Airplane camping...

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DarylP

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Mar 22, 2010
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CO
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.
 

Dana

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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.
 

Jman

Site Developer
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Pacific NW, USA!
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.
 

DarylP

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Joined
Mar 22, 2010
Messages
352
Location
CO
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.:ermm:
 

750Bldr

Member
Joined
Aug 5, 2009
Messages
17
Location
Sheldon, Iowa
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
 

GlassVampire

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Joined
May 13, 2009
Messages
148
Location
Pecatonica, IL
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 :)
 

Nickathome

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Sep 29, 2009
Messages
758
Location
S.E. PA
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.
 

DarylP

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Joined
Mar 22, 2010
Messages
352
Location
CO
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...
 

autoreply

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Jul 7, 2009
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Location
Rotterdam, Netherlands
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.
 

Dana

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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.
 

Dauntless

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Joined
Jul 31, 2010
Messages
60
Location
Rural Solano County, California, near Travis AFB.
This is an awesome thread, guys...keep it up! :D

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. :)
 
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Nickathome

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Joined
Sep 29, 2009
Messages
758
Location
S.E. PA
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.
 

Tom Nalevanko

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Joined
Oct 10, 2007
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Alpine, WY
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.
 

DarylP

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Mar 22, 2010
Messages
352
Location
CO
Dana,
Good luck on the runway...I hope you guys get it through.
 

DarylP

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Mar 22, 2010
Messages
352
Location
CO
I was in the RV industry for years, and I know in Arizona if you want to camp on BLM land it is really cheap. That was why you would see all the campers on the BLM land. They had a time restriction, but what they would do was move the camper a few hundred feet every time the restriction came up. :gig:

Now wouldn't that be great! I mean allow any LSA aircraft to land and camp on BLM land and camp out! If the RVers can do it, why not the pilots. In Arizona, when I was flying ultralights, that was what everyone did, was camp out. Quite a sight, when early in the morning you see a bunch of guys packing and strapping gear to the plane. Some of them would stuff the sleeping bag into the wing space, paying attention to cables of course. Then one after another...they would fly out to a predetermined spot and camp out. I coined a phrase back then, for if it was a super beautiful day, I called it a National Geographic day! That is why I was shocked to hear that you can't do it...at least without jumping through hoops. Maybe there should be an interstate camping route for aircraft, where land is set aside for just that purpose. We could call it the "Black Sheep Route."

How about it Pappy...you in. :grin:
 

Dana

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My dream trip would be to fly slowly up the Al-Can Highway and spend a month or so exploring Alaska.
See this website for the story of a man who did just that, in his Kolb MKIII.

Then see here for some spectacular Alaska photos from another pilot who, sadly, did not live to finish his trip.

-Dana

How is it that 2 teenagers in the back of an original Volkswagen Beetle, in a crowded drive-in theater, can reproduce, yet it takes 2 spotted owls 10,000 acres?
 

Topaz

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I was in the RV industry for years, and I know in Arizona if you want to camp on BLM land it is really cheap. That was why you would see all the campers on the BLM land. They had a time restriction, but what they would do was move the camper a few hundred feet every time the restriction came up. :gig:
At least in my neck of the woods, camping on BLM land is REALLY cheap: Free. And I suppose the only time restriction would be if you were starting to live there full-time. I've never seen any kind of enforcement, though.

You could probably land your own personal C-17 out on the BLM and nobody would care except ATC.
 

DarylP

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Joined
Mar 22, 2010
Messages
352
Location
CO
Topaz...MASH

Dr Freedman....I love that guy! What a show huh! Great quote.
 
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