Best Autumn Flights for Private Pilots

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Are you making the most of your personal aircraft? In almost every corner of the world, Mother Nature dishes up some incredible autumn foliage as a sendoff towards winter. Luckily for those in the US and Canada, North America has some of the best fall shows of all. But it’s one thing to take a day trip in your car to soak up all Autumn Flightsthat natural beauty—and it’s quite another to take a pleasure flight in your own plane. This is one time when nosebleed seats work in your favor.

However, make sure you take into account the weather concerns of your flight route. For new private pilots, autumn weather patterns can shift quickly and fiercely in some parts of the country. To make the most of your autumn flight (and stay safe), plan your trips for earlier in the season to enjoy those lingering sunny summer days.

Options are as Limitless as the Colors Below

Easily ranking as a top autumn pleasure flight, arching over Aspen, Colorado can’t be missed. The deep, rich colors glisten and are the perfect complement to the mountain peaks. However, Aspen’s season for private pilots is short, ranging from mid-September to mid-October. Once Halloween creeps up, most of the leaves have fallen and the weather starts getting too dangerous for many pilots—it’s one of the ski capitals of the world, after all.

For pilots based in Philadelphia, New York or Boston, a flight over the Berkshires in Massachusetts will leave you amazed. Instead of getting carsick on those narrow, winding roads that weave between hamlets, fly above it all and check out the crimson, scarlet and golden colors. For a weekend trip, research a local airport and land for some gallery or antique shopping.

Forget Crayons: Foliage is the Colorful Way to Kick Off the New School Year

You wouldn’t think New Mexico and awesome fall foliage go together—unless you’re familiar with this region. It’s an escape for those in Aspen who want something a little different. Here, the colors are richer, darker and last a little longer. You’ll even find dark purples and fire red here, but the prime flying time is the same as for Colorado. Take flight by early October to make the most of it.

Upper Michigan has four million acres of lush foliage to enjoy, and flying over the 20+ state parks gives you a real bird’s eye view of the beauty. Add in a tour of the Great Lakes, and you have the ultimate foliage cocktail.

Autumn is the season for change, and if you’re itching to put your private pilot’s license to use then your timing is perfect (and—of course—that’s a necessity for a pilot).