Flying over Palm Springs, you can see snow-capped peaks blanketed in pine forests, expansive deserts, and a huge inland sea. Plan to extend your Summit experience with some side trips before or after the show.
Pilot Getaways Magazine recommend the following nearby flight-seeing opportunities and recreational diversions:
At 6,000 vertical feet above Palm Springs, the mountain resort of Big Bear offers summer boat rentals on an alpine lake, four-wheel-drive and ATV rentals, and winter skiing and snowshoeing. Make sure your airplane and piloting skills are up to par before flying to Big Bear City Airport (L35) at 6,752 feet msl; pattern altitude is 7,952 feet.
Ride thermals, catch a mountain wave, or earn a glider rating at Sky Sailing at the Warner Springs Gliderport (CL35).
Former state park pilot Jon Muench wrote a two-pamphlet guide, Anza-Borrego Sky Trail, that documents 15 scenic waypoints in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, including huge sand dunes, volcanic formations, fossil reefs, the Palomar Observatory, and an old gunnery range pockmarked by the remnants of World War II-era bomb craters. Another waypoint on the tour, the 376-square-mile Salton Sea, borders the east side of the state park at 228 feet below sea level. Fly to Borrego Valley Airport (L08) to visit the park and purchase the guide for $4 at the Visitor Center store (760-767-4205), or download GPS waypoints for the Sky Trail at www.pilotgetaways.com/aerial-tours/abskytrail.
In World War II, more than 1 million troops trained in the 18,000-square-mile Desert Training Center (DTC) under General Patton. The remnants of these army bases are still visible as street patterns and abandoned runways carved throughout the desert north of Interstate 10. Download a list of GPS waypoints for a DTC aerial tour at www.pilotgetaways.com/aerial-tours/dtc-tour, or visit the General Patton Memorial Museum at Chiriaco Summit Airport (L77) to see artifacts from that era.
Departs from Palm Springs/Thermal, CA after Summit is over on Sunday, October 14, 2012. Returns to San Diego, CA on Saturday, October 20, 2012. Enjoy autumn flying down the Baja Peninsula: Perfect weather, beautiful scenery and a wonderful selection of activities and destinations, as well as lodging in first class hotels. Caribbean Sky Tours will lead the trip, process all paperwork and documents, arrange for lodging, meals and tours as outlined in the itinerary, and assist participants throughout the entire trip. Sign up online.
Departs: 10/14/2012 after Summit has ended. Returns: 10/17/2012. Join Jack and other Baja Bush Pilot Members for an “Explore Loreto” trip. Quick, easy, simple and fun. It is scheduled to start between the Sunday that AOPA winds up and ends at the start of Club Pilotos in Alamos. Once you arrive, your ride will be waiting to take you to the Hotel Oasis for a welcoming drink and perhaps to kick off your shoes and walk on the sandy beach. Sign up online.