By: Mark Keneston
At CubCrafters we always try to encourage pilots to get out and use their airplanes. There are far too many aircraft that sit idle not just during the cold winter months but year round. Many people buy an airplane (usually a 4 seater) with the best intentions to fly them, but then they sit or are rarely flown. We all know it is important to stay current, to get out and practice. Since legal does not necessarily mean safe, why do so many airplanes sit? I might be going out on a limb here but I believe that the airplanes many people own do not suit their mission. In our business we see many pilots who are seeking the fun factor but their mission has changed since they learned to fly.
At CubCrafters our airplanes are meant to be used throughout all four seasons. Anyone who has owned any other type of airplane can attest to the fact that this is not always practical. The Carbon Cub is a do-anything-go-anywhere flying machine that indeed can do it all. Our airplanes are designed to get out and have fun in. There is still snow on the ground here in the Northeast (at the time this article was written) and few people actually get out and use their airplane during these months. Winter here can last from early October to June so its common that I leave my skis installed from December to late March.
This Winter I had the opportunity to explore Adirondack Park, a 60 Million acre parcel in upstate NY that is ripe with everything outdoors. Hunting, ice fishing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, camping and other activities make this a fantastic playground for a ski plane. While many 4 seat airplane owners have a destination-focused mission for their airplane, our airplanes are more about getting out and flying just because we love it. We can go low or stay high, fly fast or fly slow. We can land on a small frozen lake or a drifted farm field. It’s the ability to do something that most everyone else can’t do and with the advent of social media we can share our unique adventures online. Many traditional flyers never give what we do a thought. So much looks so different at a few hundred feet off the ground and in winter it can be a magnificent and humbling experience.
There’s a small group of pilots where I live that gets together for breakfast then set out for low and slow flying through the park with stops for no good reason. There can be a stop for lunch or sometimes there can be an invitation to a remote camp where the only way in is by snowmobile, snowshoes, or an airplane. A little ice fishing, maybe a trek on snowshoes and then some good chow and an adult beverage or two in the evening help make this a nice getaway. Its 25 miles from anything, the trees are blanketed white, and the snow is as light as air itself. It is our local version of Alaska or the NW territory. There is something quite unique about being somewhere only a few people can visit. Some of the pictures here are of a few different trips to such places this season and our activities along the way.
I want to thank the contributors and hosts that have offered to share their remote hideaways and allowed me to enjoy a great season of ski flying. For those of you who have not experienced this type of backcountry flying, do not let too much time pass before you give it a try. And if you have a non-backcountry airplane, get out there and use your airplane if only for an hour. You will feel so much better… about everything. Flying is a real gift and as pilots and we owe it to ourselves to enjoy it.