Kill Devil Hills (FFA) Trip Suggestions

Mooney Fan

Line Up and Wait
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Mooney Fan
I'm not getting any younger and if I don't make the trip soon it may never happen

So looking at making the journey within the next couple weeks before things get much cooler.

I would like to hear some of your experiences like where did you stay? I see there are plenty of hotels close to FFA. Seems I recall reading of a 24 hour parking limitation at FFA but that's all I need. But parking they say is not abundant so arrive early? Or did anyone stay close by and fly in for the day? Plenty of choices just a short flight away.

What other 'must see' places should I make sure to see while there?

Thanks for any suggestions.
 
FFA is definitely a cool place to fly to, the view of the ocean is priceless. The ramp has about 10 parking spots that could fit the standard sized Piper/Cessna singles that are correctly parked. There is also a very nice pilot facility about 20 feet away from the ramp with clean restrooms and a flight planning room. You could almost walk to the restaurants/hotels nearby but a ride could come pick you up next to the ramp if you have bags to haul. That’s our bird parked on the ramp with the first flight memorial in the backgroun.
I really liked the wild horse tour at Corolla, which is maybe 5-10 minutes from FFA. They take you on the sand dunes in Jeeps to see the horses that roam free on the outer banks.
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I've been there several times, via automobile (I used to vaca in the Outer Banks).
Not much parking, though I never saw more than one or two when I was there, always in November.
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FFA is definitely a cool place to fly to, the view of the ocean is priceless. The ramp has about 10 parking spots that could fit the standard sized Piper/Cessna singles that are correctly parked. There is also a very nice pilot facility about 20 feet away from the ramp with clean restrooms and a flight planning room. You could almost walk to the restaurants/hotels nearby but a ride could come pick you up next to the ramp if you have bags to haul. That’s our bird parked on the ramp with the first flight memorial in the backgroun.
I really liked the wild horse tour at Corolla, which is maybe 5-10 minutes from FFA. They take you on the sand dunes in Jeeps to see the horses that roam free on the outer banks.
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I've been there several times, via automobile (I used to vaca in the Outer Banks).
Not much parking, though I never saw more than one or two when I was there, always in November.
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Thanks! I think I'll take my chances and book one of the rooms close by and hope I can get a parking spot.
 
We visited (driving our RV, not flying in) a few years ago and stayed at the nearby campground. The neat part was that the monument and museum were officially closed due to the government shutdown. I didn't really care about the museum, I just wanted to walk the grounds. The gates at the public parking area were chained shut, but we drove around the back to the airport parking, which was not blocked, and had the entire place to ourselves... including the "not open to the public" restrooms in the locked pilot lounge ("squawk VFR to enter", my wife was most impressed). This was a day or two after Christmas, there were a couple of planes there.
 
December won't be a popular time to go. It can be cold. Bundle up. If you're walking to the hotel, ask about your ability to walk through the memorial from the front gate, otherwise plan to walk around it.

If you want to see everything, I'd allocate at least 4 hours to the memorial. It will take time just to walk it. One point I don't know is whether or not you need a ticket to get into the visitor's center. The last time I went by car was 20 years ago and then they charged the ticket when you drove in. I've flown in 3 times in the past 5 years and there wasn't anyone charging admission at the back gate.

Flight wise, a few callouts - note a right hand pattern for 21, don't overfly the memorial. The frequency is 122.9, not .8 as my bad eyes saw. If there's any wind, expect it to get squirrely on short final, the trees and the dune can do funny things. Expect wind, the consistent winter winds is why the Wright brothers choose this location.

It will be more crowded on Sunday Dec 17th, a free access day to celebrate the anniversary of the first flight. Gold Star families and veterans with an id or stamp on your state DL get free admission any day, that's at all NPS parks.

If you want a nice add on and the time allows, fly the coastline down to Ocracoke, have lunch and fly back. Monitor "beach traffic" on 122.9 and self announce at significant landmarks.
 
KFFA is a nice spot, did not see much in walking distance. W95 another good spot, easy to walk the beach. Easy to walk to Howards Pub for lunch, others said they used to come and get you.

I know a good Airbnb a bit inland from those airports...
 
I did my long solo XC as a student pilot from chapel hill, (historic Horace-Williams, closed by the newcomers who moved near an airport…) to FFA, and down the outer banks.
I don’t think the NPS enforces the 24hr parking rule.
There’s an enterprise car rentalnearby. Long walk, they may arrange to deliver

Fly the outer banks. Good NPS strips in hatteras and ocracoke. Lighthouses (cape hatteras light is tallest on east coast)
If you like shipwrecks, google. Numerous ones visible at different times- you’re going to the “graveyard of the Atlantic”

This is nearby, if that’s your jam

https://www.fossilguy.com/sites/l_creek/index.htm Sharks teeth in Aurora-

North end of cape lookout NS- core banks is also worth an overflight. Townsite of Portsmouth was abandoned in 1971. You can still see the unpaved airstrip which was there.
 
Ahh the pilgrimage, as I call it. All pilots should go. We stay at the Quality Inn right near the airport (but on the beach). Sometimes Quality Inns can lack, um, quality, but not this one. It's nice and we really like it. There are several signs up at the airport ramp that say plane parking is only allowed for 24 hours, but I'm not sure how it is enforced....seems like right now (or other times during the off season) no one would care, and if I was the only plane there, I might try pushing it for 2 or 3 days...just sayin'.
 
Flying into FFA is a bucket list item for me.
Someday hope to.
Been there twice with a durango, towed there behind our RV so we could drive on the beaches. Got stuck in the sand and I will save that for another time.
We walked all around and inside the museum. Liked it.
It was windy the day we were there. It was early in my flying days so I would have been intimidated flying in that day.
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We have visited both times in April before the season get's started. We like missing the crowds.
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I didn't notice it mentioned but Kitty Hawk kites is worth a visit. They have tons of fun kites and aviation related merchandise to gawk at.

If you're into monster trucks gravedigger is about a 25 mile drive.
 
Did anyone else get a little teary-eyed at the memorial? Asking for a friend ...
 
windy, yes....
I've posted this before but it's one of my flying highlight memories so I'll post it again....

probably my shortest landing ever, a stiff wind right down the runway, me in a Cessna 150 N3424V, April 17, 1992
nothing all that monumental I suppose but it was to me, given the location
touchdown and stopped in a short distance. I wrote "about 90ft" in my logbook...my memory is too fuzzy to know where I touched down and stopped but measuring on google map today, it was certainly no more than 200ft
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Landing on rwy 3 is perfectly set up for 140's 150's. A few years ago 4 of us flew down for the day in 140's and my 150. Land and turn right into the ramp. Neat place to visit but not walking friendly if you want to explore past the monument. Highway 158 is extremely busy during the warm months and hard to cross on foot without getting run over. I walked to Goombays Grille once but that was a bit much unless it's not too hot or too cold. Uber's will pick you up at the parking lot behind the ramp. Jockey's Ridge is a neat place to check out while you are there.
 
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