You are hereSpring 2003

Spring 2003

Enjoy the Advantages of Flying Private Aircraft this Spring!

The destinations in our Spring Issue are geared to flying low enough to enjoy the scenery from one side of America to the other. Passengers on commercial jets at 33,000 feet won’t feel the immensity and drama of Washington’s Cascade Mountains, nor do they get the fun of chatting on Unicom with the friendly locals in Chatham, Massachusetts. Private pilots know that flying to a place is often just as fun as actually arriving there. We bring you our picks of the season, with all the information you need to enjoy your time in the air and on the ground!

Cascade Loop, Washington

What better way to experience the Pacific Northwest than with an aerial tour of islands in Puget Sound, the glacier-capped Cascade mountains, apple country in the high desert, backcountry locales, and stops in historic towns? We’ve brought you the popular Cascade Loop driving tour from the best perspective: your cockpit. Fly into and out of selected airports individually, or fly a different segment of the route each day. It’s up to you. We bring you the highlights and details that make this Northwest tour a true aerial adventure.

Ocracoke Island, North Carolina

An aviation spotlight shines this year on North Carolina’s Outer Banks, as we celebrate a century since the birth of flight at Kitty Hawk. We take you a bit further down the coast to a tiny island with a picturesque fishing village and its own share of fascinating history. Ocracoke Island was a principal port of entry for ships in colonial times, and its inlet saw the fierce battle that ended the reign of the notorious pirate known as Blackbeard. Visit here to enjoy miles of pristine, undeveloped beaches, fishing, kayaking, and strolling through town.

Chatham, Massachusetts

From a distance, Chatham looks much as it must have when early European settlers arrived. It’s a place of wild natural beauty defined by the Atlantic Coast. On the ground, you’ll find a colonial-era town surrounded by country lanes and miles of windswept dunes. Chatham encompasses the qualities that have made Cape Cod a top vacation destination for decades. We’ll tell you how best to enjoy the delicious seafood and fun activities here, in a town that evokes an earlier America.

Galveston, Texas

Galveston is a laid-back port town with offshore oilrigs, Victorian mansions, and miles of beige-sand beaches. Lazing in the Texas-flavored Caribbean climate is an excellent option for vacationers, but the island offers more than a frolic in warm waters. Wander the shops of the Strand, visit the opera house, or see the 242-acre Moody Gardens. Although legends of buried doubloons persist, you’ll find Galveston’s real treasures are its fun attractions, accommodations, and people.

Mesa, Arizona

The superb flying weather and warm, dry air of Mesa’s Falcon Field has kept it the home of the British Cadet Pilot Training Program since 1941. There’s plenty here to keep aviation buffs entertained, with two on-site museums that pay homage to the history of military aircraft. Get up close to the beautiful B-17 and learn about international aces and jet fighters. Diverse activities from golfing to desert touring round out your adventure in Mesa.

Pensacola, Florida

For a place known for the serious business of training the best naval aviators in the world, Pensacola has a carefree, irreverent charm. This is the hometown of the Navy’s Blue Angels, and lucky visitors often catch them practicing over NAS Pensacola. Author Jonathan Birge advises you on getting in and around the complicated airspace here, and gives you the scoop on enjoying the town’s rich sense of tradition and history. He’ll show you why Pensacola is a rare find, a lively yet prestigious military town with a distinct sense of humor.

Healdsburg, California

Old style charm meets new world taste in Healdsburg, an agricultural town not far from San Francisco’s cosmopolitan influence. We recommend it as a romantic getaway for its cozy inns, fine wine, and great food combined with few crowds and easy fly-in access. Healdsburg Plaza is the place for antique fairs, festivals, summer concerts, and holiday open houses. You’ll enjoy the leisurely pace in this town at the heart of Sonoma County’s four major wine regions.

Springtown, Texas

Some of the best hotspots in Texas are found in quiet hamlets a few miles outside big cities. We bring you such a place -- a mere speck of an airport on a map of north Texas that leads you to a country steakhouse known as the Wild Onion. It’s a genuine Texas-friendly restaurant where you can enjoy a meal with fellow travelers, kick back, and swap stories with almost anyone in the place.

Sulphur Creek Ranch, Idaho

Deep in the mountains and far from the nearest town or road, Sulphur Creek Ranch offers a unique brand of hospitality and legendary breakfasts. You can relax, hike, or arrange for guided horseback riding and backcountry exploration. The fishing, according to ranch owner Tom Allegrezza, is “not just good, but exquisite.” All you need is the proficiency to fly in confined river canyons and the ability to land on the Ranch’s private 3,300-ft. gravel runway, skills that are amply rewarded on a visit to Sulphur Creek.

Flying in the Canyons - Learning to Read Wind and Water

Navigating mountain canyons requires skills that come only with practice. Techniques we learn in standard cross-country flight training can end up being hard on the engine, a waste of time, or even dangerous in mountainous terrain. Tips from editor John T. Kounis will help you understand canyon wind environments, recognize typical airflow patterns, know whether you can outclimb the terrain ahead, and more. Dedicated practice pays off when you safely land at backcountry airstrips few people will ever experience.