You are hereWinter 2004

Winter 2004

This time of year often makes us seek out warmer climates. In this issue, we feature destinations from Oceano that looks like a mini Sahara desert to Crystal River where manatees swim to seek out warmer waters. From a very remote dirt strip in Nevada to a lakefront airport in Ohio, we point out different ways to fly and enjoy this winter.

Oceano, California

Oceano Airport is an interesting place that is flanked by golden sand dunes that remind our editor of the Sahara Desert, and the blue Pacific Ocean. The variety of what to do here mimics the extremes of its surroundings. You can take it easy and just relax on the beach, or get your adrenaline rushing by riding in a Humvee or ATV on the sand dunes. Author Michael Coyle shares the various attractions of this unique California getaway…even revealing the best place to get an old-fashioned ice cream sundae!

Crystal River, Florida

If you’re looking for a warmer place to relax this winter, follow the manatees to the Gulf Coast of Florida. More than 450 of these gentle giants migrate from the Gulf of Mexico to swim in the hot springs on the city’s coast. Jumping in the water to swim with these amazing creatures and petting them gently is a truly unique experience. Of course, other activities like golfing, tennis, and dining on fresh seafood makes this winter escape one that you won’t want to miss.

McMinnville, Oregon

Sometimes words just don’t describe things accurately. Like how big certain things are. This is definitely true of the Spruce Goose, one of the largest airplanes ever built. Millionaire entrepreneur Howard Hughes, under contract with the U.S. government, constructed the enormous seaplane with the specifications to transport up to 750 troops during World War II. Surprisingly, it was made almost entirely of wood. And boy is it big! Its wingspan is 108 ft. wider than a 747, its tail span is wider than a B-17’s wingspan, and its vertical stabilizer is as tall as an 8-story building. You can see this magnificent airplane up close at the Evergreen Aviation Museum, just across the street from the airport. The museum houses many other airplanes from some of the first planes ever flown to an SR-71 Blackbird. For a complete change of pace, McMinnville is right in the middle of wine country. From winery tours to historic hotels and unique aircraft, this is one Northwestern airport that you’ll love to land at.

Cleveland, Ohio

In the words of author Bonnie Manning, “If you think you know Cleveland, think again.” This town has evolved from being a center of the 19th century Industrial Revolution to become a thriving hub of culture and tourism. Your visit here begins with an incredible approach to one of the last lakefront airports right next to a bustling downtown. As you descend along the coastline, you’ll dip below the level of skyscrapers seemingly right off your wing, and touch down near the shoreline. This unique aerial vista can be followed by visits to great museums, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a vast lakefront state park, and even a meal on a floating barge. You’ll soon understand why the words to Drew Carey’s sitcom theme song say, “Cleveland Rocks.”

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Tasty food is not the only reason that Solo’s Restaurant is desirable to fly-in pilots. It is conveniently right next to Colorado Springs Airport, and one of its dining rooms is inside the fuselage of a large, shiny airplane. It’s easy to spot the restaurant, just look for the Boeing KC-97 aerial tanker that looks like it taxied too close to a building. Whether you dine under the tanker’s wing that extends into one dining room, or sit in booths inside the fuselage, you’ll enjoy a great meal. From the aviation décor surrounding you to the sounds of P-51 Mustangs piped into the restrooms, Solo’s is truly geared to people who love aviation.

Soldier Meadows, Nevada

How often have you flown over thinly populated reaches of land and wondered “do people actually live down there?” Well, author Greg Illes shows us first-hand what life is like at one of these remote places. Soldier Meadows is in a remote corner of northwestern Nevada and after landing on the dirt airstrip here, you can spend some time in one of the wildest parts of the western U.S. Eat meals with cowboys, relax in natural hot springs, and see the world from a new perspective.

Vortex Generators

These little blades glued to the wings of airplanes do more than just snag rags when you wash the airplane. They create controlled turbulence at the surface of the wing to extend its capabilities. This controlled turbulence can shorten takeoff roll, increase climb angle, tighten maneuvering radii, lower approach speeds, and save brakes and tires. After reading the article and seeing the comparison of the VG manufacturers for the various models of airplanes, you too might install some on your airplane and start to enjoy turning off the runway at taxiway alpha.

Weather Go/No Go?

On his return flight from this issue’s Bush Flying destination, Greg Illes encountered worsening weather that caught him by surprise. He explains the situation, the lessons learned, and how to make the right decision on whether to go or not go when the weather turns bad.