Favorite Flying Charity
Pilots N Paws (PNP)
4651 Howe Road
Landrum, South Carolina 29356
I’m a volunteer pilot for Pilots N Paws (PNP) and am a big softy for anything with four legs and a tail. Pilots N Paws is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in Landrum, South Carolina that was founded in 2008 by animal-lover Debi Boies and pilot Jon Wehrenberg. It’s basically a dating service for rescues. The 100% volunteer organization’s purpose is to exchange information about transports to save animals and get them to their forever homes. They subscribe to the simple economic theory of supply and demand. Their real goal, after all, is to go out of business.
Most Picturesque VFR Flying Adventure
New York VFR Corridor
I have experienced the Hudson River from land, sea and air. The picturesque Hudson River corridor starts in the Catskills and travels south past the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Historic and scenic sites visible from the air include the Statue of Liberty (The Lady), the Empire State Building and the FDR Library and Museum. It’s an extremely challenging airspace so have that iPad up-to-date with the Sectional, VFR Terminal Area Chart and Helicopter Route Chart for New York.
If time permits, land at Sky Acres Airport (44N), a non-towered airstrip nestled on a picturesque 145-acre hilltop 10 miles east of Poughkeepsie, New York. Tail Winds Café at Sky Acres Airport is located at the end of an uphill taxiway in a converted dairy barn and silo that is the main terminal building It’s an All-American breakfast and lunch joint that includes a cozy fireplace, comfortable reading area and large picture windows facing the runway.
For a true culinary adventure that goes beyond the average $100 hamburger experience, land 8 miles northwest of 44N at Dutchess County Airport (KPOU). A quick 20-minute drive via U.S. Route 9 will take you through the town of Poughkeepsie, under the historic Walkway Over the Hudson, to the 170-acre sprawling Culinary Institute of America campus in Hyde Park. Four student-run restaurants await.
Tail Winds Café At Sky Acres Airport
30 Airway Drive
Lagrangeville, New York 12540
Culinary Institute of America
1946 Campus Drive
Hyde Park, NY 12538-1499
Best Fly-in Dine In Dish of 2014
Tri-Tip at the Waypoint Café, Camarillo Airport (KCMA)
325 Durley Avenue
Camarillo, California 93010
The Tri-Tip Sandwich ($12.95) is only served for lunch on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. Grab a seat on the outside patio and let the garlic, salt and black pepper dry-rubbed meat take you to heaven. It’s hot smoked low and slow over mesquite wood creating a perfectly penetrated smoke ring, a moist and tender mouth feel and a flavor reminiscent of some of the best pit masters in the south. This monster is served with crisp and fluffy julienne cut French fries and luxurious bacon flavored baked beans. Finish your experience with The Milky Way Milkshake ($4.95). It isn’t always on the menu but ask anyway. It’s a decadent combination of vanilla ice cream, Ghirardelli chocolate, caramel and malt that tastes like the candy bar on steroids.
2014 Bucket List Check off
Take off from and land on water in a seaplane.
I swear I heard John Williams’ iconic music from the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark while walking up to N295HC, the amphibious 1966 Helio-Courier. I even wore my distressed brown leather jacket for the occasion. Flying and landing a seaplane enhances your basic “stick and rudder” skills while giving you one of the most enjoyable flying experiences possible.
If a single-engine sea add-on rating is in your future, the good news is that there is no FAA written test. Just a day with a DPE who will test your knowledge of seaplanes and seaplane operations and take you on a low-stress practical test.
Most Unusual (but still good) Burger of 2014
Bachi Burger – Henderson
470 E. Windmill Lane, Ste100
Las Vegas, Nevada 89123
Henderson Executive Airport (KHD) has The Landings Restaurant, a good, clean and respectable $100 Hamburger destination. Better choice; ask the free shuttle at the FBO to transport you 5 miles north on Bermuda road to Bachi Burger. Their Angus beef burger with lettuce, tomato, onion and assorted condiments is tasty but the Miyagi-san’s Grass-Fed Wagyu Burger ($13) with chili mayo, fried egg, furikake (a spicy seafood flavored Japanese condiment), onion rings and caramelized bacon is the bomb. OMG.
Best Hot Dog of 2014
Super Duper Weenie
306 Black Rock Turnpike
Fairfield, Connecticut 06824
Six miles west of Igor I Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR) is Super Duper Weenie. In 2000, Chef co-owner Gary Zemora, transformed his mobile food truck into a brick and mortar location. Michael Stern, half of the famous Road Food duo, eloquently said, “[a] firm-fleshed, locally-made weenie that is split and cooked on the grill until its outside gets a little crusty but the inside stays succulent. It is sandwiched in a lovely fresh-baked roll and adorned with utterly amazing [house made] condiments…”
Landing at one of the Scariest U.S. Airports at night
San Diego International Airport, San Diego (KSAN)
According to Airfarewatchdog.com, this downtown airport is considered one of the most dangerous. Mountains form a semi-circle to the north and east, Mexican airspace resides 18 miles to the south, a busy class B single-runway and strong tailwinds occasionally blowing in from the west combine to keep pilots on their toes. The approach to runway 27 takes you in between a number of high-rise buildings, over a parking garage near the runway threshold and unfortunately lacks a precision IAP. While on short final, look out the window and wave at patrons dinning at Bertrand at Mister A’s restaurant.
Most Interesting Aviation Tour / Museum on an Airport
Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour, Paine Field (KPAE)
8415 Paine Field Boulevard
Everett, Washington 98204
The Future of Flight Aviation Center is a 28,000-square-foot aviation museum and education center featuring a number of interactive exhibits. The Airplane Design Zone allows you to digitally design, modify and test your own commercial jet before printing off the final schematic to take home. The Flight Deck Zone allows you to have a hands-on experience on a 727 flight deck as well as a virtual tour of the modern 787.The adjacent 90-minute Boeing Everett Factory Tour includes the main assembly building were guests can view various 700 series airplanes in all stages of construction and testing. The facility holds the record in Guinness World Records for the largest building in the world by volume.
Best Aviation Software That Keeps Getting Better
Founded in 2007, ForeFlight just keeps getting better. I use ForeFlight Mobile for iPad from start to finish. On the ground it’s used for planning, flight plan filing and couch flying. In the air it handles electronic charts, situational awareness and weather tracking thanks to my flying club’s Stratus 2 ADS-B AHRS receiver. It’s my ultimate “just in case” tool. This EFB software is loaded with features but more importantly, it’s just so easy and so much fun to use.
Best Aviation Read
Flight of Passage: A Memoir, by Rinker Buck (Hyperion; May 27, 1998, ISBN: 978-0786883158)
In June1966, Rinker and his brother Kern, flew round trip from New Jersey to California in a restored 1948 Piper PA-11 Cub. Rinker’s book delves into the complex relationship between the boys and their overbearing, one-legged, former barnstorming pilot father, Tom. “…the Associated Press would make us briefly famous by writing that we were the youngest aviators ever to fly America coast to coast, but it wasn’t records or fame we were after. What we were really doing was proving ourselves to my father." It’s an extremely well written, complex coming of age story in a time when the nation, and the boys, was caught between innocence and rebellion.
Call it Flight of Passage 2. Chris Nesin, a corporate jet pilot, developed a passion for everything Piper Cub after reading Flight of Passage. In 2011, Chris was looking to upgrade to a more powerful Cub and coincidentally stumbled upon N4971H, the plane flown by the Buck brothers. In the summer of 2014 after more than three years of heart retching restoration, Nesin and his wife April embarked on their own odyssey to recreate the Buck’s flight as closely as possible. Their flight also had another goal: to help raise awareness for the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer. They chronicled their adventure at http://www.supercub.org/cms/
For a true book on the how and whys of flight, Stick and Rudder: An Explanation of the Art of Flying by Wolfgang Langewiesche is a must read for any aviator of any skill level.
The fairly new Weather Flying, Fifth Edition by Robert Buck is the bible of weather flying. Update version of the aviation classic continues to make complex weather concepts understandable including advances in technology.