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Flying to Brunswick Golden Isles (BQK)
Hello, I am a fairly low time non-instrument rated pilot (about 100 hrs now) knocking off the rust from a many year hiatus. I flew about 15 hrs last year some of which was with a CFI. I am really wanting to get back in the groove this year  and fly to new places with my wife.

I was thinking about flying to Brunswick airport which would be about 150 nm flight for me.  Airnav shows the airport to be fairly busy, uncontrolled and has large jet traffic as well. This makes me a little nervous. 

Can anyone who has flown there offer any advice as to what to expect? 
9 Replies
Ronald Levy
1230 Posts
Unless you have some particular reason to fly into BQK, you might consider St Simons Island (SSI) instead.  Not much to do around BQK, but there are quite a few really nice places to eat within a 10 minute walk from SSI (less you get one of their courtesy cars), and you can grab some boiled peanuts at the Farmer's Market next to the airport.  No "big jets", either, beyond bizjet traffic, although there can be a lot of that -- very popular golf resort for the corporate types.  Golden Isles Aviation is one of the friendliest, most welcoming FBO's around.
I'm based at SSI & also on the airport commission for both SSI & BQK.
As a rusty pilot, I assume you would like a less stressful environment for pattern work & I believe BQK would be better for you.
There's a great FBO at BQK, Manning Aviation, that will probably have a courtesy car for you to grab lunch if you are staying or need gas.
SSI is by far, the busier airport with lots of corporate and fractional jets & student activity.
BQK has Delta regional jet service with 3 flights per day.  But the traffic volume is lighter and easier to navigate since they have only one 8,000' runway (no conflicting traffic patterns) and is well controlled by Jax Center (radio transmitter is at BQK). 
SSI by contrast has two intersecting runways and it is frequent that we have multiple training aircraft from CRG and DAB practicing touch & goes on the short runway while the larger aircraft and corporate jets use the longer crossing runway.  I've been #4 in a hold to get into SSI; never happened at BQK.
Most of us based here fly practice approaches at BQK rather than SSI due to the high traffic volume at SSI.
Once you get current and comfortable flying again, by all means come into SSI.  Golden Isles FBO is also a great FBO & there are a number of restaurants within walking distance & we have people flying in to stay overnight at the beach.
Happy to talk with you more if you have any further questions.
I am with you on St. Simons Island option.  My wife and I flew there a couple years ago and spent the night.  We are in our 60's but bike and walk all the time.  So we decided to just walk in from the airport and while a little bit of a hike it certainly was comfortable.  We did the town that evening and really enjoyed the food and shops.  We walked back to the airport the next day but not directly to fly out.  At that point we borrowed the courtesy car for a couple hours and drove all over the rest of the island.  Just a great place.  And we will definitely go back.  
Hi there Robert..

It's been a while since I've flown into BQK..but when I flew for a small 135 company in the early 2000's, I went into BQK 3 times a week for 2 1/2 years.  Yes..the runway is 8000x200 feet, (an old Naval air station, I believe) the approaches are VERY forgiving.  However, as I recall, there were pretty strong crosswinds more often than (k)not.  Hence, the 200 foot width.  That helped.  The FBO was always helpful with giving up to the second "preferred runway" information on the CTAF.  They had a huge wind direction and speed instrument on the wall to the side of the CSR.  And, yes, they had a crew car or two for pilots. 

One thing I LOVED about BQK is that Gulfstream had (has) it's paint shop at BQK.  They would assemble the G's over at SAV...then fly them over to BQK assembly line green to be painted at BQK in whatever color scheme the customer desired.  As far as I'm concerned, there is nothing more beautiful than being in the pattern with the then G3's and 4's floating at pattern speed.   May have even been a G5 or two.  Don't know, that may have been too early.  There is more to do at closer to SSI..but I LOVED fliying into BQK looking at the ocean just beyond the runway.

Fly safe.
John Kramer
Go to St. Simons Island-SSI instead of BQK.  Much more interesting.  Also our family used to own Little St. Simons Island. If you want to visit a paradise spend a couple of days there.  Phone them at 912-638-7472 or a number on their website.  If you get to know the place perhaps they’ll fix up the old landing strip or use the beach at low tide for a landing strip. I kept a T-206 there for years!  Good luck.
Phil Berolzheimer
Having been to both airports numerous times, I agree with what Ronald Levy said. Also, SSI has a hotel right at the FBO in case weather forces you to stay overnight. (Although BQK has several nearby hotels too)