With dozens of grass strips scattered throughout the Ozarks, Northwest Arkansas is a perfect jumping off point for the world of backcountry aviation.
Backcountry flying offers a unique facet of aviation to explore and opens countless new opportunities for adventure along the airways less traveled.
Summit Aviation has partnered with resorts, outfitters, and property owners across the region to help make your next off-airport flying experience world class. Check out some of our favorite backcountry resources and destinations:
The Airfield Guide was created to provide a repository of out-of-the-way airports and places that pilots may not otherwise know about. Partnering with the Recreational Aviation Foundation, the guide will help you discover new backcountry destinations in your backyard and around the country.
The guide provides a wealth of information for each airstrip including runway lengths, obstacles and terrain, arrival and departure procedures, and even videos to help you safely and confidently operate in and out of new strips.
For any pilot interested in recreational and backcountry flying, the Airfield Guide is an invaluable resource!
Byrd’s is a backcountry pilot’s playground, offering multiple grass strips to suit everyone from novices to old pros. The primary 1900-foot strip can easily accommodate most light airplanes, and the 900-foot strip North of the restaurant offers a challenging approach and landing for higher-performing backcountry aircraft.
Visitors can enjoy a multitude of activities on the Mulberry river and can take part in off road activities on 4x4, motorcycle, and ATV/UTV trails. When you need a break, visit the amazing Riverfront Restaurant open from March through December (and be sure to get some homemade fried pies!).
Here's our Super Legend Cub in action at Byrd’s!
Located just down the road from Ponca International (a fun and challenging grass strip located on top of the hill), Buffalo Outdoor Center offers a wide array of outdoor activities including pet-friendly hiking trails, fishing, mountain biking trails, swimming holes, river floating, and much more!
Unique to BOC are the zipline canopy tours that take you on a 2 hour excursion, gliding through the treetops at nearly 40 miles per hour. If you’re staying overnight, BOC has cabins and lodges available, or you could always camp along the Buffalo River!
Give Ernie a call and let him know you are flying into Trigger Gap. He'll pick you up and show you all of the best fishing spots. A guaranteed fantastic day on the water!
Fishing, canoes, and kayaks are just some of the fun things to do on the Kings River. The remarkably clear water makes it easy to spot aquatic life, and the river banks are home to many other species such as river otters, blue herons, and bald eagles. Spend the night in an air-conditioned cabin with private gravel bar and river access, or rough it in a tent on the gravel bar itself. The choice is yours!
Considered to be one of the best fly-in destinations in this part of the country, the 3,200 foot Bermuda grass airstrip at Gaston’s is open to everyone whether you’re staying overnight at the resort or not. Fly in for breakfast, lunch, or dinner any day of the week, or come Sunday for Gaston’s famous Sunday brunch.
Gaston’s is well-known for their trout fishing and even offers a fly fishing school led by master fly fisherman Frank Saksa. Spend the day of flying and fishing, enjoy a wonderful meal at the resort’s first-class restaurant, then stay overnight in a fully-stocked cottage (with free Wi-Fi!).