We recently reached out to our readers to ask them their favorite destinations. Here’s what a few of them had to say:
Tori Williams: I have always loved visiting airports with restaurants on the field. My favorite airport restaurant so far has been Sky Galley at Lunken Field near Cincinnati, Ohio. The airport has a lot of history and is very unique. During the summer you can sit outside and have the perfect view of the runways. I’ve flown there with friends on multiple occasions. My favorite meal is the Swiss Mushroom Burger with the dreamy chocolate brownie for dessert. It’s hard to beat the great food and the awesome view of downtown as you fly out of Lunken.
Jeanne MacPherson: Meadow Creek (0S1) in the beautiful big sky country of Montana. A picturesque airstrip with very nice camp sites on a bench overlooking the South Fork of the Flathead River. Fishing and hiking are both spectacular. Nothing finer than a camp fire and a star filled night sky with an owl hooting.
Chris Holub: Sedona, Ariz., is a quick and beautiful flight that I take several times a year. In fact I just flew a couple of my friends and myself up there this past weekend for a breakfast fly-in that was organized by some friends of mine. We had nine planes show up and 23 people all together.
Some tips for flying in and out of KSEZ: First off it’s on top of a mesa and has the nickname of the USS Sedona. The field elevation is 4,830 feet and it’s not a towered airport so listen for traffic 20 miles out and give your position reports as often as necessary.
I am coming from the south most of the time and so I approach the airport from the east and overfly the field at 5,900 feet and then enter a left downwind for Runway 3.
I have some personal minimums for this airport because often times it can get windy/gusty being on top of the mesa and makes for an exciting approach and landing. First off I will only land on Runway 3 and take off on 21 and it’s recommended to land on 3 with up to a 10 knot tailwind. Runway 3 is uphill and there is plenty of runway at 5,132 x 100 feet. I personally aim for the 1,000 foot marker and stay high over the approach end. That way I don’t have an issue with the down drafts.
There has been many a corporate jet land on 21 — remember it’s downhill — and end up running off the end of 3. I’ll take the slight tailwind and land uphill every time.
The last bit of advice is do a full power run up and lean for max RPM because you are already at nearly 5,000 feet and, depending on the time of year, you will have density altitude to deal with.
Robert Checchio: Block Island (KBID) off the Rhode Island coast is a great destination. For a quick visit there is a nice restaurant right on the field with outdoor seating during nice weather where you can watch the planes taking off and landing. For a longer visit, walk or take a taxi to the downtown area and spend hours visiting shops and restaurants and watching boats in the harbor. The runway is on the short side at 2,500 feet, but very doable for most four-seaters. I go there at least once or twice every year that I have been flying. It’s a great day trip from most airports in the northeast.
Moses Lonn: Martha’s Vineyard in the late spring or early fall before and after the hordes of ferry travelers. Flying is the best way to get there if your time means anything to you. Bring or rent a bicycle and enjoy the quaint villages and magnificent ocean views. It’s a marvelous place.
Bill “Dr. Marchetti” Vitale: I would love to name some of the many wonderful flights and destinations here along the East Coast if I may:
- Beginning with the Acadia National Park and Swans Island, Maine;
- The Hudson River Corridor in New York for the pure shock and awe of Manhattan;
- Newport, Rhode Island, for the Jazz Festival and the Baronial Mansions;
- Martha’s Vineyard, to hob-nob with the celebrities;
- Nantucket, for the peace and serenity;
- Atlantic City, New Jersey, for Bader Field and Black Jack;
- Cape May, New Jersey for just caught five-pound lobsters;
- Ocean City, Maryland, for the beach and bikinis;
- Chesapeake Bay Bridge Airport, Maryland, for steamed crabs;
- Tangier Island, Virginia, for a trip back in time;
- North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for Southern Hospitality;
- All of Florida for pure sunshine, golf and pleasure: Amelia Island, St. Augustine, Ormond Beach for the real Dover Sole at Cafe Crepe en Haute, Daytona for the 500 races, Spruce Creek Fly-In for everything aviation and fellowship, Orlando with the kids for Disney World, Lake Wales for the sod air strip to Chalet Suzanne, Sebring for the races and sheer nostalgia of Hendricks Field where I was stationed in World War II, Palm Beach for the elegant New England Grand Dames “down for the season” at the celebrated Breakers Hotel, the rustic Cedar Key, Sanibel and Captiva Islands on the Gulf of Mexico, the grandeur of Naples and Marco Island and any of the mystical Keys from Key Largo to Key West.
And none of this even begins to describe our many lovely and easily accessible resorts of The Bahama Islands, Nassau on New Providence Island and the entire magnificent Caribbean.You must come and visit!
Jeff Turk: My favorite destination is Pagosa Springs, Colorado (KPSO). Pagosa Springs has an easy instrument approach, an 8,100-foot runway, a friendly staff, a heated hangar, reasonable gas prices, and it’s close to everything someone could want, summer or winter.
In summer there are balloon festivals, aviation events, horseback riding, and all kinds of beautiful summer mountain time stuff. Nearby Durango has a gorgeous steam train.
But winter is when Pagosa really shines. Wolf Creek Ski Resort is a hidden gem. The resort almost always has the most snow anywhere in North America. The backcountry runs are fantastic. The groomed runs always feature short or nonexistent lines. Pagosa Springs has several options for places to stay, ranging from a mountaintop yurt to a Wyndham Resort. I recommend renting a private cabin. The local natural hot springs, for which the town is named, are great for evening relaxation.
When arriving, call Unicom 10 miles out, and they will have a spot in the hangar ready for you. Unless you know the weather will be flawless and your stay is short, I would not park outside in the winter.
There are a couple of caveats to flying into KPSO in winter. I do not recommend arriving or departing Pagosa in anything approaching actual IFR conditions, even if you are highly proficient. Local weather can change rapidly, weather reporting is extremely localized, and lifting action caused by the mountains can cause severe icing. If the weather looks the least bit questionable, please land before the front range, or Albuquerque, or wherever before getting into the mountains.
Also, the airport operator does not plow the runways until well after the snow has stopped. You can get stuck for days if you don’t plan carefully. Check airport NOTAMS before departure to make sure the runways are plowed. Like I said, most snow in North America!
In summer, consider airport elevation and make sure you understand the impact of high density altitude. That’s about it!
J. Koz: Ocracoke, N.C. — Except for winter time…a nice place to visit. Several great restaurants within easy walking distance and, the beach is just over the dunes. No fuel however.