Aero-Trek: Low, Slow, And Far, For Fun

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Aero-trekking is the term coined by sport fliers who enjoy long-distance, low-level, open-air flying (although some say they "don't hold with this high-sounding, techno-babble, aero-trekking moniker," but prefer to use the term "kite-plane airtrekking"). The treks follow designated routes, ranked from 1 to 5 in difficulty, that extend for 50 miles or more across sparsely populated regions of the western U.S. The Yellow Birds (flying club), for example, have established an impressive 500-mile circuit across Arizona and New Mexico with seven fixed airstrip sites, each with a fuel farm and overnight accommodations, to free the trekkers from the "limitations and annoyance" of depending on ground-support vehicles. Last week, the Southwest Aerotrekking Academy said it will soon open 11 new sites across four states, with runways, hangars and accommodations, and miles of low-level routes in between. The scenery sounds impressive. "Pilots and passengers can navigate through remarkably rugged and verdant canyons, skim across dry lake beds in ground effect or run the ridge lines between seas of sage brush and forests of pinion pine," according to the company's news release.