One of the greatest thrills of piloting your own plane is exploring the gorgeous scenery from above – particularly when the destination airport is located in a breathtaking setting. If you’re looking for some of the best general aviation airports in North America that feature the most scenic landings, we think you’ll enjoy these 10. Keep reading to learn more!
1) Catalina Airport (KAVX) – California
Catalina Airport, known as the “Airport in the Sky”, is located on a 1,600-foot-tall mountaintop at the center of Catalina Island, California. Its single 3,250-foot-long runway was constructed by blasting and leveling two adjacent peaks, then using the resulting debris to fill in the gaps. The approach is an unforgettable one, where pilots land on the edge of a giant cliff in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
2) First Flight Airport (KFFA) – North Carolina
First Flight Airport is famously known as the site where the Wright Brothers first took flight, where the two aviation pioneers carried out hundreds of pre-flight gliding experiments. Also located here is the Wright Brothers Monument, located right next to the landing strip. Imaging landing where it all started, as you fly over the monument, you can pay respect to the fathers of flight.
3) Steamboat Springs Airport (KSBS) – Colorado
Whether you’re an avid skier, snowboarder, mountain biker or kayaker, Steamboat Springs has something for anyone seeking a thrill – including an airport with an exciting approach and landing. At Steamboat Springs Airport, pilots will fly through the stunning Rocky Mountains, landing on a strip runway strip that’s 4,452 by 100 feet, and sits at an elevation of 6,882 feet. Since there isn’t an air traffic control tower, pilots communicate on a Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF). Be sure to watch out for wildlife that is found around the airport grounds, as well as snow removal, which closes the airport.
4) Block Island State Airport (KBID) – Rhode Island
Located twelve miles off the coast of Rhode Island, a generally unknown airport gem lies on Block Island. When compared to other regional tourism juggernauts, like Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, this airport serves one of the most gorgeous—and least visited—places on the East Coast. With its white-sand beaches, ocean vistas, endless hiking trails, imposing coastal cliffs, interesting history and exciting nightlife, Block Island is a great destination for those private pilots who want to explore all the area offers without tourists around.
5) Lake Tahoe Airport (KTVL) – California
Located on the California-Nevada border just west of Reno, Lake Tahoe Airport offers stunning mountainous scenery any pilot will enjoy. The airport is located 6,264 feet above mean sea level, with a single runway that’s 8,544 feet long by 150 feet wide, providing access to this winter skiing escape that offers some of the best slopes in the U.S. However, landing at this airport among the Sierra Nevada Mountains is an experience that’s enjoyable year-round.
6) Friday Harbor Airport (KFHR) – Washington
KFHR is just southwest of the town center of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island in the state of Washington The airport is located within easy walking distance of downtown Friday Harbor, and ground transportation is available to pilots wishing to explore the rest of the island including taxis, rental cars and shuttle buses.
7) Skagway Airport (PAGY) – Alaska
For those with plenty of experience landing on windy runways, Skagway in Alaska offers adventure, history and a lively downtown that any pilot is sure to enjoy. Land between the towering, snow-capped mountains in Yukon Territory, but make sure to analyze wind conditions before attempting to touch down. While this once-gold-rush-town is worth the trip up north, it’d be wise to talk with an experienced pilot about the airport to understand the hazards.
8) Yellowstone Airport (KWYS) – Wyoming
Yellowstone Airport is the closest airport to Yellowstone National Park. Flying in, you’ll see nothing but expansive wilderness that stretches to the horizon. In addition to being the closest place to land near the park, the airport is also close to Big Sky and Moonlight Basin as well as famous Earthquake Lake and Hebgen Lake recreational areas and the Gallatin and Madison Rivers.
9) Miami Executive Airport (KTMB) – Florida
Florida has some of the best flying destinations in America for a private pilot, and Miami Executive Airport is high on the list. Although in recent years, it has become popular as a corporate aviation terminal, it still serves general aviators as well. Pilots who land here will get to fly the coast of southern Florida on the approach, witnessing the far-reaching Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico as they land on a runway strip right near Biscayne Bay.
10) Grand Canyon West (1G4) – Arizona
While there is a $100 fee to land at The Grand Canyon West Airport, this airport is worth landing at. As one of the seven Great Natural Wonders of the World, flying over the Grand Canyon is something that every pilot should experience at least once in their lives. Pilots can experience the SkyWalk, just a short shuttle ride away, which is a horseshoe-shaped cantilever bridge with a glass walkway in Arizona near the Colorado River on the edge of the Grand Canyon West area – a truly remarkable experience.
Do You Want to Experience the World’s Best Airport Landings?
Whether you’re just starting to learn how to fly or are an experienced pilot who wants to expand their knowledge in the cockpit, Inflight Pilot Training can help you gain the experience needed to explore the world’s most exciting airports.
We are a leading flight instruction company serving Minneapolis/St. Paul. With a reputable training program and an extensive roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, we can give you the freedom to fly wherever you wish.
For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.