The 2,099-foot runway nestled on Deer Isle in Stonington, Maine. Photography courtesy of Kate Hotchkiss Taylor.
Fall is the perfect season for flying. As temperatures begin to drop, aircraft performance increases significantly. Leaves changing from green to yellow, orange, and red provide a sight you won't want to miss. Here are five airports to check out this fall.
1. 93B: Stonington, MaineMaine is known for having one of the prettiest autumn seasons. The short but well-maintained runway is located on an island off mainland Maine. Make sure to fuel up before making a trek out to 93B because the airport does not have fuel or a fixed based operator (FBO). You will want to throw a fold-up bicycle in the airplane before making this trip. Many pilots enjoy riding to town to enjoy a sea-side lobster dinner. Kayaking in the coastal waters is another fan favorite this time of year.
2. GPI: Kalispell, MontanaGlacier Park International Airport (GPI) is nestled 25 miles southeast of Glacier National Park in Montana. The views from the plane are jaw-dropping. Pilots can call Glacier Jet Center, the FBO on the field, to reserve a rental car. The 30-minute car drive to the national park will be well worth the time.
Autumn lasts a couple of weeks at GPI before the cold weather brings in snow-capped mountains. Photograph courtesy of Glacier National Park.
3. 24A: Sylva, North CarolinaJackson County Airport (24A) is located on a plateau in the Smoky Mountains. The airport provides easy access for nearby Western Carolina University. Flying into and out of 24A during autumn is a treat. The changing leaves and rolling mountains make the Smoky Mountains a sight to see from above. Near 24A are many hiking trails for the more adventurous pilots.
Fall time at the Jackson County Airport in Sylva, NC. Photography courtesy of David Oppenheimer.
4. WYS: West Yellowstone, MontanaYellowstone Airport (WYS) is located west of the Yellowstone National Park in Montana. Flying into WYS is quite breathtaking. The Grand Teton Mountain Range is just to the south of the airport. Although the airport closes in the winter due to the brutal winter weather, fall is the perfect time to take advantage of what this airport has to offer before it closes for the season. There is a free campground onsite for visiting pilots and passengers. The airport has free bicycles for customers to utilize and ride to town. There is also a café located on the field for a convenient $100 hamburger trip.
Photo of fall colors at Yellowstone National Park. Photograph courtesy of Parkcation.
5. IAG: Niagara Falls, New YorkSettled on the northwest border of New York and Canada lies the oldest state park in the United States. Niagara Falls State Park is home to three waterfalls averaging 167 feet. Millions of tourists visit the park each year, however, only a fraction of this number get to see the park from above. Pilots can land at IAG and use a courtesy or rental car to drive to the falls. Calspan Air Services, the FBO at IAG, typically has handouts of the procedures to fly over Niagara Falls.
Fall foliage around Niagara Falls. Photograph courtesy of Niagara Falls USA.
Leaves are starting to change colors in the northern states. As fall progresses, the southern states will follow suit with the changing leaves. Temperatures are slowly lowering providing cooler flying weather. Make sure to check out one of these five airports this fall.