Looking for a new place to fly? Wondering where to spend your next vacation? Part of the joy of flying includes exploring new places while avoiding airlines and long road trips. Here are five stunning places that will remind you why you fly and double as fun vacation spots for the whole family. If you haven't been to these places, put them on your flying bucket list for 2015!
First Flight Airport (KFFA), Kill Devil Hills, Outer Banks, NC
First Flight Airport should be an airport in every aviator’s logbook. A flight to KFFA will let you experience flight as the Wright Brothers first did at Kitty Hawk in 1903. The airport itself is part of the Wright Brothers National Memorial. It’s home to the Wright Brothers Memorial, which rests high on Kill Devil Hill, the Wright Brothers Visitor’s Center, the Flight Line, where large stones commemorate the Wright Brothers’ takeoff points, and a reconstruction of their living quarters.
But that’s not all. There are plenty of things to do in the Outer Banks, so plan on grabbing a hotel or beach house and staying on the beach for a few days. The area offers a wealth of activities like golfing, fishing and hang gliding. View some of the area lighthouses or just relax and take in the sights.
Airport Information: KFFA has a 3,000-foot asphalt runway. There are no instrument approach procedures, and it can be windy. If you need a larger runway, you’ll find a 4,305-foot runway six miles south at Dare County Regional Airport (KMQI). Stay aware of the restricted areas, MOAs and other low-flying operations like hang gliding.
Pilot Services: AOPA has donated a pilot’s lounge that is reportedly accessible at all hours, but there is no fuel available here, so plan ahead to stop elsewhere.
Sedona Airport (KSEZ), Sedona, Arizona
Red rock country offers spectacular views and a relaxing atmosphere for a vacation. Sedona airport sits atop a gorgeous plateau of red rock, and flying in is a treat - as long as you are prepared for the potential downdrafts associated with the sharp drop-offs on approach and landing.
There’s a nice restaurant with panoramic views at the airport and it’s a quick trip to the downtown area, where shopping and tourist attractions are plenty. Take a jeep tour across the red rocks or visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross, which is built into the side of a canyon and is an impressive architectural sight.
Airport Information: KSEZ has a 5,132-foot runway. Look up the noise abatement procedures before you go, and expect turbulence around the airport. There’s a GPS approach to Runway 3. Its elevation is 4,736 feet, so keep density altitude in mind.
Pilot Services: Full pilot services are available at Red Rock Aviation. The airport restaurant, Mesa Grill Sedona, is fantastic.
McCall Municipal Airport (KMYL), McCall, Idaho
McCall is a great airport to visit year-round. If you’re looking for a great ski resort, check out Brundage Mountain Resort, which has 46 trails on 1500 acres. In the summer, the area around McCall offers amazing hiking, camping, fishing and river rafting opportunities. For a quiet, peaceful vacation away from it all, McCall is the place to be.
Airport Information: McCall’s runway is 6,108 feet. It sits at 5,000+ feet, so keep density altitude in mind. The area gets a lot of snow in the winter, and KMYL is only attended during the day, so night approaches during the winter can be tricky. There are RNAV(GPS) approaches to either runway.
Pilot Services: 100LL and JetA are available at McCall Aviation, along with a variety of additional pilot services. Hangar space, preheating and de-icing services are available.
Nantucket Memorial Airport (KACK), Nantucket Island, MA
Nantucket Island has it all: Beaches, whale watching, lighthouses, shopping and restaurants. From the airport, rent a car or a bicycle and explore the island. It’s a great place to take the family for a few relaxing days in the heat of the summer.
Airport Information: KACK has three runways, with the longest being 6,303 feet. There are multiple approaches available, including an ILS on Runway 06/24. There are noise abatement procedures in place. It can get foggy here, so expects delays. And don’t forget that you may need floatation devices on board for this trip!
Pilot Services: A full service FBO is located adjacent to the terminal. It’s recommended that large aircraft call ahead to make arrangements. Bring your own tie-down rope and look up the landing fees in advance.
Mackinac Island Airport (KMCD), Mackinac Island, MI
History buffs will love Mackinac Island. Pronounced "Mack-in-naw," the island separates the lower and upper peninsulas in northern Michigan, and is a great place for a day trip in the airplane. Cars are not allowed on the island, which keeps things peaceful. Hike, bike or take a horse-drawn carriage around the island and see historic sights, caves, springs, rock formations and wildlife. Check out Fort Mackinac, which was constructed by the British during the War of 1812.
Airport Information: KMCD has a 3,501-foot lighted runway. There’s an RNAV(GPS) approach to runway 08/26 and a VOR/DME-A approach. No touch-and-goes are allowed here. If you need a longer runway, or are getting a hotel for a few days, try Pellston Regional Airport (KPLN), which has a 6,500-foot runway and more pilot services.
Pilot Services: Call ahead for the landing fee. Tie downs are available, but no fuel or maintenance services are available. If you’re going for longer than a day, you’ll want to fly into KPLN for full pilot services.
Are you planning to fly somewhere new in 2015? Share your airport ideas with us in the comments!