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June/July 2000

Table of Contents
Camping with your Airplane
Flying the Backcountry
Establishing Recreational Airports
The Call of the Wild
The new Aviat Husky
The $100 Hamburger
McGehee's Catfish Restaurant, Oklahoma
Back To Basics
Flying Safely to Remote Airstrips
Hangar Flying:
The Choir
SWAV News Update

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SW Aviator Magazine
3909 Central NE
Albuquerque, NM 87108
Phone: 505.256.7031
Fax: 505.256.3172
Camping with your Airplane

Whether it be under the wing in a makeshift tarp/tent at Oshkosh, or decked out with a full array of L.L. Bean gear in the Utah or Idaho backcountry, airplane camping can be a particularly fun and unique experience.

The airplane can provide a perfect escape from the weekend crowds by whisking us as far away as we desire, while relieving us of the burden of a heavy laden backpack and weary legs. The airplane gives access to those who love nature but aren’t physically able to hike or carry large loads. By being our pack mule as well as our legs, the airplane extends our range and takes us farther than we would otherwise go.

Airplane camping is also practical. It is a great money saver. A single night’s savings on hotel bills can cover an entire weekend’s avgas costs. Costly taxis and rental cars can be avoided, since the flexibility of staying on-field often makes airport courtesy cars easier to come by for sightseeing or shopping. During the peak tourist season when hotel rooms are scarce, airplane camping allows us to maintain complete freedom, still able to make that last-minute dash off to a popular location or special event without worrying about reservations months in advance.

Camping under the wing at a large fly-in or airplane gathering brings a special sort of camaraderie and bonding that must be experienced to be understood. There is something special about walking the flightline at Oshkosh at night with three or four thousand other airplanes and campers. Social barriers evaporate and cliques disappear as we are forced to acknowledge, silently perhaps, “Yes, truly, we are a band of brothers and sisters.” We realize we have finally captured the magic, and realized the essence of the promise the airplane holds .....Adventure!

The following examples illustrate a number of diverse destinations throughout the Southwest.

Lake Texoma, Oklahoma
Nestled along the western shore of Lake Texoma, halfway between Oklahoma City and Dallas, the state of Oklahoma has successfully combined a diverse array of activities with a traditional recreational attraction. The Kingston-Lake Texoma Airstrip sits on a peninsula within Lake Texoma Resort State Park. Camping is available along the lakeshore just an easy walk away. For those less eager to rough it, a resort lodge, cabins, two golf courses, horseback riding, a complete marina with boat and watercraft rentals, go-carts, and other features are combined within the park. The 3000’ x 50’ strip is paved and well kept with pilot controlled lighting. Ample parking and courtesy pick-up service are available for guests. Call (580) 564-2566 for more information.
Payson, Arizona
Nestled high in the tall, cool pine forests of central Arizona’s Mogollon Rim country, the campground at Payson Municipal Airport is the perfect getaway from the desert heat. This is Arizona’s first official fly-in campground, and has been a huge success. Fully improved campsites with picnic tables, fire and barbecue pits, and leveled tent sites are sprinkled between the pine and juniper trees on a shady knoll just above the aircraft parking area. There is ample fresh water, and the ultimate camping luxuries of flush toilets and hot showers. In addition to just relaxing and watching the airplanes go by at this busy little airport, you will find excellent recreational opportunities in the Payson area, including hiking, mountain biking, fishing, horseback riding, and even a casino. Payson (E69) is a full service airport, with an FBO, on-field rental cars, and a top-notch restaurant. Call (520) 474-2005 for more information.
Moab, Utah
Even when no formal campground or facilities exist, many public-use airports have areas set aside for pilots to “dry camp” with their airplanes, such as here at Moab’s Canyonlands Field, in Utah’s fabulous Color Country, during their recent Air Affair 2000. Simply contact the Airport Manager or FBO at your proposed destination to see if camping is allowed, and what amenities are available.
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The material in this publication is for advisory information only and should not be relied upon for navigation, maintenance or flight techniques. SW Regional Publishing, Inc. and the staff neither assume any responsibilty for the accuracy of this publication's content nor any liability arising out of it. Fly safe.