Pearson Field Vancouver Reviews
Flying to Pearson Field / Fort Vancouver May 02, 2011
Pearson field and Fort Vancouver has a lot to offer anyone who wants to visit by any method (car, bus, etc) but for a pilot I think it is especially fun due to the huge amount of things to do all within walking distance of a free spot to land and park your plane.
For pilots - getting there: Flying into this airport was one of the weirdest procedure experiences yet. It is technically class E however you have to contact the Portland tower on a special radio frequency before entering and leaving. This is because you are CRAZY close to Portland international’s active runways just on the other side of the river. I still can’t find the procedures documented anywhere but it seems everyone ignores the CTAF. Get clearance and monitor the Portland tower frequency mentioned in the airport remarks the entire time. You will be pretty low – careful not to crash into the tower on the north side of the I5 freeway bridge across the Columbia river. It is inconveniently placed right next to the final for the runway.
What to do:
• Tour the air museum: Sure, the museum has the usual set of air museum pieces… a Stearman, a T-6, etc. More than that, however, Pearson field also has some very unique history dating back to the very earliest years of flight which is very well covered. I’ll try not to give spoilers bit in addition to some nice exhibits on balloons, early aircraft, a record breaking formula one aircraft, and an assortment of other exhibits it also has a variety of educational exhibits too including a real motorized cutaway WWII radial engine, a flight sim lab, etc.
• The nearby Vancouver fort is cheap to enter, has some interesting buildings, and a number of exhibits. Worth walking through (especially the defense tower) but don’t expect to spend the day here, many of the exhibits like the “working” blacksmith shop and kitchen won’t hold your interest more than a few minutes each. Looked, talked to the volunteers, been there, done that, ready to move on.
• On a nice day it is about a 15 or so minute walk across the “land bridge” southwest of the airfield. It provides some nice art, signs about the native cultures, and access to nice restaurants right on the Columbia river across the railroad tracks without the need for a car.
• In one of the old officers buildings at the north end of the park from the fort’s “later years” is a restaurant which is supposed to be nice. Tip: they aren’t open for lunch, only dinner. The staff at the other parts of the park, although very friendly, weren’t real familiar with where to get food.
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