Flying Places: Smiley Creek, Idaho (U87)

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May 2012

Most pilots have a favorite destination, either because it is in a beautiful part of the country, or because of the friends who gather there with you. My preference is Smiley Creek, Idaho, for both reasons. It is as close to the perfect place as I have found, plus the long grass strip is appreciated by the pilots that fly here...

Let me tell you about my favorite fly-in destination, Smiley Creek.
On my first visit to Smiley Creek, I remember clearing the ridge, northwest bound, at ten-five, and looking out under the left wing at Sun Valley, Idaho and thinking about all the successful folks who live in those fancy houses and wondering what businesses they were in to produce that wealth. Just curious thinking, as I am not jealous of them—matter of fact, I am happy for them and their success. I hope they are enjoying it.

But I’d almost bet that they are not having as much fun as I am, flying along at ten-five in smooth air and really looking forward to the gathering at Smiley Creek… which is now very close. Just one more high ridge to cross, and then I will be in the valley.

Even though I know exactly where the strip is located, it is still difficult to spot: everything is green, including the well-watered strip. I have been listening to pilots on 122.9 since I passed Sun Valley, and now I make my call, announcing that I am entering from the south to land at U87. Wow, I say to myself, what a beautiful strip!

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