Of the historic big three general aviation manufacturers, only Piper has numerous aircraft models that correspond to American place names. That’s because many Piper aircraft names were taken from Native American tribes—Apache, Comanche, Cherokee, Pawnee, Navajo, Seneca, Seminole—and numerous American towns were also named for those tribes. A few Piper aircraft were named for geographic regions or places, such as the Malibu and Saratoga.
Many of Cessna’s product names are combinations of “air” and “sky” with other words to create names such as Skywagon, Skylane, Skycatcher, Airmaster, and Stationair. A few were named for birds, such as the Cardinal and Skylark. Others are named for their intended duty, such as Commuter, Patroller, Aerobat, and Caravan.
Beechcraft seemed to be enamored of royalty, with names such as King Air, Queen Air, Baron, Duke, Duchess, and Musketeer. During World War II, the company did build the AT–10 Wichita, a trainer named after Wichita, Kansas, the location of the Beechcraft factory.
Owners of the most popular kitplanes are out of luck, unless someone names their town RV–7. Look up your own airplane’s name and see if there’s a built-in excuse to make a trip.
“Honey, I gotta take our ‘Super Mobeetie’ home to Texas.”
Beechcraft Bonanza—Bonanza, Colorado
Bonanza is not what it once was, a booming silver mining town in the Rocky Mountains. Back in the 1880s, Bonanza had more than 1,000 miners digging during the day and enjoying 36 saloons and seven dance halls at night. Today, it’s a ghost town and worth the drive to wander among the deteriorating historic buildings beneath the majestic mountains. Pilots can access Bonanza by car after landing at Salida/Harriett Alexander Field in Salida, 40 miles north of Bonanza and 100 miles southwest of Denver. For a sneak peek, view photos of Bonanza on the Uncover Colorado travel guide website.
After exploring Bonanza, you could continue south to hike—or sandboard or sled—at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, which has the tallest sand dunes in North America, up to 750 feet high. Park trails also provide chances for hiking in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, through evergreen forests up to alpine meadows and lakes. If you prefer snow to sand, travel north to Colorado’s premier ski resorts in Aspen, Breckenridge, or Vail.
Piper Seneca—Seneca Falls, New York
Autumn might be the best season for Piper Seneca pilots to visit Seneca Falls in
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