Some clear air and a flight over the Rim Country can reveal breath-taking vistas of cliffs, canyons, creeks, meadows and forests.
"I want to be a good air ambassador," said Bob Oswald, scenic tour pilot and owner of CAVU Aviation.
From one of the three passenger seats of his Cessna 182 aircraft Oswald gives his passengers a bird's-eye view of the impressive majesty of the Mogollon Rim country.
See the life-giving waters of the East Verde River meander west through the canyons and the Fossil Creek hiking wilderness, toward the Verde Valley or how the western view of the Tonto Natural Bridge makes it look more like a cave.
Oswald takes his passengers close enough to see the waterfall that created the 183 foot tall bridge.
"The most popular flight is Northern Neighbors," said Oswald. "The 30-minute flight over the Natural Bridge up to Pine and Strawberry, to Fossil Creek and along the Mogollon Rim to Milk Ranch Point and back costs $45 per person."
Sunset excursions are available, but Oswald said he usually flies passengers in the morning when the wind, that makes Payson's air so clean, is less prevalent, thus making for a smoother flight.
The flight plan for a beautiful 60-minute flight Oswald calls the "Rim Country Experience" takes passengers north, then east across the top of the Rim to the Rim Lakes area and back. The cost is $90 per person.
CAVU stands for "ceiling absolute, visibility unlimited." They also do charter flights.
The company may be reached at http://www.cavuaviation.homestead.com/ or (928) 468-8888.
For information about use of the airport, call Manager Ted Anderson at (928) 472-4748.
And if hangar flying is more to your taste, you can watch planes come in and take off against a picturesque backdrop, while sitting in the Crosswinds Restaurant at the Payson Municipal Airport.
One of the most interesting landside viewing experiences is watching the flying equipment used to fight forest fires.
We all hope there will not be a need for it this year, but in the event it is necessary, watching the assorted helicopters and planes come into and leave the airport is quite a sight.
Personnel and equipment started staging at the Payson Municipal Airport as early as February this year. Fortunately, a late, heavy snow put their work on hold a couple of weeks. By early May the crews, equipment and support materials had created a new Payson "subdivision" east of the Crosswinds.
The airport is providing space for both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters of various sizes, and room for water tanks, vehicles and mobile office/storage units.