Any advice on Charlotte area GA?

Discussion in 'Cool Places to Fly' started by Aviator305, Jul 7, 2018.

?

Which Charlotte area airport should I choose?

  1. Concorde Regional (JQF)

    3 vote(s)
    42.9%
  2. Monroe-Charlotte Esec (EQY)

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  3. Wilgrove Airpark (8A6)

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  4. Charlotte/Douglas Intl Airport (CLT)

    2 vote(s)
    28.6%
  1. Aviator305

    Aviator305 Pre-Flight

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    I finally got my wife to let me fly us to Charlotte from Miami. Now that she has agreed, I have to make sure I make this a good experience, so I am seeking out options from anyone that’s flown into the area recently to help me figure out where to land and park for a couple of nights. The options as I see it are as follows:

    1) Concorde Regional (JQF): Fuel $5.99. Comments on Airnav talk about all sorts of fees.
    2) Monroe-Charlotte Exec (EQY): Fuel $5.20FS, $4.50 SS. Lackluster reviews about the FBO staff.
    3) Wilgrove (8A6): Fuel $4.60. Parking $5/night. No car rental on site, so I’ll need to Uber out of there, but I don’t necessarily mind that. If anyone is familiar with the area, can you please comment on whether or not I should be concerned about security?
    4) Charlotte/Douglas Intl Airport (CLT): Fuel $6.40, the most expensive of the bunch, but the FBO gets great reviews.

    Right now, I am leaning towards Wilgrove because of the cost, but I wonder if I’ll wish I’d have a car rental and FBO available on site after a 4.5 hour flight.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
     
  2. Twin_Flyer

    Twin_Flyer Cleared for Takeoff

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  3. Cluemeister

    Cluemeister Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    Unless your wife thinks saving 50¢ to a $1.00 a gallon on fuel is the best experience, I would choose the smoothest/easiest experience.

    I don't think in 20+ years of marriage my wife has ever said "Our three day weekend was kind of a mess, but we saved $32."
     
  4. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    coupl'a questions back at ya...……

    what do you fly?
    are you comfortable with short/narrow/poorly marked fields surrounded by trees?
    do you plan to fly at night?
    what specifically are you looking for in the FBO staff? it's rarely been a decision factor for me so just trying to understand.
    what side of town will you be staying at?
    I think you need to decide if you want/need a rental car or not, that will make a difference.

    I trained out of wilgrove, rented from concord, monroe and wilgrove, never flown GA into CLT because I don't see the point. trained out of wilgrove, since owning I keep my plane at concord (hint hint).

    lots of local peeps fly from elsewhere to monroe for fuel. self serve is easy in easy out and the cheaper local option. I'm based at jqf and I do the same. takes me like 9 minutes, takes other, slower planes 11 minutes. this would be a bigger ordeal if you decided to fly into CLT. there are people who have flown GA into CLT and stated it was not a big deal and also spoke highly of the FBO.

    I'm not sure of the transient fees at concord, I'd 'think' it's like 12 bucks/day or so but I can try to find out. also not sure about daily fees at Monroe.
    FBOs...you can typically get a free bottle of water out of JQF or EQY, definitely free coffee at JQF, I think EQY does too, and both have nice pilot lounges and flight planning rooms (computers). the mgr at 8A6 has refused to stock water bottles in the vending machine and the water fountain hasn't worked in like 2 years, maybe more. there is a couch and computer at wilgrove as well, if you can get into the locked building. I have taken a crew car out of JQF before I was based there, never tried at monroe, definitely no crew car at wilgrove.

    with all that said, the grove is the only one of the three (not counting CLT as a GA spot) where there's a picnic table and sometimes you'll find some of the old timers hanging out on the weekends, talking aviation. lots of aviation. it's a truly an old school small strip. if you expect nothing, you'll be happy there. I still swing by to talk to a few of the guys there and chill out at the picnic table and occasionally see a plane fly in. it's also a great spot to practice/test your short field skillz.

    if you are coming in at night, or plan to head out for a night flight one night, I would NOT recommend wilgrove. it's hard to find, hard to see, and hard to land at night if you're not familiar with the layout of the land. it's doable, and for us that have done it a few times it's mostly a non-event but I personally wouldn't recommend it if you're used to well lit fields. also, no approach at wilgrove, with monroe and concord having options.
     
  5. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    btw, I didn't vote in the poll because they are all viable options, really just depends what you're looking for.
     
  6. frfly172

    frfly172 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I have a son in Charlotte he’s new to the area,and about 4 miles from CLT. The controllers are very accommodating and the FBO treats us little guys,like the jets. You just have to be aware of the main push back times. They use three runways at the same time.
     
  7. wrbix

    wrbix Pattern Altitude

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    Would depend where in the Charlotte metro area you’re heading also.
    South side? - consider Rock Hill KUZA.
     
  8. Kelvin

    Kelvin En-Route PoA Supporter

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    The truth is there is not a bad choice. Also someone mentioned UZA.

    I'd pick the closest to my destination. I've been into CLT and JQF repeatedly. I prefer CLT.
     
  9. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

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    I used to live in Charlotte and I personally would fly into JQF due to the location. I just like that area. Got a huge mall close by. Tons of eating places. Right next to Interstate 85. I lived in the University area so close to that.
     
  10. Aviator305

    Aviator305 Pre-Flight

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    Thank you all for the suggestions! If this trip happens, I will post pictures and videos. Thanks again all!
     
  11. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Old dog w/o new tricks
    Any particular reason you are coming to Charlotte? What do you plan on seeing or doing?
     
  12. Aviator305

    Aviator305 Pre-Flight

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    NASCAR race on Sept 30 plus visit a few places we used to frequent when my wife lived there
     
  13. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

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    And to add to my reasons for JQF, it's right around the corner from the raceway also. :)

    You just can't beat the area for convenience.
     
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  14. Aviator305

    Aviator305 Pre-Flight

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    It’s definitely on the top of the list :) We’ll also be heading over to the Dillworth area, downtown, South Park, and the university area. So, we’ll be all over the place, hopefully! We love Charlotte!
     
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  15. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Yep, Charlotte is a great town. I agree that JQF is probably your best choice.
     
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  16. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

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    We lived in the university are which was great. The only reason we moved back to Atlanta in Jan.'14 was my parents got too old to live by themselves. So we sold our house to move in with them and take care of them. Might move back one day. I loved Charlotte.
     
  17. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    it's ok.
     
  18. dell30rb

    dell30rb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    If you love traffic and construction
     
  19. Aviator305

    Aviator305 Pre-Flight

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    I just want to write back to follow up on what I did. Despite the majority support for JQF, I went to CLT because my wife would not agree to a flight than looked like 4:30 plus planned one-way. Four hours was her limit, and she budged and allowed for CLT which was 4:15. So, 4:30 to 4:45 was out of the question.

    The flight up from South Florida was nothing short a dream come true. We cruised at 11,000ft most of the way. We got to fly very close to two F-35’s going opposite direction at our altitude over Georgia. Conditions became IMC as we crossed South Carolina to North Carolina with broken to overcast at about 4,000ft. We did the RASLN arrival (I asked direct to the RASLN intersection instead of going all the way through Florence, SC) and were vectored to the ILS 18L approach thereafter. Going through the clouds in real IMC for the first time felt pro.

    I could not be more satisfied with the service at Wilson’s Air Center. There were no surprise fees. In fact, all but one of the day/night parking fees were waived with a 55gal fuel purchased. So, I needed up paying for fuel and $25 parking total, and my plane was there from Friday to Monday.

    In short, I would not hesitate to fly to CLT in the future. Even my wife, who was skeptical of being in a small plane for four hours, enjoyed the entire trip (she was able to study comfortably with her legs stretched out on the back seats) and was enthusiastic about planning our next adventure.

    Thank you all for the advice! Fly to CLT and Wilson’s if you have a chance.
     
  20. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

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    What plane did you fly?

    And see above. :D
     
  21. RDUPilot

    RDUPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Glad your trip was enjoyable. I too fly in CLT when conducting business in the downtown area. Wilson Air is great and very reasonable. The airport is very easy to get in and out of for GA. 18L/36R is what you will always get. the other alternative for me would be jqf.
     
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