FLYING IN FLORIDA

THIS LITTLE GUIDE is the ideal flying tourist's companion, giving details of interesting places to visit near to each airfield listed, with personal recommendations of where to eat and which is the best tourist attraction, plus possible problems to watch out for.

THIS LITTLE GUIDE would be invaluable to anyone intending to fly in Florida for the first time. It is the ideal flying tourist's companion, giving details of interesting places to visit near to each airfield listed, with personal recommendations of where to eat and which is the best tourist attraction, plus possible problems to watch out for. In short, all the local knowledge which it usually takes a couple of visits to accumulate. The book is in three sections, the first being a very useful guide to flying in America, second a review of airfields near tourist attractions and lastly a list of aviation museums.

The first section gives a run down of the differences between flying under FAA rules and CAA rules. These alone are enough to make me want to book the next available flight to Tampa: cheap flying, helpful controllers, ease of access to airports even large commercial ones. For those of us used to the 'can't do' mentality prevalent in British flying, this is all a revelation. Imagine, you dial a freephone number to the local Flight Service Station and you can talk to a real live weatherman who gives you a free in depth briefing on the weather you are likely to encounter on your flight. You want to fly in to Tampa International; sure why not? Just keep an eye out for that 747 landing on the parallel runway! Fast jets use the long runway at St Augustine whilst slower traffic uses the into wind runway all safely and with no air traffic control. Why is it that the FAA assumes pilots have some common sense, whereas the CAA assumes they need to be told what to do and charged for the privilege?

The airfield review provides basic information about 31 airfields throughout Florida plus a guide to nearby attractions, contact numbers and personal recommendations. Some comments will bring back memories for anyone who has been there already, such as the shark’s teeth on the beach at Venice and the excellent if idiosyncratic taxi service at Cedar Key. The latter is described as very small, and having stopped a Mooney six feet from the water’s edge I can only agree with that. The airfield information is a bit sketchy in some cases and, whilst extremely useful as a tourist guide it is no substitute for the latest airport and facility directory (see the review of AOPA's Airport Directory in the June issue).

The final part lists eight aviation museums, how to get there and what to expect when you do. Some of these are on airfields but some are not, and where this is the case the guide lists the nearest airfield but, surprisingly, no details for that airfield.

If you're planning a flying holiday in Florida, buy a copy! Ernie Hoblyn.

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