You worked hard to get your pilot’s license and if you’re not flying on getaways on your days off, vacations, or public holidays, you’re missing half the fun. Flying as a hobby can be tremendous fun. You can take flights around local scenic regions. And you can also travel to little-known spots that aren’t always frequented by tourists.
Getaway for A Day
The pleasurable experience of flying to a getaway doesn’t start when you get there.
It actually starts when you first fantasize about your getaway, and it then builds momentum when you visit your favorite Pilot Shop to get the right supplies and reduce the risk of problems when flying. You might, for example, need up-to-date sectional charts to access the right airport frequencies, obstructions, and towers.
Finally, you’re up in the air with nothing but clear blue sky as far as you can see for a hundred miles.
Once you land at the local airport, you might stop in at the FBO to pick up a courtesy car, which they have available for pilots who use their services, and go exploring. If you time it right, you’ll then return the car, hop back into your plane, and catch the sunset from the air as you fly back to your home airport.
The best way to get a glimpse of what it’s like to embark on a flying adventure is best captured by listening to true stories.
Here’s one from a blog post by John Kounnis on his Memorial Day getaway flying in Montana:
“We took off from Idaho Falls under clear skies, but soon encountered an overcast deck at about 8,000–9,000 feet with scattered rain showers and visibility down to 5 miles. Although that may seem like a high ceiling, most of peaks along the route are between 9,500 and 11,500 feet, meaning we were confined to the valleys. Departing Idaho Falls, we proceeded direct to Tigert Airport in Soda Springs, Idaho. From there, we followed U.S. Highway 30 about 45 nm to Cokeville Airport in Wyoming. With surface elevations of 6,000–6,500 feet and the peaks around us shrouded in clouds, this was perhaps the most challenging leg of the trip. Ramona was not familiar with the area, so she clung to my left wing like a little duckling following mama duck through the clouds.”
Plan for a Full Slate of Adventures
The smartest way to get the most out of the adventure of flying is to plan everything well ahead of when you have the time. Don’t worry about this spoiling the fun. There is plenty of time for spontaneity once you’re up in the air.
Where you go and what you do depends on many factors, like the season and how much time you have available.
Let’s take a look at two different scenarios.
- Scenario 1: It’s winter. You’re in the United States.
- Scenario 2. It’s summer. You’re in Australia.
- · You can enjoy the country’s biggest ski areas by flying to the rocky mountains of Montana.
- · You can plan on outdoor activities in Oklahoma.
- · You can spend your days skiing high up in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and then spend the nights in front a crackling fire in a quaint New England Hotel.
Australia is surrounded by sunny islands and unique reefs. It’s a good place to explore the top Australian diving spots.
- · You can fly over the Great Barrier Reef which stretches about 2,000 km along the Queensland coast.
- · You can go deep sea diving around the SS Yongala, which was shipwrecked in 1911 by a cyclone. It now looks like an artificial reef because of its bright coral and swarming marine life.
- · You can fly to breathtakingly beautiful places like Fraser Island, Hervey Bay, Kangaroo Island, or Baird Bay.
Live Full Out
As a pilot, you aren’t constrained by the season or the location. There is always something to do wherever you live and whatever time of the year. However, exploration isn’t necessarily about the thrill of seeing new things; it’s more about experiencing them more fully based on your interests.
Here are some more suggestions to spark ideas on how to get the most out of your flying getaways:
- · If you’re mad about aviation, visit aviation museums around the country.
- · If you’re a history buff, visit Indian ruins and historic sites.
- · If you’re a romantic, visit upscale lodges hidden away in the mountains.
- · If you just love unspoiled vistas, visit areas far away from the tourist crowds.
- · If you love to explore local cultures, visit lesser known towns alongside great lakes, mighty rivers, and remote mountains.
As you enjoy the warmth of the sun while mowing your lawn over the 4th of July weekend, your thoughts might turn toward what great adventures you can embark on this summer.