As the weather continues to get better and vacation season approaches, many pilots begin looking beyond short local flights and start to think about venturing out a bit further—maybe for a camping trip or a day at the beach. After all, one of the most exciting benefits of general aviation is the freedom of travel.
In flying clubs, this freedom of travel can be fully realized. Unlike renting an aircraft from an FBO or a flight school—commercial operations that depend upon aircraft for income—taking a club aircraft for a weekend vacation or a day trip is often not difficult to do. To celebrate the fun that can be had by setting out on longer cross-country flights—whether it’s with friends and family or other club members—we will be devoting this edition of the Club Connector to articles about travel.
Are you looking for adventure, but unsure where to go? Read on as we unpack some of the features in AOPA’s Destinations Web site in News from HQ—and discover just how easy it is to find new, exiting locations for your next trip. Our Question of the Month addresses the different things you’ll want to think about if you do decide to schedule your club’s aircraft for travel, while this month’s Safety article addresses important considerations to keep in mind when embarking upon any long VFR cross-country flight.
On the topic of long cross-countries, the Austin Aviators—the focus of this month’s Club Spotlight—recently took a trip to Mexico. The trip, which is detailed in our Event Spotlight, involved four aircraft. The article takes a look at all of the preparations that were involved in the flight, and will give you good insight as to what to expect both on the ground and in the air if you ever decide to use your club aircraft to journey internationally.
Buckle up for a far-reaching edition of the Club Connector!
Are you thinking about planning a trip? Perhaps looking for new ideas for places to travel? Try using AOPA’s recently unveiled Destinations platform. This new part of AOPA.org—which will allow pilots to “explore the world from the airport out”—will be a one-stop shop for pilots looking to find everything from restaurants and lodging to activities like skiing, amusement parks, or museums. There will even be opportunities to save some money on hotels and car rentals. The tool is meant to provide inspiration for adventure, and to allow pilots to get the most out of GA travel.
By using the new directory, pilots will be able to manage wide-ranging aspects of a cross-country in a single place, from planning trips by activity and checking for lodging availability to viewing comprehensive airport information and downloading terminal procedures. There will even be features that will allow pilots to read crowdsourced reviews from airport and FBO visitors—meaning that you will now be able to get firsthand feedback about the location you’ll be visiting.
Tools and features will continue to be added—so keep checking back to see what the latest planning capabilities are within this exciting platform. Also, check out the AOPA Travel page to read travel stories, explore discounts, purchase travel guides, or use AOPA’s flight planning tools.
AOPA Fly-In Season Approaches
If you’re looking for adventure, why not start by planning a flight to one of AOPA’s four 2018 Fly-In locations? These locations are gateways to explore the mountain Northwest, high desert mountains, a center of the automobile and aviation industries in the Midwest, and a relaxed beach town along the Gulf Coast—all of which are great family vacation destinations.
The first of AOPA’s popular two-day events will kick off on June 15 and 16 at Missoula International Airport in Missoula, Montana. Located in the Rocky Mountains, Missoula boasts breathtaking scenery, unlimited outdoor activities, a rich arts and culture scene, breweries and wineries, shopping, and more. Stated simply: there’s something for everyone. Outside Magazine has listed Missoula in its Best Towns section as the next big thing. If your club is in the Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North or South Dakota, or Nebraska area, Missoula represents an ideal flight. That’s not to say that—if you live farther away—Missoula wouldn’t make for a great long cross-country!
If you do end up flying into Missoula, be sure to attend the Maximum Fun, Minimum Cost seminar on Saturday at 9 a.m. The seminar—which will be presented by AOPA Flying Clubs Initiative Director Steve Bateman—will focus on how to grow a flying club. We hope to see you there!
Wings ‘N Wheels
AOPA hosted its third annual Wings ‘N Wheels event on May 5th at Frederick Municipal Airport. Despite a few raindrops, the event was the biggest yet, drawing an estimated 6,500 people. Nearly 100 cars, as well as dozens of motorcycles and aircraft were on display, and the event also included live music, kids’ activities, and numerous local food options.
The B-25 Mitchell Panchito made an appearance, and attendees were able to take rides in the historic aircraft. The AOPA Sweepstakes Super Cub was also on display. Overall, the event was a tremendous success, drawing people to the airport and showing them how accessible aviation can be.
Wings ‘N Wheels events are popular at airports throughout the country, and make great destinations for flying club trips. For more ambitious clubs, they can also be fun events to host. If your club is interested in putting together a Wings ‘N Wheels day at your airport, talk to your airport’s management. You could even work with other groups at your airport, such as flight schools, FBOs, or different clubs—with everyone taking on organizing and hosting duties. Such events represent excellent opportunities for clubs to give back to their communities, and to share aviation with the entire family!
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