You are hereSeptember/October 2011

September/October 2011

Now that the long days of summer are beginning to shorten and the temperatures are starting to cool, it is a perfect time to hop into your airplane and enjoy some unique getaways. This issue has some wonderful escapes from a private Montana grass strip right next to Glacier National Park, to a desert sandstone canyon with ancient Native American ruins. There’s also an amusement park with the world’s largest collection of roller coasters, and a city that’s “always 72 degrees.”

Ryan Field, Montana

Ryan Field is the perfect example of how good things can happen when people who care about aviation work together. The Ryan Field airstrip was built by Ben Ryan on land he and his wife “Butchie” purchased. The Ryans, who are getting on in years but still live at the field, wanted to assure that the airstrip would remain available to pilots, so they formed a partnership with the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF). Volunteers from the RAF recently built a first-class pilot shelter where you can barbecue your steaks and enjoy them at comfortable tables outside or, in case of inclement weather, underneath a substantial permanent cover. As author Mike Todd explains, once you obtain a safety briefing from the RAF and permission to land, you too can enjoy the beauty of this gorgeous grass airstrip, cut into the forest near Glacier National Park. Once you land, you can camp near your plane and just relax. If you want to look around, borrow the courtesy car or walk a mile into the town of West Glacier, where you’ll find restaurants, hotels, and tours of the park via bus or helicopter. And if you want more adventure, the author shares his favorite flight-seeing journey from Ryan Field to a number of beautiful airstrips and natural wonders nearby.

Sandusky, Ohio

If you like roller coasters, you’ll love Sandusky. Its Cedar Point amusement park situated on the Lake Erie shore is home to the world’s largest collection of roller coasters. In addition to all the rides, you’ll find a separate haunted house, perfect for getting into the Halloween spirit. As author Heather Sanders Sable explains, hotels here not only provide quality lodging and food, but plenty of year-round activities, including indoor water parks, arcades, and safari zoos. You’ll also find carousel and maritime museums, golf, and a historic lighthouse. You might enjoy a romantic dinner in a historic winery, a popular French-inspired bistro, or choose a family-style Italian restaurant. When it’s time to retire, you can stay near the amusement park or hide away in a Victorian-era home with precious antiques and a nearby park—a perfect way to unwind after an exciting day.

Rochester, Minnesota

When people think of Rochester, Minn., the Mayo Clinic comes to mind. But Rochester also makes an excellent weekend getaway, any time of year, since much of the town is connected by elevated and enclosed glass bridges that keep it “always 72 degrees” inside. Author Patricia Strutz shows you how to take advantage of this well-thought-out city’s infrastructure and enjoy Rochester’s memorials, museums, shopping, and abundant public art. There’s a nice golf course right next to the airport, or take a driving tour to the great Mississippi River, which is especially scenic in fall. You can also ride a Segway through the local parks. Hunting season begins in fall, so you can bag your limit from specially-designed blinds and take home some Canada geese for a special Thanksgiving dinner. With over 5,000 hotel rooms, Rochester boasts a huge array of fine accommodations for the discerning guest. Downtown offers 165 restaurants, so you can choose between cutting-edge menus, ethnic eateries, riverfront bistros, and many more.

Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

Deep within the heart of the Navajo Reservation in northeast Arizona sits Canyon de Chelly, a treasure to all who love mystery and the majestic silence of a remote sandstone canyon. Your hotel or tour guide can provide free pick-up from the convenient Chinle airport. Your Navajo guide will escort you into this beautiful canyon that you can explore on foot, horseback, or via Jeep. Fall is a particularly good time to visit, with mild weather and cottonwood trees that glow bright yellow against the red rock walls. Technical Editor Crista V. Worthy relates that you can see ancient ruins and rock art, learn about the geological and human history here, and you will feel like you have traveled back in time. It’s no wonder many people visit Canyon de Chelly again and again, and leave each time with their spirits renewed. On your way home, you can enjoy a flight-seeing tour over the world’s most spectacular geology.

New School vs. Old School

Pilots often divide themselves into two categories: Those who feel a pilot should hand-fly their aircraft, rely on traditional technologies, and use technical advancements only as a supplement; and those who use all the new bells and whistles, as well as the autopilot, every chance they get. Master CFI Peter King feels there is a better—and safer—way. Read his article and gain new insights into how you can use both techniques to be the best pilot you can be. But you have to do it right so you don’t overload yourself in a single-pilot cockpit.