You are hereSeptember/October 2010

September/October 2010

You know autumn has arrived when birds start fleeing south, kids start getting up early for school, and the leaves start turning. This also means it’s a great time to go flying. Pilot Getaways has a fall full of ideas for fun getaways, including Maine for colorful foliage and red lobster dinners, Long Beach, which is handy for those attending the annual AOPA Aviation Summit conference, and a great getaway in the middle of the huge Idaho wilderness next to the Salmon River with some of the West’s best steelhead fishing.

Long Beach, California

Planning to attend the AOPA Aviation Summit this November? Editor-in-chief John T. Kounis reveals everything you need to know about flying into Long Beach and having a great time while visiting. With over 5,000 hotel rooms, Long Beach offers something for everyone, from a Mayan-themed hotel to high-rises overlooking the waterfront—even sleep on a yacht moored in Rainbow Harbor. You don’t want to miss stepping onto the Queen Mary, docked at Long Beach Harbor, to experience the opulence of yesteryear: fine art-deco furnishings and décor, lavish wood panels, and onyx fireplaces. She has six restaurants aboard, including the Grand Salon, where you can partake in the best Champagne Sunday brunch in town. You can even sleep aboard in a luxurious stateroom or suite. Next door, tour an authentic 300-foot-long Soviet submarine. Nearby Rainbow Harbor is loaded with interesting shops, restaurants, and galleries. Try the Ferris wheel and other attractions at the new Pike. The Aquarium of the Pacific showcases 32 exhibits of Pacific Ocean marine life. You can even make friends with and feed a flock of Australian lorikeets. If you’d like to get out on the ocean, board a whale-watching cruise or try the fantastically fast Rocket Boat. For a super treat, make a reservation to fly aboard a real Zeppelin. As a pilot, you may even want to spring for flying lessons in it.

Kennebunkport, Maine

When we think of fall foliage, we think of Maine, and when we think of Maine, we think of lobster! Author Heather Sanders Sable takes you on a tour of Kennebunkport, which is such a delightful getaway spot that our 41st president, George H. W. Bush, has a vacation retreat there. Relax on a pristine beach or soak up the atmosphere at a local fresh fish market. If you’d like to get out on the water in style, try a sailing cruise on a 55-foot traditional, gaff-rigged schooner and keep your eyes peeled for whales and porpoises. If that doesn’t exactly float your boat, you can try a Lobster Cruise, where you’ll learn all about lobstering. All that information about tasty crustaceans will have you hankering for a fine dinner, and Kennebunkport restaurants are ready for you. Enjoy your lobster dinner indoors or out at the Bush’s favorite hangout. Other fine seafood establishments on the waterfront run the gamut from exquisite to very casual. When it’s time to turn in, choose from grand historic hotels, quiet B&Bs, or an inn right on the waterfront.

Mackay Bar, Idaho

If you’re looking for a challenging Idaho backcountry airstrip with incredible steelhead fishing in a mountain wilderness, but you don’t want to rough it too much, Mackay Bar has exactly what you need. Slip your plane down inside the deep Salmon River canyon and land on the well-maintained 1,700-foot turf strip. Situated at the confluence of the South Fork and Main Salmon rivers, Mackay Bar offers free riverside camping, but also comfy rooms and cabins with private bathrooms, an outdoor hot tub, home-cooked meals served family-style in their cozy lodge, and even jet boat rides, and fully-outfitted, expertly-guided hunting or fishing trips. You can get in some wonderful hikes and you’ll likely see a few bighorn sheep hanging around the cliffs above the river, as did Technical Editor Crista V. Worthy when she visited. The Cameron family’s hospitality just makes this place even more special. It’s truly off the grid; they generate their own electricity here hydraulically. You can also drop in; just call ahead and reserve a meal. But be careful… you may not want to leave once you see the beauty of the area.

Benton, Kansas

Savvy Should you find yourself in the central part of the country with a hankering for the quintessential hundred-dollar hamburger, look no further than the Stearman Field Bar & Grill in Benton, Kansas. Author Pia Bergqvist explains that this private airfield surrounded by hangar homes has been growing by leaps and bounds. The owners are three flying families who live at the airport and they’re all airplane enthusiasts. No less than eight classic Stearman aircraft are based here, and they often fly in formation above the field. Local aerobatic pilots also enjoy practicing above this airport, and you might even see a DC-3 here. The pilot-friendly atmosphere continues inside, where you can enjoy an early breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The specialty is a half-pound, juicy, hand-packed Kansas burger topped with jalapeños, pepperjack cheese, and onions, but there’s lots more, from steak to chicken to salad, and even a kid’s menu. Live music some Saturdays tops it off. Heck; you may just decide to live here.

Flying in the Rain

Many pilots feel perfectly comfortable flying in the rain, whether VFR or IFR, but there are a few precautions you should take before you launch if your airplane has been sitting out in the rain. Also, did you know rain causes some of the same effects as airplane icing? Technical Editor Crista V. Worthy elaborates on these and other issues you shouldn’t underestimate when you go out to fly in the rain. She relates an episode when a seemingly everyday approach suddenly became highly dangerous and shows you how to calculate exactly what speed you should stay below to make sure your tires don’t hydroplane after touching down on a wet runway. Along with advice on how not to be fooled when you fly an approach in the rain, these tips could really come in handy some day when the weather turns wet.