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Thread: Airplane camping...

  1. #1
    Registered User DarylP's Avatar
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    Airplane camping...

    I have been on this forum for awhile now and really favor the STOL aircraft. One reason (obviously) was to be able to land off-field. I really thought it would be fun to do some camping that way, as that is what my friends that had ultralights did. However...just the other day I was at REI and was speaking with the map guy, which works for the Forest Service. He told me that you are not allowed to land a plane on the national forest, or any wilderness areas. Man am I bummed... I did not know that. So where do you land in Colorado? I guess that screws up the whole STOL idea.

  2. #2
    Moderator Dana's Avatar
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    Re: Airplane camping...

    There is a huge patchwork of public land out west under the control of different agencies, all with different rules. Some (BLM lands, for example) allow aircraft landing, while others (designated wilderness areas) do not. There are some designated backcountry airstrips, too. There are different rules for seaplanes, Each controlling agency is different. Then, private lands are up to the landowner, with local (town, county, whatever) laws thrown in.

    -Dana

    Place a half full glass of water before a pessimist, optimist and an engineer:

    The pessimist says the glass is half empty.
    The optimist says the glass if half full.
    The engineer says the glass is too large.

  3. #3
    Site Developer Jman's Avatar
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    Re: Airplane camping...

    He told me that you are not allowed to land a plane on the national forest, or any wilderness areas.
    Not True!

    Check these guys out: The Recreational Aviation Foundation

    In 2009 they were actually successful at creating a NEW airstrip in the Lewis and Clark National Forest. Below is a News Release referencing a recent USFS document. The full letter is posted on the RAF westite above.

    I met these guys at Sun N Fun and I believe they deserve our support. They are a non-profit and seem to making some good headway towards keeping our public lands open to aviation.

    Following years of work and discussions, on July 2 Abigail Kimbell, Chief of
    the U. S. Forest Service, signed a directive acknowledging the long and proud
    history of aviation use and airstrips on forest service lands, and asked USFS
    managers at all levels to inventory and maintain existing facilities, and to
    support aviation as an important recreational activity. This action resulted
    from meetings between representatives of the Recreational Aviation
    Foundation and a team of senior Forest Service executives in Washington.
    Similar to policy statements regarding many other classes of the public and
    user groups such as hikers, fishermen, and boaters, the memorandum says:
    “Aviation has been part of our country's heritage, both as a mode of
    transportation and as a means of access to remote and scenic areas for a wide
    variety of purposes. Backcountry airstrips are an appropriate use of National
    Forest System (NFS) lands as they provide enhanced access for a variety of
    legitimate recreational activities… Recreational aircraft and backcountry
    airstrips can be an integral part of a balanced and efficient transportation
    system.”

    From the earliest days of aviation a system of backcountry airstrips has served
    the forest service and its users, providing support for forest managers, fire
    crews, and medical evacuation aircraft. And countless backpackers, campers,
    boaters, and fishermen have used them to gain access to remote parts of the
    forest.

    Unlike other recreational facilities requiring hundreds of miles of roadways,
    airstrips require minimal disturbance of the natural landscape, while serving as
    internal trailheads for remote areas. Airplanes do not have driven wheels so
    they do not churn up fragile landscapes the way other vehicles do. They are
    considered a low-impact use.

    In addition the document notes the importance of existing and future mutually
    beneficial relationships with aviation groups, similar to those with other
    groups. It says “Operation and maintenance of airstrips may provide
    opportunities for cooperative relationships under Challenge-Cost Share and
    other authorities. The recreation pilot communities are significantly engaged in
    providing funding, human resources, expertise, and equipment for backcountry
    airstrips on NFS lands. ... The use of volunteers in joint development of
    Russian Flat public airstrip on the Judith Ranger District, Lewis and Clark
    National Forest in Montana is an excellent example of cooperative
    development.”

    John McKenna, President of the Recreation Aviation Foundation, notes: “After
    many years of discussion we here at the RAF are very pleased to have a good
    working relationship with the USFS. The USFS has worked hard to better
    understand the desires and uses of the aviation community, and this document
    communicates that understanding. We look forward to building on the
    partnership and the trust this document brings forth.”
    The Recreational Aviation Foundation, devoted to the perpetuation and
    improvement of recreational aviation opportunities on both public and private
    lands, congratulated the Forest Service for its recognition of aviation’s
    importance, and also acknowledged the contributions of dozens of state, local,
    and other aviation groups in building and maintaining strong relationships with
    land management agencies, creating the foundation for a strong system of
    backcountry airstrips.

  4. #4
    Registered User PTAirco's Avatar
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    Re: Airplane camping...

    I just listened to a UCAP podcast and they mentioned this:

    An Aviator's Dream Is About To Come True!
    "Aeronautical engineering is highly educated guessing, worked out to five decimal places. Fred Lindsley, Airspeed."

  5. #5
    Registered User DarylP's Avatar
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    Re: Airplane camping...

    The person I spoke with said that they granted a man access because he had a home in a remote location and there was no other way to access it. But I guess he had to jump through hoops to get even that.

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    Re: Airplane camping...

    FYI, These are Forums at Airventure:

    American Air Campers President Don Abbott and his team will share helpful tips for camping by airplane, along with what to see and what to stay away from in them thar hills. They will also preview their pick for the best, lightest and most compact air camping gear.
    Wed 7/28 1:00 PM - 2:15 PM Forum Pavilion 05
    Sat 7/31 2:30 PM - 3:45 PM Forum Pavilion 11

    Wed 7/281:00 PM - 2:15 PMAir Camping Forum Pavilion 05

  7. #7
    Registered User GlassVampire's Avatar
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    Re: Airplane camping...

    Huh, I'd never heard of the Recreational Aviation Foundation, and I only live 45 minutes(by car) from Bozeman! Think I'll look into joining and doing some volunteer work. Thanks for posting that link

  8. #8
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    Re: Airplane camping...

    I would love to be able to camp by aircraft, but as with everything you need to do your homework first to find those areas that will allow it. Probably your best best would be to look up local landowners with enough property who may live on the fringes of national park land etc, and who would be open to allowing pilots to land their planes there. Then maybe you could hike in to camp on the national forest land, etc.

    I know here in PA landing on waterways via amphibs and seaplanes is prohibited. One guy I talked to who owns an ultralight amphib said he has to fly down to the Chesapeke just to practice his water landings. Sucks but that's the way it is.

  9. #9
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    Re: Airplane camping...

    Here are some neat camping/flying stories.Enjoy. StolSpeed Aerodynamics - Performance Enhancement for Light Aircraft
    What we believe or do not believe does not change the facts.

    HUMILITY. If your think you have it, its only your pride lying to you.

  10. #10
    Registered User DarylP's Avatar
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    Re: Airplane camping...

    Hi all,
    I have not posted for a while now...as this not being able to land anywhere in the mountains has temporarily drained my enthusiasm. I then got to thinking about those of you that fly out of your own property. I know there are constraints to that too, but would be curious how many of you do have your own runway. Also...what did you have to do to get that accomplished. I know that there are some posts on this but I have not been able to find them. If you know something about the rules and regulations, I would like to hear from you.

    Thanks again...

  11. #11
    Moderator autoreply's Avatar
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    Re: Airplane camping...

    Quote Originally Posted by DarylP View Post
    Hi all,
    I have not posted for a while now...as this not being able to land anywhere in the mountains has temporarily drained my enthusiasm. I then got to thinking about those of you that fly out of your own property. I know there are constraints to that too, but would be curious how many of you do have your own runway. Also...what did you have to do to get that accomplished. I know that there are some posts on this but I have not been able to find them. If you know something about the rules and regulations, I would like to hear from you.

    Thanks again...
    While I doubt it's very useful, I recently came over this document:
    http://eaa1246.org/docs/farm_ranch_airstrips.pdf

    Which states:
    Any person proposing to establish, alter or deactivate a landing strip or area is required to give prior notice to the Federal Aviation Administration. This notice is accomplished through the submission of FAA Form 7480-1, which may be obtained by contacting our office at the addresses listed in the front of this book.
    The applicable Federal Aviation Regulation is FAR Part 157. It states that anyone proposing to build a personal or private use airport (used solely under VFR conditions, located more than 20 nautical miles from an airport for which an instrument approach procedure is authorized and located more than five nautical miles from any airport open to the public) must submit FAA Form 7480-1 at least 30 days before work is to begin.
    The owner may at the same time request that his farm and ranch strip be shown on FAA sectional charts with a notation as to the nature of the strip...private, cattle on field, etc.
    The numbers of those forms might help you further.

  12. #12
    Moderator Dana's Avatar
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    Re: Airplane camping...

    The applicable Federal regulations are in Part 157, from which comes the bit above. But 157 goes on to say:
    This part does not apply to projects involving:

    (a) An airport subject to conditions of a Federal agreement that requires an approved current airport layout plan to be on file with the Federal Aviation Administration; or

    (b) An airport at which flight operations will be conducted under visual flight rules (VFR) and which is used or intended to be used for a period of less than 30 consecutive days with no more than 10 operations per day.

    (c) The intermittent use of a site that is not an established airport, which is used or intended to be used for less than one year and at which flight operations will be conducted only under VFR. For the purposes of this part, intermittent use of a site means:

    (1) The site is used or is intended to be used for no more than 3 days in any one week; and

    (2) No more than 10 operations will be conducted in any one day at that site.
    Local zoning ordnances may be much more trouble. Here in Connecticut, we are fighting with the local zoning board as we try to establish an airfield for powered paragliders and ultralights. It would fall under "intermittent use" so the feds don't have to be involved, but we have issues with it being in a conservation zone. But it's sweet... 1800' of grass along the CConnecticut River, with a tree shaded sandy beach for the seaplanes.....

    -Dana

    Air is harmless. Rocks hurt.

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    Re: Airplane camping...

    This is an awesome thread, guys...keep it up!

    I used to take my camping gear while traveling in my Maule. It wasn't quite like having the VW Camper Van, but it was a lot of fun. For more than a decade that's how I traveled to family reunions and such. My dream trip would be to fly slowly up the Al-Can Highway and spend a month or so exploring Alaska.

    As I have always said, though, I have only time and money enough for one bad habit at a time, so I have decided to sell my vintage racing car to take up aviating again.
    Last edited by Dauntless; August 13th, 2010 at 11:48 AM.

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    Re: Airplane camping...

    When we were coming back from Florida the other day, I noticed a couple small islands near the mouth of the Chesapeke bay. I right away thought how cool it would be if an island like the one isaw was public land and had an airstrip on it that would allow transient air traffic. A place where a pilot could set down, pitch a tent right next to his plane and just take it easy for a day or two, then move on or fly home. Would be cool but I'm sure a place like that is some wildlife refuge, or private property with no public access.

  15. #15
    Registered User Tom Nalevanko's Avatar
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    Re: Airplane camping...

    Well Nick you should check this out; you may be pleasantly surprised. It is pretty easy to find airport details on the web. My hangar neighbor goes to a lot of private airstrips in his 210. He first finds out the owner's address and then writes a nice, on paper, letter with a lot of detail and almost always gets invited. Those people with private airstrips get lonely and are usually quite social.

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