Posted on Leave a comment

FALL FLOATPLANE CAMPING IN ONTARIO

There’s something special about fall camping that I can’t quite explain. There’s about a two-week window where the Canadian wilderness just lights up, and the sheer beauty of it is breathtaking.

The destination of this fall trip: Setting North’s Outpost Camp. My hunt and fish camp is for people who want to see the beauty of the remote Canadian wilderness. The outpost’s cabin is only accessible by floatplane, so it’s a true adventure!

We arrived to a breathtaking, late afternoon view of camp on a very calm day. The clear water lake sitting in a valley and perfectly reflecting the sky was both stunning and nerve-racking. The glassy water illusion causes a mirror image of the sky and hinders a pilot’s depth perception, making it difficult to tell the difference between 50 and five feet above the water. It requires a glassy water landing technique: landing in a flatter trajectory, with power, in a slow descent until the plane hits the water. This method of landing eats up a lot of lake while you slowly descend, so we had the extra challenge of performing the landing on a shorter lake.

Only minutes after a successful landing and unpacking the planes, Maverick, my Golden Retriever, was already itching to go fishing. Anytime Maverick and I are not fishing up at camp, Maverick is patiently waiting in the boat for the next opportunity to go. 

Giving in to Maverick’s wishes, we immediately went trolling for some Northern Pike in hopes to catch a quick dinner; we were not disappointed. The lake has no road or trail access and is almost never fished, which leads to some prime fishing opportunity for folks staying at the camp. After just 30 minutes, we had caught dinner for ourselves and Maverick. We headed back to camp to fry up a few fish and boil Maverick’s dinner. 

The next morning Maverick and I woke up before the sun and headed out in darkness to explore the surrounding lakes and hiking trails, verifying that the trails were open and everything was in place for future fishing and exploration adventures. One of the lakes along the way was more of a beaver pond, and every time I had gone through the lake I had come across ducks. I brought the shotgun along in case there was an opportunity to take a duck for dinner.

Along the way, we marvelled at the stunning colours, and Maverick had a great time playing in the water. It was a beautiful trip travelling up the surrounding lakes by boat and then hiking the trails between the lakes. When we got to the beaver pond lake we were greeted by a few ducks, but unfortunately we never got an ethical opportunity for a shot as we attempted to stealthily hike around the lake. Oh well, it was only loosely a hunting trip anyway, so we pushed on in search of the next lake.

For Maverick and me, these are the adventures we come up north for; it’s the reason I learned to fly. It’s heartwarming to be hiking and paddling through the wilderness from lake to lake, seeing Maverick in his element, so eager to explore. The fishing, hunting, and camping is a lot of fun, but nothing beats seeing the pure joy of Maverick spending the day in the wilderness.

After checking the trails, lakes, and boats in the area, Maverick’s day got even better. On our way back through the thick bush, I noticed some movement up ahead that looked like small game. I immediately put Maverick in a down position and flipped the safety off the 12 gauge.

As I got closer I saw a grouse hopping around – one of Maverick’s favourites!

I snuck a bit closer to get an unobstructed view while Maverick obediently stayed in his down position about 10 yards behind me. Once I had a clear shot, I took it and then sent Maverick off to retrieve. Proud of his work, Maverick carried the bird back along the trail to our boat on the previous lake with an obvious extra kick to his step as a result of a job well done.

After we crossed the next few lakes, we were walking through the marshy part of a beaver pond and saw several moose tracks of varying sizes from the bush. As I was investigating the tracks, thinking to myself that they looked pretty recent, I heard a grunt. Maverick and I both turned around trying to see where it was coming from (Maverick zoned in on the direction pretty quickly). Then again, another grunt from the same direction. This was a bull Moose during the rut, grunting at us; obviously not too happy about us being there. Had I been alone, I would have stuck around and tried to spot him for some pictures, but I had Maverick with me. The last thing I wanted was a moose charging at Maverick, so we got out of there pretty quickly.

It wasn’t until just before dark that we got back to camp. I immediately breasted the grouse, lightly covered it with flour, salt and pepper, and fried it. It was an amazing meal to come back to after a long day hiking in the bush and paddling the beautiful lakes in the area. We ate dinner outside, enjoying the beautiful view of the Northern Ontario night sky. It was a calm, warm, cloudless autumn evening with the stars on full display and absolutely zero light pollution. 

The plan for the rest of the trip was to fly an hour north to another lake that we wanted to explore, and then camp there for a night. The next morning we would head back to Setting North’s Outpost Camp and fish for Lake Trout, before packing up and flying south back to the city. With a jam-packed schedule, we were up at the break of dawn the next morning taxiing on the glassy water. It was a brisk morning with no wind so our takeoff runs were slightly longer than usual as the floats stuck to the water (calm water adds friction). Once one float was airborne, the other followed and we were off, northbound to one of the many lakes in Northern Ontario that are on my list for further exploration.

The views when flying up north in Ontario in autumn can’t be put into words. The mixture of colour is absolutely breathtaking and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be at this time of year. The flight was very smooth and hands-off on this beautiful morning with the tips of the colourful trees breaking through the morning fog in the valleys. 

Once we landed, I put on my hip waders and started looking for a place to park the plane. Camping at unfamiliar lakes always has the added stress of not knowing where a safe spot is to bring the plane to shore and tie it down. This lake didn’t have a beach, so I had to taxi close to the shore, watching out for shoals, and then hop out and cautiously pull the plane the rest of the way in. 

It was a while before we were both satisfied with the way our aircraft were tied down. You always have to consider the worst scenario – what if a storm came through, would our plane be safe? There’s nothing worse than having your plane tied to the shore then waking up to a thunderstorm in the middle of the night, wondering if your plane is holding on.

The next step was to get the fold-a-boat off the aircraft, set it up, put on the motor, and get out there and fish! I love fishing with Maverick; he stares at the tip of the fishing rod the entire time, waiting for it to bend. When you hit the bottom, get a snag, or get a fish, his tail starts wagging like crazy. If you start reeling in, his feet start tapping in excitement and his tail gets going even faster. The hardest part is dealing with the disappointment on his face when you pull up a log from a snag, rather than the fish he was expecting.

Luckily for Maverick, and for us, there was plenty of Walleye caught during this adventure. The wind started to pick up as we approached our limit of fish and we decided to head back to camp for the night. The journey back to camp was a lot more turbulent than the flight up. On the positive side, the lake was choppy, so no glassy water landing technique was required. 

The wind continued picking up as we got back to camp and dark clouds started rolling in for the evening. There wasn’t any stargazing that night! After we fried some Pike for dinner, we headed to bed for an early evening so that we could try to get a Lake Trout before we flew home the next morning.

It was another successful trip to Setting North Outpost Camp for Maverick and me.

The camp is available for fly-in fishing, hunting, hiking, exploring, and/or photography adventures. Visit http://settingnorth.com and email info@settingnorth.com if you’d like to get away and go on an adventure in the remote Canadian wilderness. For more from Andrew and Maverick, check out the following:

Posted on Leave a comment

Flying the Alaskan Bush

Long before television channels were full of Alaska-this and Alaska-that reality TV shows, my grandparents took a trip there with the Cincinnati Zoo. When they returned, there was the usual childhood excitement of “what gift did they bring me back this time?” 

The gift was a brown hat my grandparents called a bush pilot hat. At first I was disappointed in the hat and thought, “what about a toy knife or some other cool toy?” However, my disappointment was short-lived when Grandpa told me the flying stories from their Alaskan adventure. 

This was the first time I learned about bush pilots and the type of flying they do day in and day out. Grandpa, an aviation junkie like me, explained the types of planes bush pilots were flying “up there,” the places they were flying into, and details about how they did it. I was mesmerized and also proud that I, a 9 year old kid from Ohio, had a genuine bush pilot hat.

These stories about Alaskan flying adventures, coupled with grandpa’s occasional WWII flying stories, built the foundation of my desire to fly. It would be years before I was able to experience flying a plane in Alaska myself, but I was hooked and had a hat to prove it.

If you like flying, the outdoors, wildlife, adventure and the stunning beauty of nature, you have to go to Alaska. My first trip to Alaska was in 2010 on an anniversary trip with my wife, Tracy. I did not have my pilot’s license yet, since I was still in the stop and start phase of my flying career (where life always seemed to get in the way of my goal of learning to fly). Just like when Grandpa came back from Alaska, I got the flying fever again, only this time was worse than ever. I hiked up the Flat Top Mountain Trail in Anchorage, constantly looking back at Lake Hood and Anchorage International, checking out all the planes, large and small, wheeled and float, moving in and out of the airspace. On our way to Denali, we stopped at Talkeetna just to look at planes. In Denali, I could see the K2 Aviation planes taking hikers to the trail head. It was settled: when I got back from this trip, I was going to get my private pilot’s license. I was determined that when I returned to Alaska, I was going to fly here.

I didn’t exactly get off our Delta flight and head straight to the local airport to start flight training, but it was not too long after. Learning to fly takes some work and dedication, along with good mentors to help you get over the plateaus that are part of any flight training. While burning holes in the sky over southwest Ohio with my flight instructor Dan Whitaker, a gearhead similar to me, we shared adventure stories and both agreed there really wasn’t a brand that captured the outdoor adventure side of aviation. I knew the idea was encapsulated in that bush pilot hat my grandparents brought me back from Alaska years ago, but it just needed a name. Flight Outfitters was born. 

Last year, I was lucky enough to return to Alaska to do some real flying with some real pilots. Flight Outfitters had a display at the Great Alaska Aviation Gathering in Anchorage and was also sponsoring the Valdez STOL competition the following week.  At the Aviation Gathering, I personally got to know many of the men and women who pilot their own and others’ adventures every day. The stereotypical image of the bush pilot is that of a rough old guy – part mountain man, part cowboy. In reality, the bush pilot community is full of men and women, young and old, from clean cut to a little on the granola side. They are all unbelievable stick and rudder pilots. True, there are a few cowboys in the bunch, but we all have a crazy uncle after all. Most, however, are excellent at risk assessment and management, and are able to fly safely – even under extraordinary conditions. They are wonderful navigators and skilled mechanics, too. 

In between the Aviation Gathering and the Valdez STOL competition, I headed down to Homer to fly with Chris Palmer and Deon Mitton, two extraordinary aviators who are also featured in this catalog. With the help of my Alaskan buddies, my dream came true as I piloted a gritty old 172 over Kachemak Bay and glaciers to small dirt strips, and even over some of those Alaskan reality show film sites. Although fully decked out in Flight Outfitters gear as I managed gravel strips and crazy crosswinds, with mountain views out the window and accompanied by my real bush pilot buddies, part of me wished I’d had that old bush pilot hat from grandpa.

Posted on Leave a comment

The Bush Pilot Jacket from Flight Outfitters – the Bomber Jacket for the 21st Century

This new jacket is essential equipment for your next adventure, whether you’re flying seaplanes in Alaska or splitting wood in your back yard. Its rugged exterior blocks out wind and rain, and can stand up to almost any abuse. But the Bush Pilot jacket is as comfortable on the inside as it is tough on the outside, with a quilted body lining and Sherpa accents to keep you warm. It’s the bomber jacket for the modern pilot.

Features:

  • Sherpa accents on collar and cuffs, reminiscent of WWII bomber jackets, keep you warm during cold pre-flights
  • Two hand-warmer front pockets, lined in Sherpa for extra warmth and comfort
  • Zippered chest pocket is perfect for storing sunglasses or displaying your ramp ID
  • Adjustable snap side tabs give you more room to breathe when seated, perfect for long flights
  • Made from heavy duty, 12 oz. duck fabric
  • Pleated, bi-swing action back makes it easy to move arms
  • Inside chest pocket for phone
Posted on Leave a comment

PlaneTalk: Flight Outfitters at AirVenture

Phil Lightstone of PlaneTalk stopped by our booth at Oshkosh this year to interview Mark, our president and founder. Take a listen here, and be sure to check out all of PlaneTalk’s podcasts!

The Flight Outfitters booth at EAA Airventure

ABOUT PLANETALK

PlaneTalk delivers a new podcast every two weeks with up to date news in aviation technologies. From home to cockpit to personal tech, PlaneTalk provides informative information for pilots and aviation enthusiasts alike.

Posted on Leave a comment

Flight Outfitters Lift XL and Lift XL Pro Bags Best-selling flight bag now in a larger size

Flight Outfitters has a reputation for making some of the hardest working, best looking flight bags in the world. The new Lift XL is a larger version of the top-rated Lift Bag, adding more room for storage (including two headsets) and more organization options, all while retaining the signature design features that make Flight Outfitters bags so useful in the cockpit.

Also new, for the first time, Flight Outfitters is introducing a new bag in two different color options. The Lift XL features the classic Flight Outfitters color scheme of black, grey, and orange, but for professional pilots who prefer an understated, all-black look, the Lift XL Pro is ideal. The Lift XL Pro has a solid black exterior but with the signature orange interior so items are easy to find in the dark. Both bags slide over your rolling luggage for easy transport.

Features:

  • Spacious front compartment with generous padding protects two headsets
  • Removable divider allows you to reconfigure front compartment quickly
  • Four elastic battery holders mean you’ll always have extra headset batteries
  • Large center pocket has a quick-access area for storing your tablet
  • Separate center section accommodates laptop computers, even larger 15” models
  • Back pocket includes six small and three medium mesh pockets to keep cords organized
  • Interior zip pocket stores passports, ID or other sensitive documents
  • Rear slash pocket stores paperwork, or can be unzipped to slide over rolling luggage handles
  • Quick-access exterior pockets for flashlights and pens
  • Steel reinforced carry handle can withstand heavy loads
  • Padded shoulder strap makes the Lift XL easy to carry, but is easily removed
  • Bright orange interior makes it easy to find even the smallest items

Measures 18”w x 10.5”h x 9”d overall.

The Lift XL Bag and Lift XL Pro are each available for $149.95. Either may be purchased at FlightOutfitters.com or through Flight Outfitters dealers.

About Flight Outfitters
With its roots in general aviation, Flight Outfitters’ first product was a line of stylish, durable and flight-functional bags for pilots. Soon apparel, kneeboards, flashlights and other pilot supplies were added to its offerings. Today outdoor adventurists have discovered Flight Outfitters and have come to rely on its functional, sturdy and reliable products. Whatever the community, Flight Outfitters invites its customers to “Pilot Your Own Adventure.” Flight Outfitters Founder Mark Glassmeyer is an avid general aviation pilot whose grandfather, a member of the World War II B-24 bomb group, is his aviation role model.

Posted on Leave a comment

Pilot Your Own Adventure: Destination Seldovia

Flight Outfitters, creators of rugged, feature-rich gear for pilots, has released its second video in a series that complements the company tagline: Pilot Your Own Adventure.

The second video in the series takes the viewer to Seldovia, Alaska, a town on the Kenai Peninsula with a population of just 255 people at the last census.

“Seldovia is not for everyone. Entertainment includes hiking, fishing, salmon-watching, berry picking and clamming,” said Flight Outfitters President Mark Glassmeyer. “One of the hiking trails is called the Otter-bahn because of the wildlife viewing.”

Even a weekend pilot has a spirit of adventure. What’s your own adventure? If casinos appeal to you more than berry picking, Flight Outfitters wants to know. Share your own pilot adventure with Flight Outfitters by using #PilotYourOwnAdventure on social media. You can also share your adventures with Flight Outfitters on the “Contact Us” page of the company website at FlightOutfitters.com/contact-us.

For More Information, Contact:
Shannon Whitaker
Sales Coordinator
P: 513-688-7300
swhitaker@flightoutfitters.com

Media link to images.

Posted on Leave a comment

Flight Outfitters Introduces Bush Pilot Jacket

The bomber jacket for the modern pilot

Flight Outfitters is proud to introduce the latest addition to its growing selection of pilot apparel. The Bush Pilot Jacket has a rugged design specifically made for pilots, but with modern styling that will be at home outside the cockpit. Its water-resistant exterior blocks out wind and rain, and can stand up to almost any abuse. The Bush Pilot jacket is as comfortable on the inside as it is tough on the outside, with a quilted body lining and Sherpa accents to keep any pilot warm.

“The Bush Pilot Jacket is essential equipment for your next adventure, whether you’re flying seaplanes in Alaska or splitting wood in your backyard,” says Flight Outfitters Founder Mark Glassmeyer. “It’s the bomber jacket for the modern pilot.”

Designed with the pilot in mind, Flight Outfitters Bush Pilot Jacket has a pleated bi-swing action back to make it easy to move your arms in the cockpit without restriction. Adjustable snap side tabs gives a pilot more room to breathe when seated, which makes this jack perfect for long flights. The oversized cuffs are specifically designed to accommodate large pilot watches, and various pockets accent the jacket, both for handwarming along with stowing of sunglasses or displaying a ramp ID. Three inside chest pockets organize your cell phone and small accessories.

“On a recent backcountry flying trip in Alaska, I was inspired by the toughness of bush pilots and their airplanes, so we designed a jacket to thrive in that environment,” adds Glassmeyer. “The super-duty 12 oz. cotton duck fabric is water resistant, the oversized front zipper is brass, and the main seams are all double-stitched.”

The Flight Outfitters Bush Pilot Jacket [FO-M-BPJACKET] will be available this fall in men’s sizes small through 2XL and may be purchased for $99.95 at FlightOutfitters.com or through Flight Outfitters dealers

For More Information, Contact:
Shannon Whitaker
Sales Coordinator
P: 513-688-7300
swhitaker@flightoutfitters.com

Media link to images.

Posted on Leave a comment

Pilot Your Own Adventure: Destination Valdez

Flight Outfitters, creators of rugged, feature-rich gear for pilots, has launched a new video series to complement the company tagline: Pilot Your Own Adventure.

The first video in the series captures the adventure of flying in and around Valdez, Alaska, as part of the Valdez Fly-in, which is billed as Alaska’s premier bush flying event. Now in its 15th year, the Valdez Fly-in is best known for its STOL precision flying contests. The Valdez video may be viewed here:

“Most of us learned to fly for the adventure airplanes promised us,” said Flight Outfitters President Mark Glassmeyer. “It’s easy to forget that promise of adventure with our busy lives, so Flight Outfitters has made as its mission to celebrate the adventurous spirit in all pilots.”

Flying around Valdez is not everyone’s idea of adventure, however. If rocky coasts, mountainous terrain and icy water isn’t for you, Flight Outfitters wants to hear what your own flying adventure is. Whether flying takes you to an island airport only accessible by general aviation or to a back-country strip to fly fish or simply gets you to the ski slope faster, Flight Outfitters wants to document and share your own particular adventure. Even if your idea of an adventure is a Saturday trip with buddies for a $100 hamburger, share it with Flight Outfitters by using #PilotYourOwnAdventure on social media. You can also share your adventures with Flight Outfitters on the “Contact Us” page of the company website at http://www.flightoutfitters.com/contact-us.

“We often hear about pilots losing their interest in flying for fun,” adds Glassmeyer “so we want to remind pilots that your pilot certificate is a ticket to adventure.”

Posted on Leave a comment

Flight Outfitters Launches Enhanced Kneeboards – Kneeboard specifically designed for in-flight iPad use

Flight Outfitters now offers an enhanced version of its popular kneeboards, designed to hold any iPad, up to the 10.5” iPad Pro. Available in two sizes, large and small, the Flight Outfitters Kneeboard maintains the same features and price as the original kneeboard but with added versatility to accommodate the range of iPads in use.

“I noticed in my own flying that pilots are transitioning to larger iPads that are kept in bulkier cases,” said Flight Outfitters Founder Mark Glassmeyer. “That observation led to talking to dozens of pilots and reading through hundreds of PIREPs where we determined that our kneeboard needed a redesign.”

The Flight Outfitters iPad Kneeboards take cockpit organization to a whole new level. Loaded with innovative, pilot friendly features, these kneeboards provide a sturdy mounting bracket for an iPad. Updated design uses expandable loops to securely hold the corners of the iPad to the bracket. This allows you to keep your iPad in your case instead of removing it for every flight.

“The bracket rotates for both portrait and landscape orientation. The side of the kneeboard has a structured pocket that, when unzipped, creates a rigid platform. This platform is sized perfectly for a small 3″ x 5″ notepad (included) or cellphone. Lined with soft felt, this platform holds any size of iPhone. The unique design is completely reversible for use on either of the pilot’s leg, secured by an elastic leg strap to hold the kneeboard in place. The kneeboard comes with a drawstring bag for storage.

Other features of the Flight Outfitters Kneeboard are:

  • Fold down platform
  • Rotating iPAD Cradle
  • Non-slip underside
  • Padded back
  • Pen – Stylus pocket
  • Note pad
  • Mesh pocket
  • Extra thick elastic strap
  • Sturdy strap clip

Flight Outfitters iPad Small Kneeboard [FO-KB2-SM] is available for $59.95. Flight Outfitters iPad Large Kneeboard [FO-KB2-LG] is available for $69.95. Either may be purchased at FlightOutfitters.com or through Flight Outfitters dealers

About Flight Outfitters:
With its roots in general aviation, Flight Outfitters’ first product was a line of stylish, durable and flight-functional bags for pilots. Soon apparel, kneeboards, flashlights and other pilot supplies were added to its offerings. Today outdoor adventurists have discovered Flight Outfitters and have come to rely on its functional, sturdy and reliable products. Whatever the community, Flight Outfitters invites its customers to “Pilot Your Own Adventure.” Flight Outfitters Founder Mark Glassmeyer is an avid general aviation pilot whose grandfather, a member of the World War II B-24 bomb group, is his aviation role model.

For More Information, Contact:
Shannon Whitaker
Sales Coordinator
P: 513-688-7300
swhitaker@flightoutfitters.com

Media link to images.