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Explore the backcountry in AugustExplore the backcountry in August

Pilot Passport challenge offers extra points for flying on National Aviation DayPilot Passport challenge offers extra points for flying on National Aviation Day

Fly around the Badlands, Glacier National Park, the Tetons, Hells Canyon, or the Alaska Range for some breathtaking views. When you land, be sure to check in using the AOPA app’s Pilot Passport feature to compete in the August backcountry mountain flying challenge.

Super Cub Sweepstakes

AOPA's Alyssa Cobb explores mountain and canyon flying in the Idaho backcountry near Hells Canyon, landing at the Slate Creek grass strip. Photo by Mike Fizer.

Backcountry and mountain flying have become increasingly popular—so popular that CubCrafters is producing a nosewheel NXCub to open the backcountry to more pilots.

Whether backcountry flying is on your bucket list or one of your current favorite pastimes, August is a great time to go exploring. AOPA will reward the three Pilot Passport participants with the most check-ins in Montana, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, and Alaska. The three winners will receive a $25 Hertz Car Rental coupon and a $25 AOPA Pilot Gear certificate.

If you live in one of those states, well, you have an advantage over the competition! Just go out, have fun, and land at as many airports in your state as you can—and enjoy the backcountry while you’re at it. But don’t forget to check in via the app at each stop. If you don’t mind, share some photos too!

I have been fortunate enough to enjoy the thrill of backcountry and mountain flying in Montana, the Dakotas, Idaho, and Alaska over the past five years. Here are a few of my favorite spots!

August pilot passport challenge

  • August pilot passport challenge
    The terrain across Montana changes dramatically from flat ranches to snow-capped mountains. This area is almost otherworldly. Photo by Alyssa Cobb.
  • August pilot passport challenge
    The Brooks Range in the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve features tall peaks as pictured here. Passes are important for traversing the area for numerous reasons, including low ceilings. The FAA is in the process of depicting more passes on sectional charts. Photo by Alyssa Cobb.
  • August pilot passport challenge
    Alaska Floats and Skis owner Don Lee and AOPA Director of eMedia Alyssa Cobb fly in Denali National Park. Photo by Mike Fizer.
  • August pilot passport challenge
    Don Lee, founder of Alaska Floats and Skis, and Joseph Talbot, one of his pilots, instruct AOPA's Alyssa Cobb on gravel bar landings. Photo by Mike Fizer.
  • August pilot passport challenge
    Approaching Glacier National Park near Kalispell, Montana, the snow-capped mountains are simply stunning on a crisp, sunny winter morning. Photo by Alyssa Cobb.
Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Cobb

AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Cobb has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
Topics: Travel, Backcountry, Apps

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