Many travelers don’t give much thought about the airports they patronize, but pilots see airports all across the country and have their favorites. We wondered, how would the pilots of RAI Jets answer us if we asked them about their favorite airports? Here’s what they said.
Airports stand in their communities as important benchmarks for progress and community service as they serve people traveling commercially or chartering a private jet. Airports also facilitate business growth and development by offering companies a way to connect new business opportunities with remote partners and spur the local economy by enabling tourism and providing employment. For some people, airports are the necessary conduit that helps them travel for work or keeps them face-to-face with loved ones living hundreds of miles away.
There are over 19,700 airports in the United States, and 5,170 of them are open to the general public. RAI Jets and other charter flight operations use public airports to service people chartering a private jet. However, of those 5,170 airports, only 503 of them serve commercial flights. This means chartering a private jet can take you to more airports. And in many cases, the smaller airports are the closest, most convenient airport to your destination and a welcome alternative to a commercial airport located on the other side of the state.
Pilots can be considered the connoisseurs of airports, with a unique perspective on their attributes. Pilots see airports from a bird’s-eye view but also up close and personal as they use the airport’s services for maintenance, refueling, and more. For fun, we asked some of the pilots at RAI Jets to comment on their favorite airports and what they find appealing about them. Here’s what they said.
CPT. KEVIN DINGMAN
MACKINAC ISLAND AIRPORT (MCD)
MACKINAC ISLAND, MICHIGAN
I have been to hundreds of airports, large and small, but Mackinac Island Airport (MCD) –pronounced “mack-in-awe” airport– is different. Arriving there is like stepping back in time to a place before cars, where the only way to get around is by foot, bike, or horse and buggy. The airport offers no fuel, limited internet and cell service, and is sparsely attended, but perhaps these are the very things that make me enjoy it.
In the 70’s, I flew a Cherokee 235, and I illegally camped at the airport with my high school friends. These days, I try to fly in annually and enjoy the golf and dining on the island. I also appreciate getting away from modern transportation and technology, and I especially enjoy the sounds and smells of the horses used in all modes of transportation. The golf courses on the island are two of my favorites. Whenever I serve the clients chartering a private jet, I feel relaxed, grateful and often inspired that Michigan is my home state.
CPT. LUCAS “SPAZ” FREUDENBURG
ELIZABETHTOWN REGIONAL AIRPORT-ADDINGTON FIELD (EKX)
I vote Elizabethtown, Kentucky (EKX) one of my favorite airports because of its customer service and line crews. They make you feel right at home. Their maintenance guys are pros and did a great job installing my ADS-B flight tracker. The staff is friendly, proud of what they do, and quick with a recommendation for things to do or places to dine in the area.
People chartering a private jet pass through EKX for both business and pleasure trips. The town is sometimes known as “hub city” because its proximity to major highways and the Bluegrass Parkway. It’s amazing that Elizabethtown is within a day’s drive of nearly two-thirds of the nation’s population!
CPT. KEN RICHCREEK KALAMAZOO/BATTLE CREEK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN
Every airport offers a unique set of challenges, and you feel good when you’ve addressed those challenges and the passenger is happily on their way. My favorite memories are of small, uncharted grass strips only accessible by smaller aircraft. Those require good old grassroots, seat-of-the pants flying.
When it comes to flying the jet, I’d say our home base in Kalamazoo, the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport is my favorite. When I have passengers chartering a private jet, it feels good to arrive safely home at AZO.
Whether your favorite airport is, remember that RAI Jets can depart or arrive there on your schedule when you are chartering a private jet. If we can help you plan your next trip, give us a call at 800-247-2834.