Category Archives: Full Stop - Florida

Chalet Suzanne will be auctioned

Chalet Suzanne

Oglesby and Company Auctioneers, in cooperation with Ace Realty Advisors, have announced the auction and complete liquidation of Chalet Suzanne. The auction is scheduled for two days beginning at 11 AM, Friday, February 27, 2015, and ending the afternoon of the following day.

Chalet Suzanne – famous not only among pilots – includes a restaurant, inn, airstrip, cannery, and vineyard, spread across 130± acres of manicured, pristine land along the Lake Wales Ridge in Central Florida. A destination for tourists and locals alike, this property has been operated continuously by the Hinshaw family for 83 years. Located at 4000 Chalet Suzanne Drive, it is the largest block of Tourist Commercial land available in Central Florida.

A favorite destination of celebrities and business people alike, Chalet Suzanne has hosted Burt Reynolds, Johnny Carson, Dolly Parton, NASA Astronauts, as well as many, many other notable people from the U.S. & abroad. The auction will include all of the real estate holdings, personal property, FF&E (furniture, fixtures & equipment), aircraft, souvenirs, and intellectual property including the recipes, licenses and guest logs. Most of the real estate and personal property is to sell absolute to the last & highest bidder(s).

We can only hope that this great destination in Central Florida will very soon be open for business again.

Chalet Suzanne Airstrip

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Tallahassee Regional Airport

When asked what the capital city of Florida is, most people answer “Miami.” Wrong. Tallahassee has been Florida’s capital since 1824. Perhaps this confusion is due to Tallahassee being off the beaten track, in the heart of the panhandle or perhaps it’s simply because people think it does not have big tourist attractions to offer. Well, nothing could be further from the truth.

Tallahassee Regional Airport

Embedded between lakes and national parks, Tallahassee is much more than just a center of government administration. It has a high number of museums, universities and colleges and, with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University located there, Tallahassee can boast a recognized training facility for upcoming pilots, aerospace technicians and engineers.

The Mission San Luis is Florida’s Apalachee-Spanish living museum and brings to life the history of this early European and Native American settlement. The current mission was built on the site where the old Spanish mission was located. Almost all its houses are “inhabited” by people in period costume who transport visitors back in time to show them what life was like during the age of early European settlements. The Mission San Luis is just a 15-minute drive from the airport.

Tallahassee Supreme Court

Though the Tallahassee Regional Airport is located in Class C air space, when it comes to air traffic density, it is more like a Class D airport on the east coast. However, you should become familiar with the landing and take-off procedures and, of course, print out your plate and have it on hand. If runway 18-36 is active, the easiest way to get to the FBO is to ask for taxi via “J”. This helps you avoid potential zigzagging between the helicopters and business jets. The FBO at this airport, Million Air, is one of the top FBOs in Florida. Its services include courtesy and rental cars, quiet rooms, showers and even a pool table.

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River Ranch Resort Airport

The River Ranch Resort Airport is in a wooded area, making it relatively difficult to identify when you are flying low on your way to River Ranch. A canal that runs east and parallel to the landing strip is a good reference point. Due to the adjacent trees, air turbulence often occurs at the end of the approach. Follow the right traffic pattern for runway 34.
River Ranch Resort Airport

River Ranch is a terrific destination for the entire family. You can also plan a vacation here or even reserve for a long weekend. Accommodation options range from simple double rooms to self-catering cabins. You’ll notice right way here that it is no longer a real ranch with tilled fields and pastures with grazing cattle, rather this is a true resort operated by Westgate.
River Ranch

If you don’t plan to stay overnight, it’s best to rent a golf cart to take a quick tour of the grounds. You can pick it up right at the runway and pay just $5 for 2.5 hours. The ranch is situated over a large area that includes a mobile home park, a golf course (9 holes) and a marina. There are plenty of places on the ranch to enjoy a good meal or snack. From the airport, it’s a 5 minute drive with the golf cart to the Westgate Smokehouse Grill at the other end of the street. It is open daily. There is also a pier where airboats can dock. Unlike its predecessors from the wild west, the River Ranch Saloon opens its swinging doors only on Fridays through Sunday evening. There is often live music, and dance classes are held there.

The Ranch offers a plethora of outdoor recreational activities, including golf, air boat tours, horseback riding and clay pigeon shooting. One event not to miss is the rodeo evening held on Saturdays.

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Key West Airport

A flight to Key West Airport definitely ranks among the highlights for pilots in Florida. Caribbean  ambience, gorgeous flight over the Keys and a place that even cast its spell on the likes of Ernest Hemingway. This and much more make Key West Airport an interesting destination. Coming from the North, you generally fly along the coastline. However, one controlled air space follows another in quick succession. Air space transitions are usually granted as long as you stay low enough to avoid interfering with take-off and landing traffic. That’s why you are often directed to fly at altitudes between 500 and 1000 ft. If you fly low over the shoreline, there is an outstanding view over the ocean, and you might even see devil rays, whales, and dolphins. You fly along the Fort Lauderdale and Miami skylines, sometimes lower than the top stories of the skyscrapers and directly over the beach. South of Miami Beach are Fisher Island, Virginia Key and Key Biscaine, the first of the small offshore islands. The northern ridge of the actual Keys begins at about the level of Homestead, which is where Elliott Key and Key Largo are located.
Key West Airport

Marathon, between Homestead and Key West, is the last public airport before arriving at Key West Airport.

After Marathon, you should pay special attention to a restricted area (R-2916), which protects a balloon that is tied to a steel cable and floats at a height of roughly 14,000 ft. If you have good eyes, you’ll see the balloon, but you can’t see the steel cable unless you’re really looking for it. That’s why disregarding the restricted area has not only legal consequences, but can also ruin your entire day. Shortly before Key West, you first fly over a Naval Air Station that looks incredibly inviting due to its crossed runways, but unfortunately, it is taboo for civil aircraft. After flying through the Navy air space, you are handed over to Key West Tower for landing.

Once on the ground in Key West Airport, a relatively inconspicuous FBO awaits you with services that leave nothing to be desired. You can rent a car here either from enterprise or AVIS. For a quick trip to town, it’s better to take a taxi (about $15 for two people) and enjoy the 10-minute drive to Duval Street, the epicenter of Key West. At the south end of Duval Street, there is a somewhat bulky buoy that marks the “Southernmost Point of Continental U.S.A.“ The harbor is located at the north end of the street. There are several inviting cafés and restaurants with a relaxed atmosphere and a great view of the nearby islands, at least as long as a cruise ship is not moored at the pier, which blocks the view.

Key West Harbour

The city of Key West has many museums, including Hemingway Museum, the Shipwreck Museum, the Audubon House and Garden as well as the Little White House, where President Harry S. Truman vacationed. You should check out this gem for aviators: the first office of Pan American World Airways at 301 Whitehead St. What began here in Key West with a promising name, later to become known as Pan Am , became one of the world’s leading airlines. Its first flight took off from Key West to Havana in 1927. Located today in the former Pan Am building is Kelly’s Caribbean Bar, Grill & Brewery with a beautifully shaded courtyard and a diverse menu.

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Naples Municipal Airport

Naples Municipal Airport is just a few minutes by car from downtown. The crossed runways make landing easier and the FBO’s fantastic service takes care of the rest. If you refuel here, you can park your plane free of charge and are offered a courtesy car for 1.5 hours. Otherwise, the parking fee is $21.
Naples Municipal Airport

Even if Naples doesn’t have Vesuvius, this city on the Gulf of Mexico still exudes a Mediterranean feel. Skyscrapers are huddled together at the north end of town, while the downtown has low rises  and a long white sandy beach. The city has 22,000 inhabitants, though this number rises considerably in the winter. Naples is frequently called the Palm Beach’s little sister on the Gulf. You have to have a good income to live here. Either during the approach or the take-off, you shouldn’t miss flying along the coast at a lower elevation to enjoy a fantastic view of the mansions and gardens.

If you drive into town using the crew car and have limited time, it’s best to drive to Naples pier. Like most port cities, life centers around the water. For eating and shopping, I recommend Tin City (1200 5th Avenue South Naples, FL 34102). Here, right on the water, you will find a large selection of shops and several good restaurants that leave nothing to be desired. My favorites are Riverwalk and Pinchers Crab Shack.
Naples Municipal Airport Building

Right near Naples Municipal Airport and popular among pilots is  Michelbobs, a BBQ restaurant famous for its spare ribs. However, it is only open seasonally and even opening hours can be a bit unpredictable. It’s best to ask at the FBO or to check their website (see below). Alice Sweetwater an Joes Diner are good alternatives.

If the crew car is not available or you want more time, car rental companies enterprise, Hertz und AVIS have offices in the FBO.

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St. Augustine Airport

St. Augustine is considered the oldest continuously inhabited city in North America. It was founded on August 28, 1565—feast day of St. Augustine—by the Spanish admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. Although there were already other European settlements in Florida,  many were abandoned in the meantime, which makes St. Augustine the oldest continuously populated city in the United States. The Castillo de San Marcos fortress built between 1672 and 1695 located in the center of town was witness to an era during which the Spanish had total control. The fortress and the old town are well preserved and lovingly maintained. St. Augustine was the capital city of Florida for many years until the capital was moved to Tallahassee in 1824.

St. Augustine Airport - T34_turbo_mentor

Due to its unique historical status, St. Augustine is among the most popular travel destinations in North Florida, especially among the locals. Many Europeans choose St. Augustine airport as their base for flyer holidays because of its excellent tourist infrastructure and its convenient flight connections via the Jacksonville airport. However, if you want to fly here during the peak season, book early, then you will have no problem finding a hotel in any price category. The local flight schools are usually able to help you find the right hotel or lodging and often have discounts with some of them. It always worth asking!

Yet St. Augustine has much more to offer than just its history. Miles and miles of sandy beaches are ideal for sunbathing and swimming. At Alligator Farm (with ropes course next door), you learn all there is to know about Florida’s omnipresent reptiles. The old town also has good pubs and restaurants, offering much more than the usual chain restaurants.

Because the St. Augustine Airport is at the north end of town, it’s a short drive from there to Jacksonville.  Galaxy Aviation unfortunately does not offer courtesy cars, but it does arrange for rental cars from Hertz. You can get to downtown Jacksonville in about 30/40 minutes from the FBO.

St. Augustine Airport - oldest_house

The St. Augustine Airport  is a lively place with two large flight schools, many local airplanes and sometimes brisk jet traffic. The main runway runs parallel to the coast which means that there is often a side wind. If air traffic permits, the tower tries to use the other runways for take-offs and landings.

Galaxy has a well-organized FBO that leaves nothing to be desired. If you refuel here, you won’t be charged a parking fee.

The Fly-by Café with a slightly raised outdoor patio is located right at St. Augustine Airport (next to the FBO) where you will get a good view of take-offs and landings. With a bit of luck, you may catch some outstanding stunt flying during training. A separate aerobatic box has been set up for this purpose. Prior to landing, make sure you listen in on ATIS to find out whether the box is active (hot) or not.

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Apalachicola Regional Airport

Apalachicola Regional  Airport

FBO Apalachicola Regional Airport

Those who visit Apalachicola today may have a hard time imagining that this quaint fishing village used to be the third most important port in the Gulf of Mexico. At that time, sponge diving, driven by the Greek immigrants who settled there, was the port’s economic engine. Nowadays, its most important product isoysters. Almost all of Florida’s oyster production takes place in the Apalachicola bay. Protected by the offshore islands St. Vincent and St. George, the breeding conditions for oysters are perfect there.

Apalachicola is a nice small American town. There are still mom and pop stores, restaurants, cafes, and ice cream parlors and no shopping mall for as far as the eye can see. Of course, eating oysters here goes without saying. Though unlike Europe, they are not served raw, but are usually roasted or fried. If you want your oysters raw, you have to order them that way especially.

Apalachicola Regional  Airport

The approach to Apalachicola is definitely one of the most scenic in North Florida. The Apalachicola River forms a wildly extensive river delta that flows out into the ocean, and from the cockpit, it is the perfect landmark. Those who want an extended approach can also fly over the offshore islands. If you choose this approach, then make sure you check the departing and approaching traffic on St. George. Prior to flying in, it is highly recommended that you contact the Tyndall MOA Approach (124,15 or 125,2) to register and obtain traffic information. If the MOA is active, you can then expect intense military flight traffic.

The Apalachicola Regional Airport with its cross runways is convenient to fly into, the FBO is small but very easy to find. The airport courtesy car gets you into town in just a few minutes with enough time for a bite to eat and a walk through town.

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