by Yasmina Platt
Copyright 2021. All rights reserved!
Published in Midwest Flyer Magazine June/July 2021
Traveling during a pandemic has proven to be risky and, therefore, undesirable for many. RV travel trends have increased because people are not only transiting in their own vehicles, but also staying (eating, sleeping, showering…) in their own houses on wheels, with their own stuff. Flying General Aviation (GA) though (especially if you own your own aircraft) is also a great Covid-friendly way to travel, especially for day trips. This blog highlights a few airport lodging options and resources you may want to consider, now and in the future, during overnight trips.
New York’s Drop Inn B&B is not called that for no reason. This cute log house is located at Shear Airport (63NY). With prior permission from the owners, you can fly into their 3,153-foot grass strip, skydive (get the “drop inn” reference now?), visit Niagara Falls, and tryout wineries among other things.
If peace and quiet is what you’re looking for, West Virginia’s Hales Landing Airport (2WV3) has a 3,100-foot grass runway and an Airbnb. Ask the owners for permission to land when booking your stay.
During your next trip to Texas Big Bend country, you can consider booking one of Casa de Aero’s Airbnb listings in Terlingua. With their permission, you can fly into Fulcher Field (3TE8), which features a 3,600-foot gravel runway. The owners can provide you with rental car information for your stay. Or, if you prefer to tent camp, Big Bend Ranch State Park Airport (3T9) has a 5,500-foot paved airstrip and you can camp under your wing/rotor. The state-owned airport offers complimentary transportation to and from the park. Call ahead for more information and to notify park officials of your ETA (432-358-4444, ext. 224).
Because of its decorations, you may travel all over the world without leaving your Airbnb at Yucca Valley Airport (L22) in California. This may be my favorite option in this list, although it comes at a price. Not only because it is gorgeous and has great views of the surrounding mountains, but also because it is in a central location to Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park, and Big Bear, for example.
Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan, Wisconsin and its airport (C59) are 81 nm south of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Runway 18/36 is 4,423 feet long, but beware of trees, powerlines, and fences on both ends. Also, keep in mind the asphalt may have cracks with vegetation growing out of them. The resort is located across the highway from the airport. Swimming, golfing, boating, kayaking and paddle boarding are all Covid-friendly activities you can embark on while there, but you will face more interaction with other guests and staff while inside the hotel.
Similarly, flying into Nemacolin Airport (PA88) in Pennsylvania, and staying at the Nemacolin Resort, is without a doubt, the most luxurious option on this list. Obtain prior permission to land at least 48 hours in advance, then go pamper yourself!
On the other corner of Pennsylvania and much more outdoorsy, though still romantic, is an Airbnb at Cherry Ridge Airport (N30). Although this is a privately-owned airport, it is open to the public and features a 2,986-foot asphalt runway. You can park your aircraft immediately in front of your cottage.
Do your due diligence as PIC before each flight. For example, keep in mind most of these airports/airstrips do not offer fuel and may not have lights for night flying.
My blog (www.airtrails.weebly.com under the tab “Other”) also has an Excel listing of friendly airports and helipads with onsite camping, onsite restaurants, onsite museums, bike lanes nearby, and places to watch aircraft come and go in the Central Southwest area of the country. You may also want to join the fairly new Facebook group called “Pilot friendly Airbnb” for additional offerings.
Links for the referenced lodging options:
– New York’s Drop Inn B&B: https://skydivethefalls.com/where-to-stay/
– West Virginia’s Hales Landing Airport Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/43515455?adults=1&federated_search_id=0a649748-9b55-441a-847e-6d8a67174082&source_impression_id=p3_1615984568_NqcaAx50K2P7grzc&guests=1
– Texas’ Terlingua Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/24017233?source_impression_id=p3_1614284607_GFhOJ9%2BsBdmvKfhU&guests=1&adults=1www.airbnb.com/rooms/24017233?source_impression_id=p3_1614284607_GFhOJ9%2BsBdmvKfhU&guests=1&adults=1) and Big Bend Ranch State Park Airport (https://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/big-bend-ranch/pdfs/airstrip-guidelines)
– California’s Yucca Valley Airport Airbnb: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/47059439?source_impression_id=p3_1614358208_wu1QCPLsi2CEUIYy&guests=1&adults=1
– Wisconsin’s Lake Lawn Resort: https://www.lakelawnresort.com/
– Pennsylvania’s Nemacolin Resort (https://www.nemacolin.com/airfield/) and Cherry Ridge Airport Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/32460316?source_impression_id=p3_1614359223_yrIDXPfA2UtkIu4c&guests=1&adults=1)
Fly safe and fly often!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Yasmina Platt’s new job has her planning the future of aviation infrastructure for Joby’s electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) aircraft. She also writes an aviation travel blog called “Air
Trails” (www.airtrails.weebly.com), in addition to articles on pilot destinations for Midwest Flyer Magazine. Pilots can locate articles Yasmina has written by going to www.MidwestFlyer.com and typing “Yasmina” in the search box.