Saturday, September 05, 2009

Mackinac Island Airport

This is a regular blog post. If you’re looking for show notes or links to show audio, please check out the other posts.

I spent Friday on Mackinac (pronounced MAH-kih-naw) island with Mary, Cole, and Ella. They’re staying in Traverse City for the summer and I drove up to see them Thursday night. Mackinaw City is about two hours from Traverse and we boarded the ferry for the Island at about 11:00.

After heading around the perimeter of the island, on bikes (motor vehicles are prohibited on the island - there’s an ambulance and a fire truck and that’s it), I headed into the interior to have a look at the airport.

Mackinac Island Airport (KMCD) is operated by the Michigan state parks system. It has a single strip of pavement (Runway 8/26; 3,500 x 75 in good condition) and, from the looks of the ramp, it can handle anything from piston singles to bizjets.

There’s no fuel on the island (you can get it at Pellston, a quick hop away), but just about anything else you might want.

The terminal building is well-appointed with waiting area, weather, and restrooms. A park ranger attends the airport during business hours and travelers gain access to the terminal building at other hours using the MDOT codes for the doors.

The big difference is when you get to the taxi stand. It is, of course, horse-drawn. You load up everything on the back, climb on, and take a 30 to 40-minute ride down to town on the south side of the island. The airport is a good 400 feet above town, so it’s a real pedal to get there on a bike (as I did), but a pleasant coast back down from the airport.

If you go, be sure to read up in advance on procedures. There’s an active noise abatement program. I always see a fair amount of GA activity around the coast on the south side of the island, so it makes me wonder how strictly they enforce the procedures, but do your part and play by the rules.


Trevor said...

heard this was a great place to go from someone else too. It's on my list.

Liz said...

I live on the island year-round and that little airport is our life line from early January until April - while the boats aren't running. We are so thankful to have it!

thelaker said...

As a pilot living in Michigan, I've been meaning to make a flight up to Mackinac for a while. It was featured in the latest AOPA Flight Training magazine as the top island destination. One important thing you forgot to mention is that the airport does charge a landing fee.

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