1 Day Visits: Holland, Michigan (KHLM)

One-day-visits are one of the best things about summer flying. Dragging out the charts, getting on SkyVector and checking the “calculate distance” on AirNav are all part of pilot summer routines. “How far can I fly today?” quickly followed by “Where am I going?” are the eternal questions. I use a variety of methods to pick my destinations; TAFs, friend recommendations, Facebook friends  (even real friends) and throwing darts at a map have all played a part in where I end up. For me, gazing at a sectional chart and seeing names of towns like Saugatuck, South Haven, and Montague are all it takes to get me totally excited and send me somewhere new!

I understand not everybody flies to go places. In fact, many of the pilots I know never, ever, fly more than 50 miles away from home. I don’t get it and I think it’s a waste of a good airplane but we each make our own decisions. Many of us have amazing machines that will take us anywhere we point the nose and personally, I think we should all point the nose away from home a lot more often. Do not be intimidated to fly cross-country – it’s just a series of hops separated by fuel stops as necessary. It takes a little planning, a little common sense, some navigation skills and an awareness of the weather to fly cross-country – all skills we equip every student pilot to master.

Here’s my suggestion for a day trip or scenic stop as you’re traveling cross-country. KHLM Park Township Airport, Holland, Michigan. Notice KHLM is the smaller satellite airport just nw of Holland’s larger airport, KBIV. If you go, do not cheat and land on the longer runways at West Michigan Regional Airport. You’ll want to be closer to where the sites are and the benefits the awesome airport of KHLM offer.

Holland, Michigan

Holland, Michigan is a great one-day-visit

Park Township Airport

Park Township Airport has a 5/23, 2999′ hardsurface runway that’s 50′ wide. This field is surrounded by trees and any approach requires you stay high to clear them. Grass runway is 12/30, 2245′ long.

Holland MI courtesy car

Call ahead if possible to make arrangements to borrow their courtesy car, or if you’re lucky like me, land and take your chances. It worked out beautifully. They even have a free admission card in the vehicle that will get you into Holland State Park and the beach area.

Or better yet, borrow a bike. This lovely airport has two sets of very nice bikes just waiting for pilots to fly in and borrow - at no charge. The Saturday I was there no one was using them.

Or better yet, borrow a bike. This lovely airport has two sets of very nice bikes just waiting for pilots to fly in and borrow – at no charge. The Saturday I was there no one was using them. It’s a short ride down Ottawa Beach Road, past the Yacht Club to the beach at Holland State Park.

Awe shucks, now isn't this the best little bathroom curtain you've ever seen?!

Awe shucks, now isn’t this the best little bathroom curtain you’ve ever seen?!

And it's even better outside on the deck of the FBO facing the runways.

And it’s even better outside on the deck of the FBO facing the runways. Ahhh, I could just sit here for hours if Lake Michigan wasn’t beyond the trees and calling my name. 🙂

OMG, the painted on hangar windows are awesome.

OMG, the painted Cub and Tri-motor windows painted on the hangar are awesome.

Lighthouse

“Big Red Lighthouse”, Holland, MI

Holland State Park is a really a tiny spit of beach front property right where everyone wants to be, the beach at Holland, Michigan. There's plenty of room to spread your towel and dip your toes ..... or more, into Lake Michigan.

Holland State Park is a really a tiny spit of beach front property right where everyone wants to be, the beach at Holland, Michigan. There’s plenty of room to spread your towel and dip your toes ….. or more, into Lake Michigan.

Of course, there's more to Holland, MI than the airport and the beach. Grab lunch at a number of local restaurants or come when things are in full swing, during the annual Tulip Festival. Mark your calendar for May 7 - 14, 2016 if you want to see Holland in full bloom! Photo courtesy of Discover Holland

Of course, there’s more to Holland, MI than the airport and the beach. Grab lunch at a number of local restaurants or come when things are in full swing, during the annual Tulip Festival. Photo courtesy of Discover Holland.

Mark your calendar for May 7 - 14, 2016 if you want to see Holland in full bloom! Photo courtesy of Discover Holland

Mark your calendar for May 7 – 14, 2016 if you want to see Holland in full bloom!

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