Where Do You Take Your Passengers?

**As private pilots, when you take guests up for a ride, where do you take them and/or
what do you show them to make the experience more than just a flight?

Please state your home base airport, where you go and/or what you see, route of flight
(if it’s not too much trouble to write) and provide pictures and/or links about the destination.
Try to help us experience the flight here!**

My home base is KOKV - Winchester Virginia, and I take my pax to Seneca Rocks in eastern
West Virginia. The trip is about 145 nautical miles which makes for a good one-and-a-half-hour
flight in a Cessna 152. This trip takes a little extra vigilance as the southern end of the ridge
(where the rocks are) is about 6nm from the north boundary of the Evers MOA, and there are
sight-seeing helicopter flights in the area.

Link to Seneca Rocks Webcam:
(click on image)

Route of flight:
First I navigate to Grant County Airport (W99), then turn more southerly along the southeast
side of the ridge, then swing around the south end of the ridge where the rocks are, then
back northeast along the northwest side of the ridge, and then back home.

Sectional View:

More Links:

I’m not a pilot, but I know right where you are (family in KMGW). Beautiful area to see.

For an orientation flight I depart my home base at Austin Bergstrom (AUS) and go towards Largo Vista airport (5R3). This usually gets a flight path right over downtown Austin.

From Largo Vista I fly over to Lakeway Airport (3R9). This provides a good view of Lake Travis, Michael Dell’s House, and the hill country, and it keeps me close to places to land in an emgency. If I can I then fly over their home, everyone likes that.

If they want to make a day of it I fly them to Mustang Beach airport (KRAS) near Port Aransas for lunch.

Half hour flight:
Take off, climb to 1500ft, go north to the river, hang a left turn, talk to PNE tower to tell them I’m flying through, keep going south along the river, descend to 1000ft, see Center City on the left, then hang a hard left over the Ben Franklin bridge, see the USS New Jersey and the NJ state Aquarium and Campbell’s (like the soup) Field, follow Rt 70 back home.

One Hour Flight:
Take off, head east toward the Coyle VOR, follow Rt 72 to Long Beach Island, take a short left to fly over the Barnegat Lighthouse, then a hard right to follow the beach. Stay at 1000ft (or lower) along the shoreline, watch out to banner tow-ers. Soon you’ll see Atlantic City’s casinos and Boardwalk, watch out for banner tow-ers. You might catch a glimpse of Lucy the Elephant in Margate, but keep your eye out for banner tow-ers. Take a right at Ocean City Airport, stay pretty low unless you want to talk to ACY approach control, but watch out for the big smokestack just west of Ocean City. Then head due north back home.

1.5 to 2 hour flight:
Take off, head N.E. toward RBV VOR. Take the 060 radial until you get to the shorline, stay below the class B. You’ve got until halfway across the bay to get below 1500ft, so get down, but you don’t need to be in a HUGE rush to get down. (BTW, it should be noted that during this flight you will not be in a position to glide to a suitable hard surface at any time. Just FYI, in the event of an engine failure, you will get wet.) Right, so continue across the bay heading towards the Verrazano bridge. Fly over the bridge, wave to the people stuck in traffic below. Fly up the harbor, stay to the right. Fly past governor’s island and head for downtown. DON’T fly up the east river unless you’re in a helicopter, Cory Lidle. Keep to the right side of the river, stay 1000ft or below. Make sure you announce your position on 123.05. (“Hudson traffic, Cessna 5FW, verrazano bridge, northbound, 800ft”) Continue north past Manhatten, the sights will speak for themselves, downtown, ground zero, central park, USS intrepid, uptown, Yankee’s Stadium, LaGuardia, George Washington Bridge…
I usually keep going until I get to the Tappan Zee bridge and hang a U-turn. It’s plenty wide enough there and it’s a good place to turn around. People usually are surprised how quickly the river appears wild like it should so soon after passing NYC. Head back south, stay to the right again, make your position reports. When you get past lower manhatten you can make an orbit around the Statue of Liberty, but look out for helicopters, they’re plentiful around there. Head back for the Verrazano and then back towards RBV. Do some slow flight over the turbpike to watch the cars and truck race by at 90mph then throttle back up to cruise and leave them behind. Head for home.

**As private pilots, when you take guests up for a ride, where do you take them and/or
what do you show them to make the experience more than just a flight?

Good thread as it will give me ideas based on other’s experiences.

KMBO is my home base, no particular flight plan, really depends on passenger.

First time passengers, always to the practice area first to be sure they are comtable with being in a GA plane, then letting them take the controls, if so desired. After that, head over their home for photo ops.


Depart Windham CT [KIJD] and 55nm east is New Bedford, MA [KEWB]. A 4 star restaurant that just happens to be located at the airport; Airport Grille.

No maps - nothing fancy to see - just a nice flight and a really really good meal. Gotta get the Lobsta bisque . . .

Living in the San Francisco area, there are many great flights:

  • 20 minutes: bay tour over the Golden Gate Bridge, add the Point Reyes coastline and a flight over the Napa Valley wineries for an extra 15 minutes.

  • 40 minutes (one way): fly along the shoreline, over the Golden Gate Bridge, then continue along the shoreline to Monterrey Bay (great aquarium, kayaking and diving in the bay, excellent restaurants.

  • 50 minutes (one way): fly up to Lake Tahoe (an airport on both the northern and southern lake shore). Ski in the winter, water sports and hiking/biking in the summer. Great scenery year round. Casinos on the Nevada side.

  • 100 minutes (one way): Santa Barbara along the coastline. Great beaches, food wine. Alternatively, you can go up to southern Oregon along the coast.

Gee, Oregon or Santa Barbara… there’s a tough choice. :unamused: :smiley:

Exactly what I was hoping for. It also gives us all good information for sight-seeing when we are flying in other members’ home areas.

Wow…Milwaukee WI doesn’t prove as exotic a sight seeing location as some of these other places. I will sometimes take the flight from Waukesha (KUES) to Lone Rock (KLNR). Waukesha is a class Delta right outside of Milwaukee and Lone Rock is about twenty west of Madison. Right by the Wisconsin River…pretty scenic.

Lake Erie Islands are a nice destination. Pelee Island is Canadian and the island is easily visible from the Ohio shore on a clear day.

Island hop over to Michigan, fly over Ann Arbor, point, stare and laugh, head back home. Go Bucks.

I used to live in Chicago and there are some very good flights from that area: Lake Michigan shoreline along the Chicago skyline - especially at night. Door County. My favorite was Mackinac Island - you can only get there by boat or airplane. When you land, you are met by a horse drawn carriage taxi to take you into town, where they make some of the best fudge you’ve ever eaten. Also fun is to bring your bikes to Mackinac in the plane and ride around the island - only takes about an hour. Oshkosh - the EAA flight museum is one of the best aviation museums in the country, some say better than the Smithsonian aviation museum. The Dells in the autumn when the leaves are changing is amazing.

I should consider a day trip to Macinaw…last time I went there was about 10 years ago when I was about 9 on a family vacation. I have flown the coordor around Chicago along the lake afew times…great sights!

Can’t get there by car unless it’s amphibious. You can only get there by boat or plane! :laughing:

Try the Grand Hotel for a night. They have some great specials at the beginning of the season.

That’s what I meant to say - my fingers got ahead of my brain. That’s why they have horse drawn taxis, no cars allowed on the island.

Actually if you are going to Mackinac Island stay at the Mission Point Resort. Much better quality and you aren’t required to wear a suit and tie. I don’t know about price comparison but I’m sure it’s a little less expensive.

And, if you want the Northern MI beauty but not be limited to just Mackinac Island, try stopping in Harbor Springs (MGN). You are 20-30 minutes away from some great resort towns by car. Petoskey, Charlevoix, Harbor Springs, and Mackinac City.

Great day trip with the wife (or the mistress, whichever you prefer).

My home airport is St. Catharines CYSN. I have 2 standard sightseeing flights. For first time passengers or anyone that I think might be nervous, fly westbound along the Lake Ontario southern shore for about 10 minutes then head due south to arrive at the northern shore of Lake Erie, along the way there is a long ditch from the Welland Canal to the mouth of the Grand River; I usually try a right 360 with the ditch as reference so that the passengers get a feel for the behaviour of the plane before we arrive at the Niagara Falls Scenic Circuit. Then it is eastbound along the Lake Erie shore to Port Colbourne north to the town of Welland to show off how the river has been forced to flow under the man-made canal, then climb to 3600 Niagara Falls for 3 circuits then returning to St. Catharines. For more experienced passengers, it is over Lake Ontario to circuits over downtown Toronto then back over the lake to the Niagara Falls Scenic Circuit then return to St. Catharines.

The reason for the difference is that passengers who are not used to light planes benefit from some time flying straight and level over countryside; the pilot is alert but not consumed with radar zone procedures. Taking off into Class B or C really requires a sterile cockpit that can be frightening for some passengers. In the same vein, the traffic that ATC calls out in radar environments can be a great comfort for pilots but for truly nervous passengers it can turn a sightseeing flight into terror.

My homebase… Marfa, Tx (KMRF).

I depart KMRF and usually go up North about 20 miles to the town of Fort Davis then head West over the Davis Mountains and McDonalds Observatory and over the Davis Mountain Resort and winery. Then if they still feel like doing a little more mountain flying… I head Southwest to the Chinati Mountains and Capote Falls. Part of the Chinati Mountains borders the Mexican border so you gotta watch out and not cross the border or you’ll have a Black Hawk or Citation following you in no time. (has never happened to me). Then usually head back up North over the town of Marfa and fly over my pax’s house and circle town a time or two.
(I used to be able to fly over the movie set of GIANT at the Evans Ranch (Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor & James Dean) but now they put in a huge radar blimp just north of it and so it is under restricted airspace now).

Another favorite is departing KMRF to the Southeast over some ridges and down towards the Mexican border. Sometimes, we fly into Lajitas (89TE) for breakfast or lunch. Then depart and piddle around the local area and back to the hangar at KMRF.

Oh man,
doesn’t sound like any of the mentioned destinations hold a candle to the vast corn and bean fields I get to show off in Central Illinois!!! :laughing: It takes a while to get anywhere scenic out of Jacksonville IL (KIJX). We have the Illinois River about 15 min West which is somewhat pretty scenery but its smack dab in the middle of a pretty active MOA with low flying F-16’s from SPI and F-15’s from STL, but nothing a good call to FSS can’t advise about ahead of time. Most of the people I take flying are either pilots who haven’t flown in 20 years or people who have never been up. The ones who have never been up are just interested in being up there so they’re content with anything, some have land within an hour round trip so we’ll descend over their property and give em a look. The not current pilots are happy to fly VORs or do take offs and landings, and other procedural type stuff and for some reason their wives get mad, cause the bug comes back. I’ve caused a fair share of household arguments that way. I guess I’ve typed alot to describe flat nothingness, but if I ever go dead stick,nothing pretty to look at but I’ve always got somewhere nice and smooth to go!