From the category archives:

Wings

Adventures In Aviation: Zeppelin Flights

by Alan Rider
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In a world where many people have come to view flying as an ordeal to be endured, there are still lots of us for whom the act of leaving terra firma behind remains an adventure to be savored. If you’re one of us, you owe it to yourself to book a seat on the first zeppelin to take to the skies above the U.S. in more than 70 years.
The company responsible for the zeppelin’s return to America, Airship Ventures, offers one- and two-hour flight-seeing tours around San Francisco Bay in the 246-foot helium-filled Eureka, as well as occasional cross-country flights as they reposition the zeppelin for tours in [...]

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Air Amour

by Alan Rider

Here’s one of those stories we couldn’t make up.  It seems that Brisbane, Australia-based Erotic Airways is now offering private charter flights to couples (or threesomes, if you’re so inclined) looking to earn their membership in the legendary “Mile-High Club.”
Rather than trying to squeeze yourself and your partner into the cramped lavatory of a commercial airliner in an attempt to, ahem, fly united, the Erotic Airways folks set you up with a double bed covered in satin sheets in the back of a vintage twin-engine Beech H-18S.  Flights last either 40- or 60-minutes and come complete with mood-enhancers including champagne, chocolates and more.
Once you’ve done the deed and are safely [...]

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Giggles Per Greenback

by Alan Rider

Look, I watch the nonstop gloom-and-doom festival they call the nightly news and I know that times are tough all over.  But I also know that, if ever there was a time when we could all use to blow off a little steam and have a few laughs, well, this is it.
Which is why I’ve created  a thoroughly unscientific list of extraordinary experiences that I feel are outstanding values.  We’re talking about maximum yucks for minimum bucks. 
All will set you back less than $500.  Which seems like a small price to pay for an adventure guaranteed to make you forget all those news reports that had you feeling so freaky-freaky in [...]

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Asleep In The Cockpit

by Alan Rider

While I’m not a card-carrying aviation geek like some of my friends, one look at the list of adventures collected on XTRORD.com’s Xperiences page and it’s not hard to tell I’m into pretty much anything that flies.  Which may explain why the new Jumbo Hostel at Stockholm’s Arlanda airport caught my eye.
Built inside the shell of a mid-1970s-vintage Boeing 747-200 that’s been grounded at the airport’s entrance, this budget-priced hostel makes a way-cool alternative to your typically dreary airport hotels.  Inside are two-dozen rooms that range from bunk bed-equipped dormitory-style digs to a “Cockpit Suite” that retains many of the flight deck’s original gauges and controls and offers an impressive [...]

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8 Great (Affordable) Gift Ideas

by Alan Rider

It’s time for XTRORD.com’s first-annual holiday gift guide.  And, if you’re a regular follower of this space, you probably already know how I feel about giving and getting more stuff that, let’s face it, none of us really needs.  But giving someone an extraordinary experience? Ah, well, that’s a different story altogether.
So with a nod to the dark clouds that seem to be hanging over the global economy in general and many folks personal finances in particular right now, I thought I’d focus on extraordinary experiences you can give that will blow the recipient’s socks off without breaking the bank (herein defined as under $200).
In no particular order then, here [...]

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This Zeppelin Really Rocks!

by Alan Rider

Much as I like Led Zeppelin, it’s not the seventies-era heavy metal band I’m referring to here.  No, I’m talking about the real thing, Airship Ventures’ new San Francisco-based Zeppelin NT.
The 246-foot-long airship—which just started offering “flight-seeing” tours of the Bay Area and California wine country this week—was built in Germany (where else?) and is one of only three zeppelins flying worldwide.  Unlike blimps, these zeppelins use a lightweight internal aluminum and carbon-fiber framework to support the three 200-horsepower Lycoming engines and the 35-foot-long 12-passenger gondola.  Lift comes from an envelope filled with enough non-flammable helium to make the entire city of San Francisco talk in a funny cartoon-character voice [...]

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Lindbergh's Legacy

by Alan Rider

“I lose all connection with the past. I live only in the moment in this strange, unmortal space, crowded with beauty, pierced with danger.”

That’s how Charles Lindbergh described his first airplane ride in 1922, just five short years before he made the famous New York-Paris transatlantic crossing that would earn him an enduring place in U.S. history.
Obviously Lucky Lindy experienced something on that first flight—“the freedom of the sky” he called it—that would change the course of his life forever.  Now you can get a firsthand feel for the joy of flight he was describing just down the coast from where the famous aviator died on the Hawaiian island [...]

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