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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 11:10 am

Best Places To Go Flying

Wed Jun 23, 2004 12:57 pm

Hey guys,

I'm sure all of us have experienced at least a few times a gorgeous day where the temperature is perfect, visibility is unlimited, and the air is so smooth you feel like you're sitting on your living room couch. What kinds of places in the US and the world have these conditions most predominately?

Out here in northern Colorado we often will get great visilibity but you must be up really early in the morning to not get bounced around some...

I know it might not be the best explaination of what I'm making this subject about, but hopefully you all will understand.  Big thumbs up
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Wed Jun 23, 2004 1:21 pm

San Diego has great weather nearly year round, it can get bumpy if you go east over the mountains, or over the coast when there is a nice breeze coming in but still, we have plenty of days I wish I could drop everything and fly.
Life is better when you surf.
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Wed Jun 23, 2004 2:14 pm

Queenstown, New Zealand. Very nice and scenic (if that's your thing)
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Wed Jun 23, 2004 2:27 pm

I hear that Anytown, USA is a great place.
Chicks dig winglets.
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Fri Jun 25, 2004 12:48 am

Here in Daytona Beach, FL, its great flying weather more times than not. Like right now, its gorgeous blue skies with not much winds. Of course, you have to fly before or after the inevitable afternoon thunderstorm during the summer days, but all in all its good for flying. Which is why we have ERAU and 4 other flight schools at our class C airport  Smile
Here Here for Severe Clear!
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Fri Jun 25, 2004 3:39 am

During the summer months, nothing beats Montana! That's about as scenic as it gets in the lower 48. Well, in the northwestern part, the plains in the east are kinda dull. The winter is terrible though.

The archipelago outside Stockholm is beautiful as well. Just bring a life jacket!

Altitude is Insurance - Get Insured

RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Fri Jun 25, 2004 5:17 am

The smoothest air? Not in my neck of the woods!

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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Fri Jun 25, 2004 6:37 am

New England has been a great place to fly in my opinion. I remember taking off from Morrisville-Stowe one crisp winter day and after climbing to altitude over the Lamoille Valley, being able to see Mount Washington in New Hampshire over 60 miles away.

New York City was another cool place to fly if you didn't mind having to dodge airspace and talking to the controller to get what you want. Although now I probably wouldn't have done what I've done earlier in my younger foolish days. Trying to stay out of the New York Class B south of Long Island and trying to get into the Hudson River, New York Approach kept me below 500ft along the shore and handed me off to Kennedy Tower. It was kind of interesting being overflown by the heavies out of Kennedy, as well as flying up the East River, doing a steep turn to avoid LaGuardia, and then going up the Hudson River after circling the Statue of Liberty a few times.

I just recently had an opportunity to fly in Hawaii. The scenery is spectacular, especially along the north shores of Molokai and Maui, but your crosswind technique better be pretty good. As it's pretty turbulent near the surface. Flying in Hawaii is a bit different, GA support is almost non-existent, so getting fuel can be a bit challenging sometimes.

San Diego and Southern California has been my local flying area as of late. Unfortunately in Southern California, although the flying is pretty good, the visibility is absolutely horrible, with haze and smog reducing visibility down to 8-10 miles most of the time. After you climb out, the air is a sickly shade of yellow and brown. The air is relatively smooth along the coast. Although inland it gets turbulent. I really like the marine layer, it made for some easy IFR time. Flying up the coastline is pretty scenic and you get to watch the rush hour traffic on I-5 moving up and down the coast.

I do have to say I'd probably kill to have a job as a pilot with Flight International or Phoenix Air, the guys which do target towing for the Navy over the Pacific Ocean off Southern California. I think I'd like to buzz the Navy ships and jam the crap out of them for once instead of being the sitting duck waiting the "shoot" them down. Those guys come in at 100/150ft at 350-400kts and the CIWS Phalanx 20mm guns just go nuts trying to track them.

Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Fri Jun 25, 2004 7:20 am

Well for sailplane pilots smooth air is not the best flying weather, give me cumulus clouds galore, sort of like how Florida is during the Spring and fall months. Now the mountain wave is also makes for great soaring over near Reno, NV.

But other than that, the areas that have the most VMC weather in the US are Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, and Southern California.

I believe at the moment that the busiest GA airport is in Southern CA.
At worst, you screw up and die.
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Fri Jun 25, 2004 8:51 am

I enjoyed this very much:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Nick Onkow
View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Nick Onkow

I would like to fly out west in a light aircraft sometime, to see the opposite as well.

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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Fri Jun 25, 2004 9:37 am

I recently flew to Colorado Springs from Austin and found the air to be quite smooth at 10,000 ft.....

The mountains are nice to see, it's interesting being at 10,000 or 11,000 ft and still looking up at terrain (pikes peak). I was tempted to do some flying through the mountains while I was there, but as it was I remained well to the east of the front range. Probably a wise decision as I am not too familiar with the area.

It was also interesting to see the baron take nearly 3000ft to reach rotation speed at KCOS.....good thing we had 11,000 ft runways.

Picture below taken yesterday climbing through 9,000ft just east of KCOS.


RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Fri Jun 25, 2004 11:44 am

Hey Nick,

Nice pics! I have some news that you might find... interesting.

Anyway, speaking of the west, I found some cool pictures in the database of my old stomping grounds.

Old home field, got my private through CFI here, not to mention stood on top of that mountain four times, and mountain biked all around it:

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Photo © Nathan Anderson

Flew here once, just goofin' off trying to build up enough time to take my commercial checkride:

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Photo © Nathan Anderson

Flew to this airport splitting time. Five hours of flying in the summer bumps, but very fun.

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Photo © Europix

Flown to this airport more times than I can remember, driven past more times than that.

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Photo © Nick Sharp

I have the utmost respect for these guys:

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Photo © Jeff Miller

And finally, a good shot at Salt Lake Int'l:

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Photo © Brett B. Despain


[Edited 2004-06-25 05:04:34]

[Edited 2004-06-25 05:06:02]

[Edited 2004-06-25 05:08:06]
Posts: 2436
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Sat Jun 26, 2004 9:06 am

Congratulations on getting hired! I'm quite sure that's what you mean if I understood another one of your posts.


RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Sat Jun 26, 2004 11:53 am

Yup. You headin' back in the fall?

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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Sat Jun 26, 2004 1:14 pm

Any place you can shut down the Avionics master on the aircraft.
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Sat Jun 26, 2004 1:57 pm

Well, HMO has 300 cloudless and slightly windless days a year (desert) with almost 30 miles visibility, but this is also the case of most of north western Mexico. I'd say the same for Arizona, California and New Mexico.

The only downside is that temperatures almost every week in late spring and until early fall rise above 40 Celsius. Also ,if you think the desert is boring on the ground, then you might like it more from the air. Big grin

Just my $0.02 clams  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Sat Jun 26, 2004 6:13 pm


Awesome pictures! I've been to Provo once, on a x-country from Grand Junction, CO and I can nothing but agree with you. Utah is very beautiful. Hope to go back!

Altitude is Insurance - Get Insured
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Sun Jun 27, 2004 4:03 am

L-188, your last post has earned you a spot on my respected users list!

I had forgotten how much fun it is to just slow down, get low and look around while I was doing my instrument and multi training.

I would love to fly out of Grand Junction, I've visited Moab, Ut a couple times for mountainbiking trips and the high desert is just captivating. Of course, getting a good, clear day in St. Louis is rare during the summer, but during the winter months if a strong high pressure moves in the visibility is unlimited and at night you can look out one window over central Illinois and see the glow of Chicago, and out the other one to see the glow of St. Louis. That's cool.
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Sun Jun 27, 2004 11:52 am

I'll put in my recommendation for the Pacific Northwest US - western Oregon & Washington.

With the obvious exception of off-and-on IFR conditions in the winter (low clouds & rain) the weather is usually beautiful. It's not hot enough to cause thermal turbulence, not windy enough to cause terrain turbulence, and the occasional rain keeps the skies clear and visibility great. The scenery is spectacular too, with lots of green trees, mountains, ocean shores, and Puget Sound waters to look at.

I spent three years as a CFI there, and have been living there for over 20. Now, after flying all around the US, I still think it's the best place for small plane fun.

One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Sat Aug 07, 2004 2:45 pm

I have to agree with XFSUgimpLB41X. Anyplace is great!! However, I also consult to see if I really want to go. I mean, why just go and burn the gas if you can't make it a destination. One of my favs during my student days was the Flying Turtle. (MFD) But just to go do touch & go is good enough. Never have to leave the pattern to have a good time.
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Sat Aug 07, 2004 3:29 pm

Nighttime over the Southern California coast. Smooth as silk.
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Sat Aug 07, 2004 4:18 pm

Vote number 2 for the Pacific Northwest. Western Oregon here.
09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0
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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Sat Aug 07, 2004 5:02 pm

Of all the places I've flown, the South island of N.Z. invariably blows me away, every time I go - it's just so pristine and beautiful, and...well, weather-wise it's not always great, but enjoyable nonetheless. I would shamelessly self-plug to illustrate, but I'll spare you; check out my N.Z. photos through my profile if you'd like.  Big grin

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RE: Best Places To Go Flying

Mon Aug 09, 2004 10:38 am

I agree with the others, Utah is fantastic, I lived there for a year, my fiancee worked at Heber, and I completed my multi and CFI at Provo. I've since moved back to New Jersey again and one of my favorite flights is flying up the Hudson River at 500 feet. It is still open to VFR traffic under the class B areas, which is great. The view is still spectacular, even though the dominating Twin Towers are now only a memory. I've taken some good photos from the air but none are quality.
For aircraft owners on the East Coast: I work at an airport in Medford New Jersey, it was originally built as a weekend getaway for pilots and their families. There's an airplane-shaped pool, full service restaurant, recently renovated 24 room motel, golf course, pilot shop...and more. Email me if you want more info or the web site.
There are 3 simple rules for making a perfect landing every time. Its a shame that no one knows what they are.

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