In the 120 issues we've published over the past 10 years, we've taken virtual flights to locations all around the United States and the world. We've visited museums, sampled some $100 burgers (and ice cream!), taken day trips and extended trips. We've been armchair flyers as our members and writers have flown into airports large and small, and we've been able to enjoy the pilot's view of some spectacular scenery.
Our very first issue took us to Cooperstown, N.Y.—and from there we were off and flying. Here are some highlights of the destinations we've featured through the years. To read complete articles, plus additional destination articles from past years, please log on to CessnaFlyer.org and search the article archives.
2004: Cooperstown, N.Y.
This picture postcard town features a beautiful tree-lined main street, the Farmer's Museum—the oldest outdoor living history museum showcasing rural life in the 19th century—and the Fenimore Art Museum.
But Cooperstown also happens to be the epicenter of our national pastime, also known as baseball. The National Baseball Hall of Fame calls Cooperstown home, and every year more than 300,000 people come to visit this shrine.
The airport, officially called Cooperstown-Westville Airport (K23), is just 30 minutes' flight time from Albany, 40 minutes from Syracuse and a little over an hour from Newark in any single-engine aircraft. Cooperstown, N.Y. is a great day trip, or weekend hop. Check it out on the web at cooperstownairport.com.
— Michael Leighton
2005: Islands of the Bahamas
I dream in color. Azure blue, coral pink, sunset orange. The silver of clouds when seen with the sun hitting them from above. Tropical fish colors and sea and sky colors. I dream of the Bahamas.
This past February I had a chance to return to the Bahamas.
The first leg of our trip would take us over Grand Bahama Island to Treasure Cay in the Abacos (MYAT) a distance of approximately 170 nm. We were to go over in a loose pack—no formation flying—with each airplane at an assigned altitude.
We would be able to talk to each other all the way over and this is, to me, one of the most fun aspects of the flight. As the faster planes reach the Caribbean and they get the first glimpse of that impossibly blue sea, they radio back to the rest.
We spent a week island hopping the Out Islands, soaking up the sun, seeing the sights and getting to know each other. It's amazing and wonderful how you start out as a group of strangers from different places and disparate backgrounds and you end the week as friends.
Two days later, we're back in Wisconsin. What a shock to return to Wisconsin winter after a week in the Bahamas. The wind chill must be 10 below zero. The skies are gray. But I dream in color.
2006: Jaffrey, N.H.
We've all heard of the hundred-dollar-hamburger: how about a hundred-dollar ice cream? Jaffrey, N.H.'s Silver Ranch Airpark (KAFN) is your place! You know you're close to Silver Ranch when you spot Mount Monadnock, a 3,164-foot popular hiking mountain.
Visiting Silver Ranch Airpark in the summer months (April through October) boasts the ice cream store, hiking on Mount Monadnock, and New Hampshire's staple of country B&Bs.
Upon arrival remember to keep Mount Monadnock in sight and be aware that Silver Ranch Airpark's runway has a pretty unusual decline in the runway on 16—therefore, 34 has a pretty unusual uphill slant. Also Silver Ranch Airpark can be a very busy place and it's common to wait to back-taxi before you can scamper off to get to that ice cream.
After getting settled, follow the signs about 300 yards down the little hill, over the pine-needled path and right into the flow of visitors who are all craving that delicious ice cream.
Remember to go hungry; the ice cream is served in gigantic portions. In the words of my husband: "Geez, look at this! I'm going to have to redo the weight and balance!"
2007: Natchez, Miss.
Spring's journey progresses 170 miles north of the Gulf of Mexico and arrives in the Mississippi River's oldest settlement, Natchez, Miss., in March. This is just in time for the annual Natchez Pilgrimage; 2006 marks the event's 75th anniversary.
In the spring of 1931, the ladies of the Natchez Garden Club hosted a state garden club meeting and invited the attendees to visit the local gardens and interiors of some of the city's fine antebellum homes. The visitors were awed with the gardens, mansions and priceless heirloom furniture that filled the homes.
The Natchez citizens offer a glimpse of old Natchez that shows the diverse life of a river town long ago. The homes, pageants, musicals and plays are well worth your time. The Tour Bureau personnel are most helpful in recommending what to see and where to eat and stay in Natchez.
The people at the Hardy Anders Field (KHEZ) were most helpful in arranging a rental car (in place at our arrival) and hangaring Bill.
2008: Fort Worth, Tex.
This Western town of nearly 700,000 is an enigma. You can watch cowboys drive longhorn cattle down the street, then visit one of the city's world-class art museums and finish the day at the world's largest honky-tonk, the opera, the symphony or at a rodeo.
And it is where the west begins, according to an 1843 treaty that assigned Indians the land west of an imaginary north-south line, while settlers were given the land to the east. The line became known as the place "where the west begins."
Fort Worth Meacham International (KFTW) on the north side of town is the largest General Aviation airport and offers a choice of full-service FBOs—Texas Jet, American Aero and Cornerstone Air Center.
About 10 miles north of Meacham is Fort Worth Alliance Airport (KAFW). Alliance serves Federal Express with a distribution center and is only a couple of miles from Texas Motor Speedway; on race days there's usually a helicopter shuttle service available.
Spinks (KFWS), Sycamore Strip (9F9) and Bourland Field (50F) are homier airports and have fuel and services.
2009: Philipsburg, Mont.
A small drinking town with a big fishing problem, Philipsburg is located in southwestern Montana, in a north-south valley with Flint Creek running down it.
At the north end is Drummond and at the south is Georgetown Lake—turn the corner at Georgetown Lake to the east and you will come to the copper mining town of Anaconda.
Riddick Field (U05) is right on the south edge of town, and an easy walk or bike ride. The airport is named after Merrill Riddick, an aeronautical engineer who got his wings in 1917 and served in World War I. But the best part? It's close to town. One of the criteria in my small-town book.
What to do? Lots! If you are into gems, sapphires are there in quantity; fishing is abundant; skiing in the winter, plus snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. There's even a ghost town called Granite for you to explore. What more could you ask for?
2010: Whitehorse, Yukon
Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada is located at Mile 918 on the Alaska Highway and just north of the 60 degree latitude line.
Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport (CYXY) sits on a bluff overlooking the city while the seaplane base, Whitehorse Water Aerodrome, sits on the river just below the main airport. There are parallel runways, 13 and 31, the longest being 9,497 x 150 feet and a cross runway, 19/01, that is 2,075 x 75 feet. Elevation at the airport is 2,317 feet.
There are numerous museums in the city of Whitehorse. If you have the time I recommend you visit each one.
If you really want to relax, take a short trip from town to Takhini Hot Springs and soak in one of its two connected pools. Water temperature starts at about 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees F) and cools going through the pool to about 35 degrees Celsius.
2011: Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons
Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons are two of the premier vacation destinations in the United States.
Both the two parks and related areas, including the resort town of Jackson Hole, Wyo., turned out to be particularly well suited for a flying vacation—in fact, some features really can't be fully appreciated unless you see them from the air.
The two closest airports, Jackson, Wyo. (KJAC) and West Yellowstone, Mont. (KWYS), have field elevations of 6,541 and 6,649 feet, respectively. On hot summer afternoons the density altitude can exceed 10,000 feet.
Of the two, West Yellowstone is closest to the parks, just a few miles from Yellowstone's west entrance. With a rental car, you can be out of your airplane and into the park in a matter of minutes.
Besides taking an air tour, driving and hiking through the parks, we spent some time in the small town of West Yellowstone and the larger town of Jackson—and were surprised to discover some aviation tidbits that aren't mentioned in most guidebooks.
2012: Half Moon Bay, Calif.
There are many scenic locations along the Northern California coast. One of the most picturesque happens to be an ideal fly-in destination, weather permitting: Half Moon Bay (KHAF). It's not only a great spot for a hundred-and-something-dollar lunch, but also provides opportunities for a spectacular aerial tour of San Francisco Bay on your way in or out...
On arrival, you have a few choices for a bite to eat: Three-Zero Café in the terminal building has a great reputation, but closes at 2:00 p.m. If you arrive late (as we did), taxi to the tiedowns at the extreme southeast end of the field and you can walk through a gate and immediately find yourself in the town of Princeton, which seems to have at least one bar and grill in each block.
2013: Wright Brothers National Memorial, N.C.
I flew into Dare County Regional airport (KMQI) at Manteo, N.C., the nearest full-service General Aviation airport, and rented a car for the 15-minute drive to Wright Brothers National Memorial.
This is a big seaside resort area and there are lots of hotels and restaurants if you decide to stay overnight. The memorial itself is a national park and your $4 entry fee is good for five days.
Inside the visitors center is a full-scale reproduction of the Wright Brothers' 1903 Flyer and their earlier glider. Artifacts like the engine block from their first engine, their early wind tunnel and letters they wrote are all on display. On the field is their hangar and living quarters, faithfully preserved.
If you haven't visited Wright Brothers National Memorial, it is truly worth the effort. It is a shining example of a good use for your tax dollars—and might just be the best four bucks you'll ever spend on aviation.
2014 and beyond
Follow along with us as we continue this adventure in the coming years. If you have a travel story to share—whether it's a day trip, a $100 hamburger run, or a cross-country trek—we'd love to hear it! Send your story idea to .