Friday's Fabulous Flyer!
"Greetings. I'm Gryphon Shafer, a private pilot who lives and works in Washington State. With my family, I fly a variety of small aircraft to all corners of the State and everywhere in between in a constant search for interesting and fun things to do.
Hanging out in pilots' lounges, both in the real world and the far more bizarre virtual world of online social networks, I've frequently overheard and participated in conversations about where to go, what to see, and what to do. This is especially prevalent in groups of pilots who only recently earned their wings. "I was thinking I'd fly south, maybe to X or Y or Z airport. But I'm not sure what I'd do when I get there. What's there to do?"
I wrote my book as a guidebook for private aviators in Washington State, or folks visiting the State. My hope is to provide readers with useful hints and suggestions about places to go and things to do while there. There's an amazing world out there to explore. As pilots, we get to explore more of it and from a very special point of view. The greatest regrets come from what we don't do. There's nothing quite so depressing as an unused airplane.
Each summer, our family of 4 loads up way too much luggage and sets off on a flying adventure. Each morning, after I've been appropriately obsessive about understanding the weather, we open up a sectional, look at airports an hour or two away, and pick a destination. We stay in hotels and B&Bs, we eat out a lot, and we experience the special features of each town we find ourselves in.
The first year we did this, we found ourselves one morning on our way westward to from Kalispell to Coeur d'Alene. The sky was an unbroken blue, the air as smooth as glass. We were fairly high up, crossing over the Rockies on our way back to Idaho. And we heard giggling. Our two children in the back were making faces at each other, giggling unceasingly for over an hour. And so the trip was forever called GiggleFest.
Each year since, we've flown a new edition of GiggleFest. It has given our children an unparalleled opportunity to see things from a new and special point of view. The time we've spent together as a family is invaluable.
A Pilot's Guide to Washington
Never before in the history of aviation has such a book as this been crafted, mostly because people had better things to do. Fortunately for pilots living in or visiting Washington State, the author had nothing better to do. And thus, *A Pilot's Guide to Washington* was born.
Each "riveting" chapter is filled full with exciting details of airports in Washington State and the restaurants, things to do, and overnight accommodations within walking distance of your tiedown. Every "thrilling" airport entry is rated (based on the author's prejudices) and includes information about courtesy cars and whether the place is worthy of a family day-trip.
Many pilots talk about the mythical $100 hamburger, something almost as famous as the FAA-certified 50-foot obstacle located at the end of nearly all hypothetical runways. But what happens when the excitement of the $100 hamburger no longer motivates you to fly?
This book is a guidebook for private aviators in Washington State, or folks visiting the State. Washington State is among the most beautiful and diverse states in the Union. There are flat and dry deserts, stunning basalt formations, towering mountains, rolling grass hills, thick rain forests, island archipelagos, and lakes and rivers and straits and sounds. Well, one sound. And we have roughly a billion airports to visit. (I'm exaggerating slightly.) It would be shame to be a pilot living in or visiting Washington State and not deeply partake of the richness of this opportunity.
With this book in hand, no pilot will ever need ask, "What's there to do at Blah Blah Airport?" (No pilot should ever ask this question anyway because as far as I know there's no such place as Blah Blah Airport. However, if indeed there is a Blah Blah Airport, the naming committee should get gold metals, because that would be totally awesome.)"
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