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Great Summer New England Flying Destination

I know that there is periodic discussion about places to take our birds. And the famous (infamous?) $100 hamburger gets a little tired. And, really, how many breakfasts can you manage at how many restaurants? (Well…that IS a challenge I’m trying to meet.)

Here is a terrific spot for an afternoon or evening meal, some great ice cream, and a really neat airport for your log. Jaffrey Silver Ranch Airport (KAFN) in, naturally, Jaffrey, New Hampshire is in southern NH, hard alongside Vermont and Massachusetts. Sitting in the shadow of Mount Monadnock (unique for it’s naked, alpine, peak despite being only a few thousand ft high), Jaffrey is carved out of a hillside, has a sloped runway and a double change in slope half-way down!

The hangars and parking area are about 30′ below grade, down a long sloping taxiway. But don’t worry, this great little (2982′) runway is challenging but not impossible. Just remember, when approaching R-34, use your best steep approach as you crest the edge of the hill and descend DOWN into what was once a quarry! Then be prepared to round out smartly as the runway will be climbing up to meet you! (Oh, don’t float too long…there is a mid-way flat spot where the ground will drop out JUST as your ground effect quits!)

Once parked (Your hosts, Silver Ranch Airpark Inc., are TERRIFIC!) just follow the little painted footprints down around the hill (yes, that is the departure end of 34 above your left shoulder). About 120 yards away you can’t help but find KIMBALL’S ICE CREAM AND RESTAURANT. Dine in, or dine out among the scores of picnic tables. The food is family fare and good and inexpensive. (I’d say cheap…but we pilots are sensitive about our frugality) But the ICE CREAM! It’s good and there is a lot of it. DO NOT order the Giant Sundae for all your passengers…you may have trouble climbing out of the airport later!

Gas is very reasonable ($2.85 last time…and they pump it for you) and they provide comfy chairs on the lawn to gaze at some gorgeous New England scenery while you wait. C’mon up, it’s a great place. You’ll probably see me there a lot. (Uh, don’t let my wife see this. She thinks I’m on a diet!)

Steve Cote

Sundowner N1958L

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