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Thread: Highway or county road landing

  1. #1

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    Highway or county road landing

    is it legal to land on a highway or a county road ?

  2. #2

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    There has been some other posts on this, and it seems like it is up to the local authorities. If you clear it with them, you should be good to go. (at least in North Dakota--other states may vary)

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    Ruffair's Avatar
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    If you are questioned by the "authorities" be sure to to pull the dip stick or something, as you had to make a "precautionary landing"....

  4. #4
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    Seems to vary from state to state. I have a pilot friend in Colorado who is a state patrolman and he says there is no law in Colorado prohibiting it. I always make sure that he lands first just in case.

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    I landed on a road about a month ago to get a drink from a pop machine that was at a self-serve gas station and some woman chewed me out, telling me how dangerous it was and called the cops, I got my drink and then took off, I circled around and the cop did show up. The FAA called me and told me that the police were going to write me a ticket for an unlicensed vehicle on a road.The FAA didn't do anything and told the police the case was taken care of on the FAA's end. It kinda takes the fun out of having a supercub. This happened in Iowa.


    Doug

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3977P
    I landed on a road about a month ago to get a drink from a pop machine that was at a self-serve gas station and some woman chewed me out, telling me how dangerous it was and called the cops, I got my drink and then took off, I circled around and the cop did show up. The FAA called me and told me that the police were going to write me a ticket for an unlicensed vehicle on a road.The FAA didn't do anything and told the police the case was taken care of on the FAA's end. It kinda takes the fun out of having a supercub. This happened in Iowa.


    Doug
    As I understand it, most states that offense would have to be witnessed by the cop...
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

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    Bushfan's Avatar
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    Yes, that appears to be a case of an over zealous cop. They are also called road-nazis in this part of the world.

    I just had that come up recently in my business and I contacted the FAA and asked them. FAA has no objection to using a road to land on. They told me to check with the locals and if they had no objections then go ahead. I was running back and forth and wanted to land at my house but have yuppie neighbors who get great thrill out of objecting to everything, and I wanted to land on the road in front of my house and then park in my circle drive. I called Pedro and he didnt care, so......it didnt seem logical to go to the airport 25 miles away and then have to drive back.

    I have extremely thin skin with socialists.

  8. #8
    pzinck's Avatar
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    Before we i built our hangar, the police would block u.s. rt 2 for me. The chief was a pilot friend. I would land and be off the road in a minute or so. Sometimes would draw a crowd , nobody objected up this way.
    Remember , the light at the end of the tunnel may be you .O wind of heaven by thy might save all who dare the eagles flight, and keep them by thy watchful care from every peril in the air.

  9. #9
    Cub junkie's Avatar
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    The media is the problem most of the time. You know how dangerous they will make this sound. I bet our spray plane pilots on this board have used a few roads. One of my favorite pictures from the cub board is the one with cubs sitting at the gas station pumps along with the cars and pick up trucks.

  10. #10
    wateredown
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    http://www.lawlibrary.state.mn.us/ar...09/cx01120.htm

    That case was from 2001 (just checked, still good law) - but it basically said that although the FAA controls the air and airports, when a plane lands on municiple property, then it falls under that jurisdiction. Therefore, a plane that lands on a highway it becomes a vehicle for purposes of traffic regulations and can be cited for an overly wide vehicle.

    There is a law MN Statute 169.80 that tells you exactly what types of "vehicles" can be on the highways --- the case above just goes to state that an airplane can be a vehicle under this statute.
    http://ros.leg.mn/bin/getpub.php?pub...section=169.80

  11. #11
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    Tell the police officer that it was a precautionary landing re checking the engine chip detector plug because you got a light on the master caution panel.

    The cop doesn't care ( or shouldn't) and even if he/she does dazzle them with BS and give them something to hang their hat on.

    There was a thread a few years back where way out in MN some ag pilots were being given a hard time for staging their chemical & fuel trucks on a county road and using the road for a runway. It's amazing how petty and officious some folks become when they have a badge.
    Marine Corps Aviation since 1966

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by wateredown
    There is a law MN Statute 169.80 that tells you exactly what types of "vehicles" can be on the highways --- the case above just goes to state that an airplane can be a vehicle under this statute.
    http://ros.leg.mn/bin/getpub.php?pub...section=169.80
    Well it looks to me like if you just put rear view mirrors on your wing tips everything would be fine on the over-width part in MN...

    Then all you need to do is practice saying "wings, what wings Officer, can't you see those are my mirror extensions and they are exempt from measurementment by statute."

    True deal, I know a retired air force pilot in Kansas who likes to land on the section road in front of his farm, no harm very little traffic, not even another house within ˝ mile… no problem that is until his distant neighbor became the ‘grand poobah’ of the township and decided he didn’t like it and had ridiculously tall snow plow markers installed along that road... Well being neighborly, my friend (who introduced me to the fine vetterain avaiator) got some new farm equipment so he decided to visit the stranded pilot and show off his new really BIG combine… problem solved, pilot flying once again…seems it is against the law in Kansas to restrict a the movement of farm equipment on section lines roadways... seems after the new CASE wend down the road those markets were only visible from above after being laid FLAT.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

  13. #13
    Patrol Guy's Avatar
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    I think I posted this once, but here it is again. Be careful in Ohio.

    I have landed on my fair share of roads, mostly for my own amusement. The majority of mine have been in Ohio and they are not always illegal landings, even though most everything else is illegal in Ohio.

    I have a couple of contractor friends who have built some roads that I have landed on. This one time I had the local, the county, and the state cops, all come racing up with lights flashing and sirens screaming. They all wanted to arrest me for trespassing. This was on the Sunday before the big ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday.


    I landed to pick up my friend so he could take some pictures. When we got back and landed again, all these whistle-pops jumped on us with the intent to haul us off. My friend jumped back and threatened them with trespassing charges. Turns out that the road belongs to him until they cut the ribbon and he turns it over to the highway department.

    I can’t say that I wasn’t enjoying that.

    John
    Those who pound their guns into plows, will plow for those who do not.
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  14. #14
    courierguy's Avatar
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    A farmer buddy of mine used to land his T-Craft on a dirt road near his house, BUT he did have a slow moving vehicle sign on the tail feathers. His plan was to explain to anyone complaining that that made it legal , it worked for all his farm equipment anyway!
    What has worked for me:if "they" don't see you its not a problem. I have never once had to fall back on the "the engine started running rough" story to explain my actions, but I do keep it in mind and am pretty sure I could make it convincing.
    Courierguy

  15. #15
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    Highway or county road landing

    Patrol Guy : I had the same experience in 1963 when building Interstate 94 in western North Dakota. I was using my Luscombe to fly back and forth from home to work { 500 + miles} and landing on I-94 at my work site. A very officious State trooper came on the job site and was going to give me a ticket for landing on the highway. The job Superintendent came to my rescue and told the cop he couldn't do that as it was private property and belonged to the contractor until the state bought it, and that I had permission to use it. He left in a huff, only to return days later to harrass all of the guys with out of state license plates on their cars. He made all of them buy North Dakota license plates for their cars. He was an As*&%@# and everybody knew it !!!

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    It is legal in Alaska whether the cops know it or not.

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    Minnesota highway landings

    A few years ago when I flew hot air balloons here in Minnesota, we would land on roads, either as touch-and-goes or to land for the evening ("full stop"). The basket is well within the 102 inches, like 48 inches. That would be all on the road, but when deflating, the envelope would, for a few minutes anyway, be all over the road until packed away. I was friends with the sheriff and deputies in that county, so never had a problem. Only once did someone "turn me in," but nothing ever came of it.

    I've landed my cub on many roads in Minnesota and Iowa. Maybe I've been lucky. I have never been "reported" that I know of.

    We pilots know that we can see far better the surrounding situation than from any vantage point on the ground. Still, regulations is regulations.....guess I've been guilty of being over-wide.

    I would vote for McCain or Obama, if either one would officially declare banning road landings in their platform!
    Glenn

  18. #18
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    DW's Avatar
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    A few years back I landed my C-185 on a beach in Oregon it is one of the very few beaches you are allowed to drive on in Oregon, it is heavily used by ATVs most of which are driven by children under driving age. this beach is considered a public highway and it was clear of vehicles so I landed to take a much needed relief stop, a sheriff pulled up and ask if I had a emergency and thinking it was OK to be there I said no just stopped to take a leak, he informed me it was a public highway and I couldn't land there and he said he could impound my plane, after a few heated words about his liability for my plane and the ensuing law suit he let me take off. Oh by the way the ticket was $960.

    DW

  20. #20
    NimpoCub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DW
    Oh by the way the ticket was $960.
    Pissin' on the hiway is only $949, but how ya gonna sue him over that??

  21. #21
    DW's Avatar
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    The lawsuit would have been for leaving my plane on the beach with incoming tide, pissin on the beach was a freebie. next time I'll just piss in a zip-lock bag and drop it off at the sheriff office as I fly by.

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    Used to be legal in Arkansas by statute. Don't know if it still is.
    JimC

  23. #23
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    The point is that there is no simple answer to that question. The legalities depend on the location, and whose jurisdiction it lies within.

    And, maybe their mood that day.

    Etc.

    Bottom line: If you get away with it, it must be okay. If not, well.....

    Guy landed on one of the big lakes that belong to a tribe. Tribal police seized the airplane. He got the plane back, after a lot of hassle and paying a fine to the tribe.

    So, it depends. Do you want to risk that sort of hassle?

    If I were planning on landing on a road somewhere, I'd do a little specific research first.

    MTV

  24. #24
    Zing's Avatar
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    Flying aeromag surveys across the country, I landed on a lot of roads for a variety of reasons.
    In Nevada, we were working out in the flats along the "Loneliest Highway in America," Hwy 5 I think it was. The nearest airport to get gas was almost an hour from the survey area, but there was one lonely little gas station/cafe out there that had a few hunter's cabins set that we stayed in during the month we were there. Just down the road was a gravel airstrip where we kept the airplane at night, but when I needed fuel, I'd just land on the highway and taxi up to the gas pumps.
    I'd been doing this for about 10 days with no problems from the not yet seen local authorities, but lots of comments from the other drivers who came by while I was fueling.
    One day, I'd fueled up and was waiting at the cafe counter for a couple lunches to go for aerial delivery to the ground crew out in the boonies when the waitress glanced over my shoulder and muttered "oh oh."
    I looked out the window and there was a state trooper's cruiser parked next to the pumps and here came the officer walking in the door.
    I was doing my best to blend into the scenery, but I didn't fool the officer who glanced around the half-dozen faces in the cafe, zeroed in on me and asked, "Is that your airplane?"
    I re[lied that indeed, I was the pilot of that airplane, and the officer smiled and said it was the first time he'd ever seen an airplane at a car gas station.
    I spent about 10 minutes chatting with the trooper and the subject of whether or not what I was doing was legal never came up.
    I knew the ground crew would soon be wondering where the heck I was with their food and the officer didn't seem inclined to be in any hurry to leave. Finally, I said I had to get back to work and headed for the door, pushed the airplane back from the pumps and climbed in to start up and fire up all the aeromag gear.
    As I taxied out to the road, the officer walked out the door and waved me on my way, so I checked for traffic coming down the hill to the north and rolled out on the road and took off. I saw the trooper a couple more times during our stay out there and never heard a word about any legal transgressions or complaints from motorists.
    In fact, the closest we came to problems with the law was when a game warden stopped by the base station out near a hot springs and found us soaking in an impromptu jacuzzi one of the ground crew had constructed by digging a hole and diverting the flow of hot water into it with a few pieces of scrap sheet metal he'd dragged in from the desert.
    Turns out that the hot springs was one of the few remaining locations of some sort of chub fish that was on Nevada's endangered species list and altering the flow of the small stream was prohibited.
    We claimed ignorance about who had constructed the hot tub and swore up and down that we were merely taking advantage of the local amenities. We did pitch in and assist the game warden in tearing down the hot tub and, more or less, restoring the natural flow of water at the site.

  25. #25
    Patrolman's Avatar
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    Well I have made numerous landings on oil field roads and some highways for various reasons without any problem from anyone. But I do know of a couple of humorous stories.

    Back in the late 60s a Mobil pipeline patrol pilot made a precautionary landing on a highway in New Mexico. The pilot had the problem resolved when a highway patrolman came along and explained that there was a $150.00 fine for unauthorized use of the highway. The pilot explained that the bill should be sent to the Dallas office. With that the Patrolman blocked traffic for him to takeoff. A week or so later the Dallas office gets a bill for $300.00 explaining that the highway was used twice.. Once for landing and once for taking off.

    Back in the 70s a patrol pilot friend of mine was talking to another patrol pilot from another company. The other pilot said that he often landed on a highway in N.M. and pulled off in a picnic area to eat his brown bag lunch. My friend knew the place since he flew in the same area, so the next time he was in that area he landed to do the same thing. He had no sooner pulled in and shut down the engine when a sheriff pulled up and told him that they knew he had been doing this for a while and was going to write him a ticket. After some discussion my friend was able to convince the sheriff that it was the other guy that had been doing it for a while and this was actually the only time he had done this and that he didn’t know he was breaking any laws. The sheriff agreed to let him off with a warning to him and the other pilot that if they were caught again there would be a stiff fine!!

  26. #26
    Bushwhacker Air's Avatar
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    Illegal in New York - go figure!

  27. #27
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    This probably goes without saying but the main thing you need to do is watch for power lines and other obstacles. I have paid some tuition to learn this lesson.

    I have landed on lots of roads around the upper Midwest without negative repercussions to date. I stay away from places where I am likely to be viewed as a nuisance and am super vigilant about looking for obstacles (though I have not been perfectly successful in avoiding them). My view on this is that if you are considerate of those likely to object and careful, not likely a problem in rural areas around here.

    On the other hand, after buying a set of 31" Tundra Tires, I generally find it better to land off road. Most rural roads have ditches and are congregating places for hard to see wires and other bad things.

    My off-airport operations are strictly for fun. This type of flying is more fun than anything else I know of but comes with potential problems and hidden expenses. I saw in the paper that one of our esteemed members put his plane on its back yesterday. I will leave it to him to decide if he wants to tell the story.

  28. #28

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    In South Dakota I didn’t get a ticket for landing on a road but the town cop sure did ask me a bunch of questions. Staying with friends that evening I just pulled the plane off the road, tied it down, and walked three blocks to “down town.” The cop found me in the hardware store… Apparently I stood out. He started in with questions, most of which weren’t any of his business, but I gave him what information I deemed appropriate for him to know, and then quickly (politely) proceeded in with my own questions about him and his job duties. At the checkout I bought him a fist full of candy bars and asked him if he’d keep an eye on the airplane over night. My new rotund friend sat in the squad car most of the night making sure nothing happened to the towns newest outsider. It sure was comforting knowing where the ONE town cop was!

    I often think of him sitting in his cruiser with chocolate smeared from ear to ear. Makes me laugh to this day.

    Lippy

  29. #29

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    Does anyone know if you can land on ANY of the beaches along the east coast

  30. #30

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    The comments on this thread again make me glad I live in Alaska. I have never checked with the state but I have landed on the Steese Highway north of Fairbanks because the weather would not let me proceed. Had a nice stay at a motel overnight and the parking lot had plenty of room for the 12. I was impressed with the stories I heard that evening about the harrowing airplane landing by the intrepid pilot. I chose to remain annonymous and just agreed. Locals were more than helpful.

  31. #31
    Coyote Ugly's Avatar
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    Never had a problem here in Nevada in 45 years... Never tried landing in on a road in Reno or Vegas tho...
    "Pops Dory"
    They used to say there are no old, bold pilots, Hell, looka here...

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    I learned to fly at Minden before I moved up north 25 years ago and I don't expect a road landing would be a problem in Nevada either. Lots of road with no cars, perfect. Of course those salt flats would work well too. I didn't have an airplane when I was there but I thought about how much fun Nevada could be with my 12. It's been well below zero for two weeks now. This is the time I start reminding myself how great the rest of the year is. Still I can't seriously see myself anywhere else than Alaska.

  33. #33

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    what about landing in your own field that isn't considered an airstrip? i live in western oregon. i was told there is an old law allowing this, but where do i go to find it to show the authorities when they show up. i will probably have to come closer than five hundred feet to another person or structure. i know that doesn't apply when approaching to land or take off at an airport, but what about just a field. i land in grass seed fields out in the country, but i live in rural residential.

  34. #34
    Zing's Avatar
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    Skip, I don't know what part of the East Coast you' re on, but in the 80s I did few aeromag jobs that involved flying offshore fro Tybee Island, Georgia, near Savannah, and a couple others in the Vero Beach area of Florida.
    Come to think of it, I also flew some offshore surveys in the vicinity of Brazos, Texas. For a variety of reasons, there were a number of times when the airplane didn't need to be in the air for periods less than an hour, which made flying all the way back to a regular airport impractical.
    I landed on the beaches at all three of those areas and never had a problem with the local LEOs.
    I' don't know if was "technically" legal, but no one ever made an issue of it. Most of the places I landed were fairly isolated, but there were a couple times when there were either people around the beach, or a few folks showed up after I'd landed either to see if something was wrong or just spotted the airplane and wandered over to have a look see.

    Now that I think about it, there was one fellow in Florida that came out to raise hell and said we had no right to park the airplane on "his" beach, but when I pointed out that it was a public beach and not his private property, he went away.
    I don't know if he ever called the police about our activities, but we did call them after we caught that same fellow disconnecting the wires from the batteries on the ground, and one time taking the two batteries away, that powered a remote positioning system transponder we had set up on that same beach.
    After the police talked to the guy, we got our batteries back and had no other problems with him. Apparently the radio frequency we used for data transmission between the airplane's magnetometer and the base station's positioning signal relayed back to the airplane interfered with some radio gear in his home. Once we were appraised of that information, we switched to one of the other four channels we had available and that may have solved the interference problem.

  35. #35
    mvivion's Avatar
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    PiperJ5,

    The "for landing or taking off" provision of 91.119 applies ANYwhere, not just at airports. Just be careful, though, of the other part of that FAR, which states "When necessary for landing or....". I know of seaplane pilots violated for overflying people low while landing on a lake and being violated, and the pinch stood up. The argument was that the pilot in those cases, didn't HAVE to land over top of those people, he could have landed from a different direction.

    That should not apply, however, at an airstrip, where there is a clearly defined "necessary" approach path.

    Frankly, the FAA could care less where you land your airplane, unless you break it in the process, or someone complains that you flew too close to them.

    MTV

  36. #36
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    J5,

    I was one of the guys mtv reffers to: The judge's decision in a nutshell: I should have made a glassy water approach, into riseing terrain, into a setting sun, into a harbor with boat traffic .

    His one statement: "I don't care how far he would have had to taxi..." for landing in the middle of the bay.

    One would have thought that common sense to land in a direction giving the most options when the ski boat changes course, and land where if she sinks, (what is the most dangerous position for a float plane?) I could get my passenger to shore...

    If you know where you want to land, got talk to the neighbors first!
    I don't know where you've been me lad, but I see you won first Prize!

  37. #37
    Zing's Avatar
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    Guess I was short a few brain cells when i mentioned the "Loneliest Highway In America." Its actually Highway 6 near Currant, Nevada and it is definitely out in the middle of nowhere.


  38. #38
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    Sean Tucker Lands On Highway "Out Of Gas" Email this article |Print this article

    By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief





    Sean D. Tucker, one of the world's premiere aerobatic pilots and the owner of an advanced flight school he calls the Tutima Academy of Flight Safety, made an off-airport landing on one of California's busiest highways Sunday and according to the California Highway Patrol it was because he ran out of gas. KSBW-TV is reporting that Tucker put an unidentified biplane down on Highway 101 near his home base of King City about 7:22 p.m. The station quotes the CHP as saying Tucker called a mayday, landed safely and then told them he'd run out of fuel.

    The police told the TV station that after Tucker put fuel in the aircraft, they shut down a stretch of highway so he could take off. Tucker did not immediately respond to AVweb's e-mail and telephone requests for comment, so it's not known whether there was a fault with the aircraft or it was a simple case of fuel exhaustion. We'll be updating the story as more details emerge.

    Maybe it all depends on who you are, not where you land.

  39. #39
    Coyote Ugly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zing
    Guess I was short a few brain cells when i mentioned the "Loneliest Highway In America." Its actually Highway 6 near Currant, Nevada and it is definitely out in the middle of nowhere.

    Ha, that's cool, been there a bunch of times, but no gas there now, closed up about 8 years ago or so. Restaurant closed too..
    "Pops Dory"
    They used to say there are no old, bold pilots, Hell, looka here...

  40. #40
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    I've twice landed on Idaho highways, and spent the night at a motel with the bird tied up in front of the room I was in. It was a quite a while back... now with all the damn cell phone cameras it'd be a big deal.
    That is twice AT the motel, many times more to get gas, along with a few times in Wyoming at the Little America truck stop, that was real handy. There are also a few cafes that I get into every year. One time I taxied up, smartly spun it around to park facing out, and as I was going in a local cowboy told me I parked it better then he parked his pickup, which had one wheel up on the curb and was at a pretty good angle. I bought his coffee that morning!

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  1. Alaska Highway
    By Skylar in forum Tips and Tricks
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 11-23-2003, 08:39 PM

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