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Six Islands in a Single-Engine, Part 3: Where the 'South Pacific' Sky Meets the Sea

Where: Vanuatu
September 24, 2014 at 3:52 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's the stuff of headlines, when a pilot ventures away from familiar runways to embark on an epic aviation adventure in a single-engine aircraft, and it's exactly what Jaunted contributor Joe Corrigan is doing. Follow along over the next several days, as Joe shares trials, triumphs, and terrific images from flying to remote corners of the South Pacific.

Island Hopping in a Single-Engine, The Series:

1. Flight Planning
2. The Point of No Return
3. On Island Time
4. Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

After arriving late at night into Noumea, New Caledonia following several days of flying, it was time to rest. The setting for this respite would be Ille Des Pins, a coral cay about 80 miles to the southeast of Noumea. As idyllic as it sounds, we had quite a large challenge to overcome when it came to actually flying there, one we had not imagined we would encounter and for which we had not prepared.

You see, the air traffic tower there speaks only French—view the landing plate to see what we mean. Luckily enough, I was able to scrape enough schoolboy-level French from the back of my mind (combined with some words remembered from cabin announcements on Air France, like piste equating to "runway").

By no means was our conversation with ATC smooth, but we were able to communicate well enough, whilst understanding both the tower and other aircraft on frequency. After the stress of getting the plane on the ground, we couldn't have appreciated the calm paradise of Ille des Pins more.

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Photos: Checking Out the Third and Final Section of NYC's High Line Park

September 24, 2014 at 11:32 AM | by | Comments (0)

Officially called the High Line at the Rail Yards, this third and final section of the monumentally popular elevated park on Manhattan's west side opened to the public last Sunday, September 21st. Picking up from where Phase Two (opened in 2011) ended at 30th St., this newest portion snakes around the rail yard towards the Hudson River, before descending to a wheelchair-friendly entrance at street level on 34th St.

Visible from certain parts is the West 30th Street Heliport, which makes it a wonderful spot to camp out and watch the tourist and corporate helicopters take off and land.

A notable addition to this section would be the children’s play area called Pershing Square Beams, constructed around existing beams then covered in soft rubber. Kids can climb through openings and even pop their heads up in the garden via a short tunnel.

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Inside the New Oneworld International Business Lounge at LAX

September 23, 2014 at 9:09 AM | by | Comments (0)

Freshly opened back in June, the new International Business Lounge within the Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT) at Los Angeles International Airport is the result of a combined effort from Oneworld alliance partners Qantas, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific. Located on level 5, it can accommodate up to 400 people and is open from 6 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Earlier this month, we swung through to take a look around during an 8-hour layover from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.

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Flight Review: WOW Air to Iceland for Under $150

September 18, 2014 at 4:51 PM | by | Comment (1)

This may sound weird, but our New Year’s resolution for 2014 was to fly WOW Air, a low-cost airline based in Iceland. Its awesome name aside, WOW intrigued us for its fleet of pink A320s, humor on Twitter, and promise of cheap flights to the notoriously expensive Reykjavik.

To complete that resolution, we booked Flight WW 201, departing Reykjavik-Keflavik at 6.45am and arriving London-Gatwick at 10.50am. That early flight and mid-morning arrival into Gatwick was ideal to then catch the train into town in time for lunch with a friend, followed by an afternoon nap—the best way to ease back into London.

So here’s how it went...

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It's Easy to See Why the Larapinta Trail is One of Australia's Top Treks

September 16, 2014 at 1:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

Last week, we went on a six-day excursion and hiked several sections of the Larapinta Trail, a walk that runs 139 miles through the Northern Territory of Australia. In the past few years, it has become known as one of the country's top treks due to its beautiful desert landscape and challenging rocky terrain. It starts in Alice Springs, is broken down into 12 sections, and is meant to take the average hiker 10-14 days to complete.

We did just over 60 miles of it over the course of the week, walking between 8 and 12 miles each day. It was an ideal time to tackle it, with the weather transitioning from winter to spring in the desert. Clear nights and moderate temperatures allowed us to sleep outside our tents under the stars, and it was hard to find a cloud in the sky on most days.

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Photos: Biking One of America's Highest Roads, Outside of Denver

Where: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado , United States
September 11, 2014 at 10:33 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last year, we gave you the rundown about how you can drive Trail Ridge Road, America's "highest elevated continuously paved road," located outside of Denver. A few weeks ago, this travel writer decided to bike it, all 48 miles from Estes Park to Grand Lake through Rocky Mountain National Park. Eleven miles of it are above treeline, topping out at 12,183 feet.

Obviously, it was quite the physical challenge, but it also brought about spectacular scenery (and a very large post-ride beer), which we share with you below. Does it entice you to give it a go? There's still a few more months until the snow falls and the road closes if you're feeling motivated.

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Inside the Greatest Aviation Museum You've Never Heard Of: Brazil's Museu TAM

September 5, 2014 at 10:22 AM | by | Comments (0)

Every aviation museum worth its salt these days can boast of classic warplanes, military fighter jets here and there, and perhaps a pre-jet-age Lockheed Constellation, but few go the extra mile to secure and preserve the rarest, most historic, and, in some cases, most expensive airplanes nearly lost to history as does the Museu TAM.

The museum is the baby of TAM Airlines and is now the largest museum in the world maintained by an airline. Unfortunately it isn't the easiest daytrip destination; the Museu sits in a spacious pair of hangars just outside the town of São Carlos, an hour's drive from the city of Ribeirão Preto (location of the nearest commercial airport), which is itself an hour's flight (or 3-hour drive) from São Paulo. You'd never expect to find one of the world's most important aviation museums way out here, in this part of rural Brazil better known for sugarcane plantations, but here it is.

The museum opened to the public in 2006 with only around 32 aircraft, but they've been quite busy since and the collection now numbers 89 vintage and rare flying machines (49 of which are incredibly still in flying condition).

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Six Islands in a Single-Engine, Part 2: Past the Point of No Return

September 2, 2014 at 2:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's the stuff of headlines, when a pilot ventures away from familiar runways to embark on an epic aviation adventure in a single-engine aircraft, and it's exactly what Jaunted contributor Joe Corrigan is doing. Follow along over the next several days, as Joe shares trials, triumphs, and terrific images from flying to remote corners of the South Pacific.

Island Hopping in a Single-Engine, The Series:

1. Flight Planning
2. The Point of No Return
3. On Island Time
4. Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

It's not very often a private pilot leaves an entire continent behind for open skies but, on our first day on this Pacific trip, that's exactly what we did. The mainland of Australia slowly slipped off the back of our map, and we had our first taste of the adventure of isolation.

Lord Howe Island would be the next stop. This piece of Oz is a small volcanic remnant about 600 KM to the east of Port Macquarie, Australia. There are only 347 permanent residents on the island and tourist numbers are capped at 400 at any given time. Our initial plan was to transit through Lord Howe and continue onto Norfolk Island the same day after a quick refueling.

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Six Islands in a Single-Engine, Part 1: Planning to Fly the South Pacific

Where: Australia
August 27, 2014 at 12:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

It's the stuff of headlines, when a pilot ventures away from familiar runways to embark on an epic aviation adventure in a single-engine aircraft, and it's exactly what Jaunted contributor Joe Corrigan is doing. Follow along over the next several days, as Joe shares trials, triumphs, and terrific images from flying to remote corners of the South Pacific.

Island Hopping in a Single-Engine, The Series:

1. Flight Planning
2. The Point of No Return
3. On Island Time
4. Home Again, Jiggety-Jig

It is often a dream of private aviators to not only slip the surly bonds of gravity, but also those of their home country and try flying abroad. As my good friend/flight instructor Nick Pech and I readied my Cirrus SR20 for what we simply dubbed "The Pacific Trip," the complex preparations smoothed the way for what would be pure bliss, under our own power over the clouds.

Passports? Affirm. Over two weeks, our routing would take us from Bankstown Airport in Sydney, to Australia's Gold Coast, and then out over open water over to Lord Howe Island, continuing on to Norfolk Island, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and then back to Australia, entering at Cairns.

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A Journey to One of South America's Best Apres Ski Spots in Portillo

Where: Portillo, Chile
August 22, 2014 at 11:35 AM | by | Comments (0)

Starting at the edge of the Laguna Del Inca, skiers take the El Plateau chair lift up to Portillo's on-mountain restaurant, Tio Bob's. As you'll see in the photo essay below, it's one of the most scenic lunch and apres ski spots in South America, if not the world, thanks to its location amongst the jagged peaks. Next week, we'll break down Portillo and how the ski area compares to the nearby competition. For now, enjoy the dramatic views of the Andes Mountains:

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A Peek at Hogsmeade Within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Four Years Later

August 13, 2014 at 4:02 PM | by | Comments (0)

Magic is seriously in the air this summer, and we've been in Orlando for the first days of the newest addition to Universal Orlando: Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The original Hogsmeade park is still very much open, and very popular. Just how popular? Let's take a look.

According to an NPR report and Universal's numbers, "park profits have more than doubled and attendance has increased more than 30 percent" since the 2010 debut of Hogsmeade.

Now that Diagon Alley has debuted and is actively connecting the two parks via the Hogwarts Express train and asking $136 per adult for the privilege of visiting both halves, we're looking to see how the original has fared over four years.

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Inside the Air Canada Maple Leaf International Lounge at Toronto's Pearson Airport

Where: Toronto, Canada
August 12, 2014 at 3:25 PM | by | Comments (0)

As a major Air Canada hub, Toronto-Pearson International Airport (YYZ) is well outfitted with lounges for the airline's premium travelers. Aside from a Maple Leaf lounge for domestic Canadian flights and another dedicated to Transborder (Canada-USA) travel, YYZ boasts a spacious International Maple Leaf Lounge located in Terminal 1, Concourse F.

Elite Air Canada flyers and those holding Business Class tickets are privy to the free WiFi, modern and comfortable seating, complimentary hot food, snacks, beverages, and alcohol (including all the ingredients for a great Bloody Mary), plus private shower rooms.

Since Air Canada is proud of their status as one of the founding members of the Star Alliance, you can also bet that elite travelers on other Star Alliance international flights (and holders of Star Alliance Gold status) will be welcomed into the classy digs.

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