1:30 PM

The fish will taste better.

There you are, sitting at the edge of a pristine Idaho mountain lake so clear you can count the Rainbow Trout as they fight for your bait.

Nearby at your camp, a cauldron of steaming hot coffee percolates on a campfire and overhead, a pair of Bald Eagles soar easily in the cool breezes that dance among the treetops.

This is living, baby – the outdoors, world-class peace and quiet, and no road in or out. There's only one way to get here, and it sits just past your tent over in the meadow. Looking strong and able, waiting like man's best friend to again carry you skyward when it is unfortunately time to leave this blissful place and re-enter the real world is one of Aviat's new Husky A1-B-200s.

The last issue of AOPA Pilot ran a very good article on the recently upgraded Husky, and it again sparked my fires to think about how wonderful backcountry flying must be. I have never had the chance to drop out of the clouds into a small, bumpy grass strip wedged into a tight mountain valley far away from civilization, but with the new Husky, the excursion seems like heaven.

I have always been a Husky fan. Something about them that just grabs an aviator's heart and refuses to let go. Maybe it's the tundra tires, or that big friendly dog's face staring back at you from the vertical stabilizer. Or maybe it's the reputation this particular family of airplanes has for dependable operations into some of the worst places you'd ever want to try and fly into.

Aviat has powered up the latest Husky to 200 horsepower, and the result is performance even more unbelievable than before:

Takeoff distance (ground roll) – 265 ft
Rate of climb (sea level) – 1,700 fpm
Max level speed (sea level) – 126 kt
Service ceiling – 20,000 ft
Landing distance (ground roll) – 398 ft
VSO (stall, in landing configuration) – 46 KIAS
So let's put these numbers in perspective, shall we? You place the Husky on the goal line at any major football stadium that does not have a roof. You apply a notch of flaps, stand on the brakes and firewall the throttle. When all 200 ponies are powered up, you release the brakes, add just a touch forward stick, and when the cheerleaders standing at the 50 yard line go blasting by your wingtip, you grab that stick and yank it into your lap. At about the 12 yard line, those big tundra tires leap off the grass, and you kick just a hair right rudder to avoid the goal posts. With your 1,700 fpm climb rate, you blast off up over the end zone seats and depart the stadium, smiling, no doubt.

Try that in just about anything else and you'll plant your prop on the face of that crazy clown down there in the cheap seats holding the John 3:16 sign. What's with that dude anyway, can't he just get a life?

Yes, someday, I must get checked out in backcountry flying. I must add that to my growing list of aviation milestones this pilot must pass before the day comes when my flying will be only done at the airport coffee shop. Fresh trout, clean water, a crystal clear blue sky, hot coffee and your Husky waiting nearby. Could it possible get any better than that?

Not a chance.

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