PHOTO BY MARK LA CIURA
PHOTO BY POPLAR GROVE AIRMOTIVE
Schweizer 300C helicopter
Snohomish Flying Service,
Harvey Field Airport (S43),
This reliable and fun-To-fly piston
rotorcraft has been in production for more
than 50 years, and its bumblebee-like look is
recognized the world over. Also known as the
Hughes 300 and now the Sikorsky S-300C,
Schweizer designed the 300C as a trainer; it’s
stable, docile, and relatively roomy. Though
not very fast, even by light copter standards,
it’s the perfect speed for exploring the
Snohomish River Valley, which lies along the
Cascade Loop, the state’s scenic highway
route, which National Geographic called “One
of America’s grandest, most spectacular
drives.” Imagine what that would look like
by helicopter—or find out for yourself!
Harvey Field is home to an EAA chapter,
hot air balloon company, sky diving, banner
towing and aerial tour operations, and the
Buzz Inn airport eatery. “It’s a real family.
Everybody knows everybody,” says Erin
Shaughnessy, Snohomish Flying Service’s lead
dispatcher. The airport is just north of Seattle’s
Class Bravo airspace, making it easy to get
to and fly out of.
RequiRements: Rotorcraft rating with 50
hours rotor and 10 hours dual in make and
model with a school CFI or be a graduate of the
facility’s rotor wing training course.
Cost: $240 per Hobbs hour; instructor, $60
Skylark North, Mountain Valley
Airport (L94), Tehachapi,
locaTed on The wes Tern flank of the
Sierra Nevada range, Tehachapi is one of the
world’s foremost soaring capitals. It’s the
launch site for many record-setting sailplane
flights. Rent a high-performance DG-1000
here and set a record of your own. With a
20-meter wing the German-built DG-1000,
first flown in 2000, has a glide ratio of 1-to-
46. 5 and is certified for limited aerobatics.
“It’s a very beautifully handling sailplane,”
says Jane Barrett, who owns the facility with
husband, Larry. Skylark, in business for 30
years, is where the U.S. Air Force and U.S.
Naval Test Pilot Schools, among others, send
their students for glider training. Currently,
Skylark allows only local flights (“They better
come back here or have a good reason,” says
Barrett), but plans to permit cross-country
flights in the DG-1000 beginning sometime
this year. The facility also rents Schweizer 233
and the Schleicher ASK 21 sailplanes.
RequiRements: Glider rating and checkout,
which may require from one to a half-dozen
flights, based on pilot’s skill level.
Cost: $120/hour; instructor, $40; Tow: 1,000
feet AGL, $41; 2,000 feet AGL, $55; 3,000 feet
AGL, $71. Skylark North: 661-822-5267;
www.SkylarkNorth.com (website under
Poplar Grove Airmotive,
Poplar Grove Airport (C77),
Poplar Grove, Illinois
fly a classic cessna Taildragger at a
quintessential residential airpark. The C-140
was Cessna’s answer to the anticipated post-war general aviation boom. The boom fizzled,
but the 140 took its place in the pantheon of
great tailwheel trainers and knock-around airplanes, its spirit infused with aviation’s
promise. “We have trained a lot of people [in
the C-140] with no tailwheel time who’ve gone
on and bought a T- 6 or gotten a Stearman,”
says Tina Thomas, co-owner of the facility with
husband, Steve. And, she says, some students
have gotten their tickets in the C-140 to carry
on a family tradition: “A few kids whose dads
or grandfathers have flown [C-140s] have chosen to do that.” As for solo destinations, Tina
noted one of their pilots flew the C-140 to
Poplar Grove, near Rockford, is one of
the nation’s top residential airparks, home
to some 400 flying aircraft (many more
undergoing construction) and the Poplar
Grove Vintage Wings & Wheels Museum,
and it’s worth a visit in its own right.
Requi Rements: Ten hours of tailwheel and a
checkout, or 10 hours of dual in make and model.
Cost: $90 per hour; instructor, $50 per hour.