicas, and high-tech special effects, almost place viewers into the cockpit. For more information on this action-filled drama, visit