Tips for Oregon => Minnesota?

Your trip reports, airport experiences, etc. are welcome here.

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Chris B
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Tips for Oregon => Minnesota?

Post by Chris B »

In a few weeks my youngest son & I are planning to fly from Portland Oregon to Ely Minnesota (NE corner). Our first-pass at a route is close to "direct" but deviates a little north to Coeur d'Alene & Glacier National Park:
KHIO LTJ KPSC COE FCA KGPI KHVR KGGW KMOT KDVL KBJI KHIB KELO
HIO-ELO - 600px.jpg
Flight time should be about 10 hrs, and we plan to spread this over 3 days in relatively short legs.

Any suggestions on great places to stop for fun, or awesome FBOs would be most welcome! As would any tribal knowledge about midsummer weather close to the Canadian border.

Thanks!

Chris
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Colin
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Re: Tips for Oregon => Minnesota?

Post by Colin »

I have no hints that far north (other than my usual hints for that long a cross country), but I will be *really* interested in a trip report (and FBO reviews) because as of August 20 our eldest son will start at Reed College so I hope to be making some Portland-centric trips.

So far we've landed at PDX and enjoyed the full service (comes with full price) of Atlantic, but it looks like KHIO is where we should land next time.
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Chris B
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Re: Tips for Oregon => Minnesota?

Post by Chris B »

Colin wrote:I will be *really* interested in a trip report (and FBO reviews) because as of August 20 our eldest son will start at Reed College so I hope to be making some Portland-centric trips.
Another DAN member ping'd me about HIO, and here is my reply:

My son just graduated from Lewis & Clark, so I have flown to Portland about five times in the last two years. IMO, HIO is by far the best airport in the area. It is much more convenient to get to Portland than from PDX. The runways & approaches are excellent, the controllers are friendly, and for whatever reason the skies are generally best in that area. Other than the Intel commuter jets (morning/evening weekdays), most of the traffic seems to be small aircraft. More than once it has been the only spot in the entire Portland area with an opening in the cloud deck. No idea why... :scratch:

The last four trips I have used Aero Air and had a great experience. I started with them because the first time I flew into HIO I needed after-hours service, and stayed with them because the service is great. The FBO looks intimidating (they handle Intel's Embraer jets), but I have found them quite friendly and accommodating for little guys.

The FBO owner has a DA20, so the staff is familiar with ramp procedures for Diamonds. Gas is expensive ($6.40), but they are very generous with crew cars and in addition to tie-downs have hangar space at reasonable rates (as I recall, ~$50/night, less if you buy some gas). It was very nice to be able to have my DA40 out of the elements during one storm, and hilarious to see it parked next to Intel's giant jets the next morning. :D

I get the impression that the Aero Air desk staff has wide latitude for setting (/adjusting) prices, as I usually have gotten charged less than what was quoted over the phone. One time I flew in, bought 15 gallons of gas, and they loaned me a crew car for 3 hrs to pick up my son without any extra fees.

The least expensive option at HIO is probably Hillsboro Aviation. I have not used them, but you might want to give them a call. AFAIK, their main business is training, and the FBO part is essentially a sideline.

Whatever you do, I recommend staying away from Twin Oaks Airpark (7S3). The gas is cheap, but there is essentially no hard surface for tie-down space. I literally got stuck in the wet grass (wheels sunk to the pants...), and the FBO owner was much less than helpful. :(

Chris
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Chris
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Re: Tips for Oregon => Minnesota?

Post by Chris »

We are based out of KHIO. I would recommend both Aero Air and Hillsboro Aviation for fuel service, though the former seems like more of a traditional FBO. The only drawback to flying in and out of Hillsboro is it can be very busy with training aircraft when the weather is nice, leading to longer wait times for take-offs. I've even been told to stay clear of the Class D airspace a couple of times when the controllers are slammed. Send me a PM when you're in the area and I'd be happy to show you around a bit.

I haven't taken a route across the country that far north, though I've flown up to Spokane and around Coeur d'Alene in the summer without any trouble. Weather in the NW is generally perfect this time of year.
Chris
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