You are hereSeptember/October 2014

September/October 2014

Over much of the U.S., autumn can provide the best flying of the year. Along with falling temperatures and better engine performance come fewer thunderstorms, less wind, and less turbulence. So make the most of fall while it lasts! We’ve got some great destinations for fall flying. Each offers a completely different experience, so there’s something for everyone.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque has been the location for AMC’s popular show Breaking Bad, but the real city defies the stereotypes seen in the show. Set in the shadow of the beautiful Sandia Mountains, and with the Rio Grande running through it, Albuquerque makes a wonderful—and safe—weekend getaway. As Managing Editor Crista Worthy explains, visitors can start with Petroglyph National Monument, which begins right across the street from Double Eagle II Airport. In the monument, you can view hundreds of ancient petroglyphs and hike to several volcanoes. Outdoor enthusiasts can also hike or bike the Sandia Mountains, where they’ll enjoy cool breezes and expansive views of the valleys below. Or go for a jog beside ancient, tree-line aquecias (irrigation ditches), which residents still use to irrigate their locally grown crops. Every October, fans of hot-air ballooning flock to the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, the world’s largest. You’ll feel pure joy when you watch about 600 colorful balloons ascend into the blue sky or when you watch the evening Balloon Glows. Pilots can take a tour of the Eclipse jet factory to see cutting-edge technology right on the assembly line. Albuquerque has plenty of upscale shopping and art galleries, as well as authentic Indian jewelry and art, all over town. You’ll want to try authentic New Mexican cuisine while you visit. When it comes to chiles, New Mexico takes them seriously. Even their state question is: “Red or green?” This refers to what type of chile sauce you’d like. If you can’t decide, just order it “Christmas” style, and get both! Accommodations range from upscale eco-hotels downtown with hopping nightlife and rooftop bars to cozy B&Bs and even an historic farmstead designed by a legendary architect in his signature Pueblo Revival style. Like so many others who visit, we bet you’ll fall in love with this place!

Helena, Montana

Helena, Montana’s state capital, earned the nickname “Queen City of the Rockies” because miners pulled so much gold, silver, and other valuable metals from the area. They used their riches to build ornate mansions and one of America’s most beautiful state Capitols, all of which you can visit today. The city has also preserved an entire street of buildings that date back to 1867, just a block away from today’s fine shops and art galleries. An expansive network (75 miles) of hiking and mountain biking trails lead up into the southern foothills right from downtown. But as Managing Editor Crista Worthy explains, one of Helena’s biggest draws is in its rivers—literally. Trout that are the stuff of legend lurk in the mighty Missouri River, which runs just west of town, as well as in the nearby Smith River and the beautiful Blackfoot River. This is the same river fishermen everywhere know from the novel and film, A River Runs Through It. You can fish these rivers on your own or with expert guides; you’ll also find one of the best fly shops anywhere, so you can get any gear you may need. Fall fishing is still excellent, and you’ll probably have the river mostly to yourself. When it’s time to retire, you can snuggle up in one of two historic homes, now B&Bs, both built around 1875. You’ll enjoy snacks, sherry, or other goodies in the afternoon, and a gourmet breakfast to start your day. Helena offers a variety of cuisines, from espresso and bakeries to Mediterranean delights and a great steakhouse that will take you right back to the Old West.

Newport, Rhode Island

Remember the fabulous mansions you saw in The Great Gatsby? These Gilded Age mansions really do exist, and you can visit them now in lovely Newport, R.I., where the ridiculously rich gallivanted a hundred years ago, and where you can get a taste of that opulence today. Author Heather Connellee describes how you can sail on a real 12-meter America’s Cup racing yacht. Help raise the sails and then lean back as the slick yacht catches the wind and cuts through the water at a surprising speed. Or take a bay tour in a historic high-speed hooch-runner from the Prohibition era and view the mansions and lighthouses from the water. Walk along the famous Cliff Walk or go bird watching in a nearby wildlife refuge. Enjoy beer and rum tasting at a local brewery, or dig into some local clam chowder, clams, and lobster at a variety of seaside shacks and restaurants. Newport has plenty of fine dining as well. You can enjoy an incredible sunset on the lawn of a bluff-top mansion, then dine inside at the restaurant complete with white tablecloths, an extensive wine list, and expansive ocean views. You can sleep in one of these mansions as well … how about a Vanderbilt? Or pull up the covers inside a luxurious stateroom onboard an 80-foot motor yacht. Gentle ripples will rock you to sleep as you dream of Gilded Age glories.

Buffalo Outdoor Center, Arkansas

For a wonderful wilderness retreat in the Ozarks, look no further than the Buffalo Outdoor Center (BOC), perched above the banks of the Buffalo River near the tiny hamlet of Ponca, Ark. Author Bill Roberts takes you on a journey over the beautiful Ozark Mountains to a neatly manicured private airstrip lovingly referred to as “Ponca International.” Both the airstrip and the BOC are owned and operated by Mike and Rhonda Mills. Mike bases his Peterson 260SE STOL airplane at the 1,300-foot airstrip and will meet you after you land. Next, he’ll take you to one of a selection of private cabins in the woods that he built. Relax on your porch or go for a walk in the woods. You can also take a canoe or kayak down the peaceful river where the fishing is excellent. Guided horseback trail rides, spa treatments, and a zip line tour are also available. Borrow the courtesy car and drive to Mystic Caverns, eat at a local restaurant, or drive the scenic highway. You can also jump into your plane for a short flight to enjoy another grass airstrip at Gaston’s White River Resort. It has an excellent restaurant beside the large turf runway. Buffalo Outdoor Center is one of those secret surprises we love to reveal to our readers. Don’t miss it!

Angle of Attack Indicators – End the Guessing Game

Pilots know that a stall occurs when the aircraft exceeds its critical angle of attack, and an aircraft can stall at any airspeed or attitude. The key to avoiding an inadvertent stall during takeoff, landing, and other maneuvers is to know how much remaining lift is available to keep the airfoil flying. Unfortunately, the GA accident record shows that too many pilots are turning too steeply at too low an airspeed, resulting in a stall, spin, and crash. Others who try to leave too much of an extra safety margin of airspeed can run off the ends of short runways. An angle of attack (AOA) device ends this guessing game immediately, which means it can save lives. In February, the FAA recognized this by greatly simplifying design approval requirements for AOA devices. Managing Editor Crista Worthy explains the different types of AOA devices available, how they work, and how easy it is to read their displays. Once you get used to relying on your new AOA indicator, you’ll feel a growing confidence when you make steep turns, and you’ll be able to nail your landings without using too much runway and without risking a stall. Get a quick overview of the leading brands and see how affordable this technology can be for your airplane. You’ll understand why AOA indicators offer some of the best safety bang for the buck available in aviation today.