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Winter 2003/2004

Celebrate 100 Years of Flight!

In the spirit of bundling up for winter, you’ll notice the extra layers of our Winter issue. We’ve expanded significantly with the acquisition of Northern Pilot magazine, formerly a backcountry flying publication. Pilot Getaways welcomes great new columnists and extra features, along with our usual destinations around the country. This winter we take you to Kill Devil Hills for aviation’s 100-year party. You can cozy up to a warm fire in Utah or Vermont. Immerse yourself in the warmth of Arkansas’ natural Hot Springs, or hike through red rock scenery after landing at an uncharted bush strip. And there’s much more, so grab a cup of hot chocolate and plan your winter adventures with Pilot Getaways!

Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

In December 2003, many of aviation’s faithful will travel to Kill Devil Hills in celebration of the Wright Brothers First Flight. There they will put their feet upon the same ground that saw the Flyer's skids brush by so long ago. With hopes of good weather, the Flyer will take to the air again, and witness can relive an event that took place a century ago, to the day. Our cover story tells you how to maneuver when First Flight Airport is temporarily closed for the celebration, and why this spot in the Outer Banks is worth the trip even after the crowds dissipate.

Hot Springs, Arkansas

For centuries, a valley in the Arkansas Ouachitas mountains has been the focus of pilgrimages for “the cure” for life’s ailments. Even in this age of high-tech medicine, hot mineral waters from 47 unique thermal springs are sought out by folks who find magic here. If soaking in 4,000-year-old thermal water sounds good, file a flight plan to Hot Springs, Arkansas, otherwise known as Spa City. Hot Springs is a quaint and quirky Victorian town with a fascinating history that includes warriors, gamblers, mobsters, and a recent U.S. President.

Hollywood, California

More than just a place, Hollywood is a myth, a legend, and an attitude. This is the place to indulge in the fantasy that comes with being in the center of the entertainment universe. With excellent weather and accessible airports, aviators can make their own pilgrimage to Hollywood. Author Michael Coyle shares a star-studded activity list, and debunks the myths associated with flying into busy Los Angeles airspace.

St. Charles, Missouri

It is clear that the town of St. Charles takes pride in its history. In wintertime, its downtown area takes on a bright spirit all its own. With festivals and living history characters, St. Charles honors the traditions of its past. Especially during 2004, the bicentennial year of the Lewis and Clark expedition, don’t pass up the chance to visit this lively town alongside the Missouri River. Its airfield merits a few hours as well, with a museum where you can see a Timm Collegiate flown by Charles Lindbergh, a twin-engine de Havilland D.H.89 Dragon Rapide, the first Curtiss Air Sedan, and more.

Park City, Utah

The deep, dependable snow of Park City offers skiing, snowboarding, and a variety of winter fun on three mountains. An Olympic Park fit for the greatest athletes in the world sits just north of the city and serves competitors and the public. Here, you can fly in and try bobsledding, ski jumping, and other Olympic events. You can race on a downhill course, rock and roll in the superpipe, and set your own personal record on the bobsled run. Author Linda Fore shares the ins and outs of living your own Olympic dream.

Mount Snow, Vermont

Mount Snow caters to couples and families that love outdoor sports, beautiful scenery, crackling fires, dancing, and dining. As you explore southern Vermont, the mixed scents of burning wood, sugar maples, and pine trees permeate the crisp winter air. Our article by Christine Boulette shares the insider scoop on attractions here, most within a 15-minute ride from Mount Snow. Free shuttle service and hotel pickups make this romantic getaway an ideal place to fly in and set your own “freshies” in the snow.

Urbana, Ohio

The warm, welcoming atmosphere at the Grimes Field’s Airport Café holds the northern winter weather at bay. The Café’s kitchen is a living tribute to owner Pat Hall’s grandmother, whose homemade pie recipes have piped wonderful smells and holiday cheer here through many years’ worth of winters. Along with a meal at the Café, schedule a visit to the magnificent Beech C45-H known as the Flying Laboratory, now being restored by volunteers.

Mexican Mountain, Utah

Author Greg Illes tells us there is a fine line between “challenging” and “oops” when heading for an uncharted strip like Mexican Mountain. Barely visible in the bottom of a river canyon, the strip sits next to the butte from which it takes its name. The Utah red rock terrain here is starkly beautiful, and civilization is nowhere to be found. This is not an airstrip for the novice, or even for a great bush pilot in a modestly powered aircraft. However if you have the experience and equipment, Mexican Mountain is a paradise.

Don't Be in a Fog - Dealing with Nature's Veiled Hazard

With winter upon us, the conditions that bring “severe clear” weather in pleasant climates can also produce a phenomenon that significantly impacts flight operations. Radiation fog, or “ground fog,” can restrict visibility over wide areas to the point where even IFR flight is impossible. Brush up on the hazards and common misconceptions of radiation fog in our article by Dale Wilson, who teaches aviation weather and safety courses at Central Washington University.