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eFlightPlan - December 2013
Vol 2 Issue 5 May 2014

Welcome to eFlightPlan!

eFlightPlan is a free monthly newsletter designed to supplement our other pilot travel resources, including our bimonthly Pilot Getaways Magazine—available in print and digital formats!

eFlightPlan brings you snippets and snapshots from our various information platforms, including links to our full Flying Tips articles from Pilot Getaways Magazine.

We've always helped you have fun with your airplane at a plethora of pilot-friendly destinations, from unmarked backcountry strips to exclusive fly-in resorts! Pilot Getaways now offers multiple avenues to access this unparalleled travel resource for pilots and their flying companions—be they family, friends, or our non-human pals.

We continue to expand with new product options and our iPad app is back in development! We'll be rolling out the new version with full functionality updates before Airventure 2014 in Oshkosh, Wisc. Also, check out previous issues of eFlightPlan in our archives, and keep up with our latest happenings on Facebook, Twitter, or go to our ever-evolving website, www.pilotgetaways.com.

Now that Memorial Day has passed and summer is officially here, check out the May/Jun 2014 issue of Pilot Getaways Magazine for many great flying destinations!

Remote Alaska — Flying to the great scenic wilderness of Alaska tops the "bucket list" of many pilots. In our May/June issue, we continue our coverage of Alaska we started last year. Having covered south-central Alaska, including the Kenai Peninsula, Kodiak Island, and Wrangell-St. Elias last year, Managing Editor Crista V. Worthy takes you to more remote locations in the 49th state.


From Anchorage, you'll learn how to fly through spectacular Lake Clark Pass to a remote fishing lodge on Iliamna Lake that is offering half-price specials for 2014. See why the Bristol Bay watershed is the greatest salmon fishery in the world. Experienced guides take you by float plane or boat into wild rivers that teem with sockeye and trout. Plenty of huge bears flock to the area to join in the feast as well.

Flying over Lake Clark National Park & Preserve is an eye-popping treat: glacial lakes sit like turquoise gems set in emerald forests. From Lake Clark, you’ll head north to a remote new lodge that will create an all-inclusive, custom vacation plan for you. Next, you’ll head to Denali National Park and read how to safely navigate around Mt. McKinley, North America’s highest peak at 20,320 feet.


With only one road, Denali offers wilderness and wildlife everywhere; you can even land your airplane inside the park in certain areas. From Denali, head north to a remote lake that you can explore with your floatplane. Or fly north of the Arctic Circle to lodges where you can bask in natural hot water pools, dine on fresh organic vegetables, fish, and local game, meet sled dogs, or explore the Gates of the Arctic National Park, with its otherworldly granite peaks and remote lakes. Rivers here teem with king salmon, sheefish, and trout.

On your way back to the lower 48, you can land inside the Yukon-Charley River National Park at a remote airstrip near the Yukon River. Stay for free in a cabin with stove, or camp, and explore some of the most remote forests in the world before you head home. It will be a trip you’ll never forget!

Read the whole article in the current issue of Pilot Getaways Magazine.

Third Class Medical

Washington, DCMore than two years ago, AOPA and EAA jointly filed a petition with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to expand the Third Class Medical exemption. This exemption would allow more pilots to fly without the expensive and burdensome medical exams now required. However, despite 16,000 supportive comments, the FAA took no action — until now.

In December 2013, House Representatives introduced H.R. 3708, the bipartisan General Aviation Pilot Protection Act (GAPPA), to abolish the Third Class Medical requirement for any pilot of a non-commercial VFR flight below 14,000 MSL, in aircraft up to six seats and 6,000 pounds gross weight. An identical measure saw its introduction to the Senate, S. 2103, in March of this year.

According to AOPA, these bills now have a total of 113 co-sponsors in the U.S. House and Senate, with more elected officials are joining every week, and the FAA has announced that it will begin a rulemaking process to expand the Third Class Medical exemption to more pilots.

GAPPA and its Senate sister are essentially bills about jobs, meant to protect a way of life that we in the GA community all believe in. A General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) report shows that production of single-engine planes plunged from 14,000 in 1977 to fewer than 700 in 2010—a drop that translates to thousands of layoffs.

AOPA is urging its members and the GA community to continue to fight and keep the bills moving forward in Congress and on to reforms that will expand the Third Class Medical exemption to the maximum number of pilots as quickly as possible.

Effecting this reform would save GA pilots millions of dollars a year in exam fees, and help thousands of pilots who’ve quit flying because of minor medical issues to get back in the air – with no negative impact on safety.


Current policies require evaluation of an aviator’s fitness to fly by an unknown bureaucrat in Oklahoma City who has never met nor personally examined the aviator. In 2011, only 218 aviators were issued final denials after providing all FAA-requested information, while more than 100,000 aviators were medically cleared—all at taxpayers' expense.

Third Class Medical

Only the aviator can truly determine his or her fitness to fly. Medical incapacitation is rare – only 23rd on AOPA's Air Safety Institute list of common accident causes after loss of control, CFIT, mid-air collisions, and even causes listed by the FAA as "unknown" and "other."

Your contribution will not only strengthen the legislative efforts in Washington, D.C., but will help reach out to the GA community in every corner of the nation and encourage them to attend town hall meetings, send letters, make calls, and visit personally with elected officials whenever possible. Together, we can provide critical facts and information not only to lawmakers, but to the media, to FBOs, local airport boards and others, and generate the maximum public support for this critically-needed reform.

Contribute today!



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Sharing Airspace with the Big Boomers
by Greg Illes

They are beautiful, dangerous, and full of mystery. Like a femme fatale in an action movie, thunderstorms are lovely to look at, unpredictable, and menacing all at the same time.

So much has been written about these phenomena, it is difficult to discuss them without repeating age-old conventional wisdoms: keep 20 miles away from thunderstorm cells and stay on the upwind side. These guidelines are useful, but some additional information can help you creatively circumnavigate cells and still fly safely.

Thunderstorm "cells" are cumulonimbus clouds in various stages of development. The two major types of cells are distinguished by how the beasts are generated. Summer air-mass storms tend to have a lifetime of one to two hours, move slowly, and are often visible from many miles away. Winter frontal storms are more difficult to deal with; they are created by frontal energy and can last for many hours. They move quickly, bunch up, and cause poor visibility all around, and are frequently embedded in IFR weather conditions.

Where Are They?

Cell location is of paramount importance, and therefore is the first consideration in dealing with thunderstorms. The closer a cell is to your route, the greater the problem it will pose. Astute weather planning—via FSS, or weather and flight planning websites—is a cornerstone of cell avoidance. Weather radar from ATC is sporadic at best, and their radar is designed to see airplanes, not weather, so readouts may lack in accuracy. Often, your best detection tools are your eyes.

(read the full article)

RAF Donor Appreciation Fly-In

Columbia Falls, Mont.RAF Annual Donor Appreciation Fly In at Ryan Field June 27th-29th, 2014

This is the only weekend that the RAF closes Ryan Field to the public and reserves it for donor members only. The event starts on Friday night with an RAF potato bake with all the fixin's. Please bring a salad or dessert and whatever you want to drink. Saturday is set aside for hiking, visiting with fellow pilots, or shopping in the RAF General Store. It is the perfect time to pick up your RAF logo wear. For safety we request no fly outs and we will limit the number of airplanes to 35. There is no limit to the number of people or cars. If you want to fly to MT but cannot fly into Ryan Field, Kalispell City (S27) is nearby. On Saturday night the RAF will furnish the steaks and we ask you to bring a salad or dessert and whatever you would like to drink.

A mountain flying safety seminar will be held in the afternoon. Saturday evening the RAF will cook steaks on the grill. If your last name starts with A-L, please bring a salad, M-P, please bring a light hors d' oeuvre and Q-Z please bring a dessert.

If you are not a donor member but would like to come to the Ryan Fly In please contact Tricia at tmckenna@theraf.org or click here to become a donor member.

Registration for this event is required. Click here to register for the event.

RAF Donor Appreciation Fly-In
The Ryan airstrip in the shadow of the Flathead Range near Columbia Falls, Montana.


Since Pilot Getaways started publication in 1998, many subscribers have written to us about trips they have taken after reading about particular destinations featured in the magazine. We're featuring a reader-written getaway in select issues of eFlightPlan. Check out all of the Reader Getaways in our blog!

Have you had a great vacation based on something you read in Pilot Getaways? We'd love to share your experiences with other readers! Send your stories (and photos if you have them) to eFlightPlan@pilotgetaways.com and we'll publish some of them in our monthly bulletin, eFlightPlan. No professional writing or photography experience necessary!

Looking for a great summer getaway to write about?

Jasper Airstrip Now Open

Jasper National Park, Alberta, Can.
—The Jasper Airstrip (CYJA), located within Canada's Jasper National Park, is now open to pilots for non-commercial use. The airstrip had been designated as "emergency use only" for many years; its reopening for public use came after lengthy efforts by the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA). The turf airstrip is maintained year-round; its 3,990 x 150 foot Runway 13/31 appears on Canadian charts at 52° 59' 48N, 118° 03' 34W.

The airstrip is situated along the east side of the 140-mile long "Icefields Parkway" Highway 93, which parallels the east side of the Continental Divide. Glaciers by the dozen spill down the slopes of the Rockies toward the highway, which National Geographic dubbed "one of the 10 greatest drives in the world." Pilots who fly the route are treated to outstanding views of giant icefields and multi-hued turquoise glacial lakes and rivers.


Jasper has one or more cable tie downs and a telephone and self-registration ($5 per day) booth; contact park superintendent if unsure, 780-852-6155. Just east of the airstrip, along the river, are a washroom, table, firewood, and bbq pits; for day use only, no camping. There is no fuel at the airstrip; nearest fuel is a 15-min flight to the turf Hinton/Entrance Airport (CEE4). This video of a fly-out from CEE4 to CYJA shows the airstrip, approach, and scenery (begin at 7:00).
The luxurious Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge offers free pick-up for guests; taxis are $35 from strip to town.

For more information, contact the Jasper Flying Club 760-852-8208, or check out Crista Worthy's blog for more amazing Jasper photos!

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