Tom Haines

Going three wheeling

June 23, 2010 by Thomas B. Haines, Editor in Chief

Where are you landing this weekend? Somewhere other than pavement, I hope. Last week we quietly introduced a means to help you find new places to land. The AOPA Airports section on AOPA Online now includes the ability to search for “unpaved” runways. As I wrote in my Waypoints column in the July issue of AOPA Pilot, my most memorable and rewarding landings have occurred on other than paved runways. I think you’ll find that to be true too.

Other than pavement, grass runways are most prevalent, but there are many other options, including gravel, coral, sand, and water. It’s hard to believe here on this 95-degree day in Maryland, but snow and ice are other options in parts of the world.

To use the new AOPA Airports search feature, go to the AOPA Airports page and click on the Advanced Search option. From there, click the “unpaved” box and then in the Query window type what other search criteria you might like to include–your state, for example, to show all of the unpaved runways in your state.

Poke around among the airport options to find some interesting locations and try them this weekend. I look forward to hearing about your experiences back here on these pages. And if the heat is getting to you, you can always go back and revisit our feature from the January 2010 issue of AOPA Pilot about the ice runway at Alton Bay in New Hampshire. Happy flying.

Editor in Chief Tom Haines ready to launch for skiplane flying in a Cub at Cadillac, Michigan.

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