Owners and operators of CESSNA aircraft around the world are embarking on a vast range of adventures every day. They're seeing mountains, oceans, plains, rainforests and more from what many say is the best view imaginable.
This account is from Tanner Towns, a pilot and employee of Textron Aviation.
Mountain Flying Idaho
Written by Tanner Towns
Last summer I met a buddy of mine in the northern part of Idaho and we spent the next week flying a CESSNA SKYHAWK piston (172) all over the Idaho mountains.
We researched the trip before to determine which air strips seemed like they would be fun to land on as well as which would be fun to camp at. Because we were flying in the mountains, we had to be very conscious about our weight and balance, especially in the middle of the summer with higher temperatures.
We carried all our clothes, our campsite gear and our tent and sleeping bags in the back of the airplane and spent the night at a different air strip almost every night. In the mornings, we would take the Skyhawk aircraft to a few different airports in the mountains, then go land at our new camp site, set up camp, and explore.
A few airstrips we landed at were Johnson Creek (Elevation: 4960 ft, Runway Length 3400 ft), Elk City (Elevation: 4097 ft, Runway Length: 2600 ft), Thomas Creek (Elevation: 4415 ft, Runway Length: 2100 ft), and Sullivan Lake (Elevation: 2614 ft, Runway Length: 1700 ft). Not only did we enjoy the challenge of landing and taking off at those airstrips, but we were so impressed with the performance of the Skyhawk piston at those places. We received several comments from other people flying "backcountry airplanes" that were also impressed with the fact that we were flying around the Idaho mountains in a Skyhawk aircraft.
The trip was a blast. We got to see some amazing views including sunrises and sunsets (like in the picture), put our pilot skills to the test by landing at short, high elevation grass strips, and experience the Skyhawk piston's capabilities in an environment like Idaho. I would take the Skyhawk aircraft back to the mountains in a heartbeat.