Posts Tagged ‘mountain flying’

Aspen restaurants just for pilots

Friday, December 14th, 2012

While in Aspen doing a story on the “most challenging airports” I discovered the pilot-approved places to eat. (By the way if you want some really good instruction in some really mean mountains, leave a comment and I will send you the e-mail of Gary Kraft who instructs at Aspen.) I found jet pilots from two fractional ownership companies at the Main Street Cafe, shown here. I tried to upload a photo large enough to let you read the menu near the front door. This is where the locals go not only for bakery products but for great, reasonably priced, breakfasts and lunches. Put “201 East Main Street” in your GPS. It has its own culture, and you adapt to it, not the other way around. The owner, who hates the cost of living in Aspen for the average person, is one tough little guy who gets his exercise by going up the ski mountains without using the chair lift. Takes him four hours up and 10 minutes down on his skis. He does it three times a week and is quite healthy.

For something more formal, eat at Jimmy’s, the recommendation of mountain flying instructor Gary Kraft. Just sit at the bar and the bartender will tell you what all the other crews and helicopter pilots are up to. They give her rides. Put “205 South Mill Street” in your GPS and go into the courtyard, look upstairs to your right, and that’s it. Terrific food at a very reasonable price compared to unreasonable prices nearby.

We’re not quite done yet. For a terrific breakfast and wildly tasty pastries, go to one of two locations for Frank Thirion French Pastry & Cafe. A French chef runs it! One location is at 317 East Hopkins Avenue, the one I went to by mistake when I was supposed to meet Bruce Gordon and Jane Pargiter of EcoFlight for an interview. It has a television camera linked to the other, and that is how we found each other–they saw me on the monitor at the location in the business park. The other has an address that your GPS will not recognize, so go to the business park near the Aspen airport. You will see it across the road as you leave the airport and head toward town. If you enter the park from that highway, the restaurant will be within sight about 200 feet to your left. The address is 111G AABC, which I know is gibberish. Call them at 970/925-3569 or ask before you leave the airport. It’s five minutes away, or just go into town and find the other one.

Reader Michael Baudet adds Hickory House (BBQ) to the list, and it’s at the edge of the town closest to the airport. Put 730 W Main St. in the GPS. Thanks Michael.

This is where the locals and jet crews go in Aspen.

Night Above Tahoe

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

If you were at Lake Tahoe Saturday night (9/27), perhaps among the thousands of people getting ready to run a marathon race today, you saw a Cherokee Six followed by a Diamond C1 above the lake at sunset. AOPA Pilot Chief Photographer Mike Fizer was in the Cherokee Six, and I had a great time flying formation behind him in the Diamond C1. We got some of the best photos and video Mike has ever captured. We staged out of Placerville at 2,500 feet, climbed to 9,800 to safely clear the mountains, descended down a valley to Lake Tahoe and entered the pattern at Lake Tahoe Airport at 7,500 feet. Look for Mike’s shots in future issues of Flight Training magazine, and check online for the video of the Diamond, still in weak sunlight at 300 feet, flying above a runway that was in the dark. Right place, right time.

A real cliff-hanger of a landing

Friday, April 24th, 2009

A 1941 Taylorcraft slid off a mountain near Talkeetna, Alaska, April 17, catching on a rock just below the top and leaving the occupants dangling over a 1,500-foot drop. The two on board were not injured and the aircraft, recovered by a helicopter, suffered little damage but needs a new wing bow. The 21-year-old pilot and his passenger were looking for a place to go snowboarding, the pilot’s mother said. Crusted snow caused the skiplane to slide faster than expected, making the landing a few inches too long.  Details are in the “Anchorage Daily News.”

Click photo to enlarge. (Photo courtesy Alaska National Guard)