Backcountry Events MarkSpencer

By Mark Spencer 

Spring has brought some pretty good flying weather for us this year, and with it some great backcountry flying and events. This weekend’s fly in camp at Pleasant Valley (24AZ) just north of the beautiful and historic community of Young, went off without a hitch. Just after the first two aircraft arrivals, a light rain fell on the area, helping to keep dust down for the entire weekend. Our friends from Young, Chuck Freegard and Barry Dille, provided their usual friendly smiles along with Barry’s port-a-john. Chuck once again graciously left his extended cab pickup for us to use, allowing us to visit the incredible Antler’s Restaurant twice this weekend, where our appetites were easily quenched by Scott’s incredible cooking.  

BackcountryUpdates 2016April 1

We had a small group staying over both nights, and our big Saturday lunch was all you could eat sausage or hamburgers, all cooked up by our new friend Scott Tabor from Globe. Scott was also part of Carl Guilliams’ crew that transported and installed the new shades at PV for us. Barry & Carolyn Dille returned with Barry’s guitar and entertained us late into the night around the campfire.

BackcountryUpdates 2016April 2

Tuweep is always one of the first airstrips brought up at our backcountry events, and I’ve been invited to sit down with the State Land Commissioner and her top staff once again later in April. The intent is to work out an approach to re-opening this little gem. This may be our last shot at re-opening Tuweep through the political process, and we are truly hopeful that Governor Ducey will keep his commitment made to us to support equal and open access to state trust lands. Our only request is that the aviation community be given the same privilege of access under the current recreational permit system as other recreators, no more, no less. We know that the state land department will find, just as the USFS and BLM have, that we are among the most responsible and safest users and partners they’ll work with.

BackcountryUpdates 2016April 3

There are two more months to enjoy the 3rd Saturday (actually starting Friday) at Grapevine before our summer shut down, so check your calendar and meet us out there at what has become one of our most popular airstrips. It’s truly hard to describe the beauty of Grapevine, especially if you’ve never enjoyed a sunset or sunrise there. Check our calendar, print your safety brief, and join us this month! With Brad and Kit hosting, you can be assured an incredible BBQ lunch on Saturday, and if you are camping, it’s potluck on Saturday night.

BackcountryUpdates 2016April 4

Rounding out April will be our spring fly-in to the old Double Circle Ranch. This airstrip is now officially Z66, and you won’t want to miss the fireplace in the old lodge and stories of the old west with your friends, fellow pilots, and locals. I’ll be sharing the story of Geronimo’s massacre at the ranch on Saturday night, from an eye witness account record taken down in 1929 from a San Carlos Apache, John Rope.

As always, watch our Facebook page for last minute scheduling changes due to bad or questionable weather, or email me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

JWe’re off to a warm, dry spring, and the backcountry season is off to a great start! Last month’s 3rd Saturday weekend at Grapevine brought in over 30 aircraft and 60+ aviators, friends, and family. Hosts Rick Bosshardt, your Arizona CubCrafter’s dealer, and our faithful Mike An-dresen, along with help from APA President Tommy Thomason, man-aged to keep things safe and order-ly. Just an FYI, please review the Aviator’s Code of Conduct, and check out our complete safety briefs and videos each time you visit the backcountry. Your profes-sional knowledge and behavior in the backcountry makes ours and the RAF’s work of preserving back-country airstrips possible.
As I write this article, APA mem-bers are preparing to transport two USFS donated shades from the Roosevelt Lake area to the Pleas-ant Valley Airstrip (24AZ) outside of Young, Arizona. It’s been two years since this same team in-stalled the shades at Grapevine for us. Please say thanks to Carl Guilliams and Paul Pitkin at one of our events. You donations to the backcountry fund have paid for the concrete work and placement up at the airstrip! Join us there on the weekend of April 1st - 3rd for our annual spring visit and camp at Young. Watch our facebook page and calendar for any changes or rescheduling due to weather!
We’ll be out at the old Double Circle Ranch the end of April, beginning on Friday the 29th. This will be the first trip that you’ll be able to actually plan to the Double Circle using its new identifier, Z66. The FAA has shared with us that the Double Circle will hit the sectionals in the April release of charts. This is the first newly charted airstrip in USFS region 3 in the last 40 or 50 years! Let’s take care of this site by being safe, protecting its historical content, and volunteering for future partnering with the USFS at the site!
Keep an eye on our calendar for backcountry train-ing events as we are providing more opportunities for the Arizona community for such training. The next Back to Basics evening seminar will be at 6pm on Tuesday, March 15th, at Deer Valley.
We’re just beginning the planning of the fog coat process for the Grapevine airstrip this summer. We’ll need volunteers once again, and have no doubt that many of you will want to participate in thisanuary, 2016
Friday, January 15, 2016 - Sunday, January 17, 2016
Grapevine Monthly Fly-In Weekend
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Back to Basics at Ak-Chin (A39) with Dave Dunteman
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Mountain Canyon Flying with Lori MacNichol (P48)
February, 2016
Friday, February 19, 2016 - Sunday, February 21, 2016
Grapevine Monthly Fly-In Weekend
March, 2016
Friday, March 04, 2016 – Saturday March 5, 2016
Cactus Fly In Casa Grande (CGZ)
Friday, March 18, 2016 - Sunday, March 20, 2016
Grapevine Monthly Fly-In Weekend
April, 2016
Friday, April 1, 2016 - Sunday, April 3, 2016
Pleasant Valley, Young AZ (24AZ)
Bad Weather BACKUP DATE:
Friday, April 8, 2016 - Sunday, April 10, 2016
Friday, April 15, 2016 - Sunday, April 17, 2016
Grapevine Monthly Fly-In Weekend
Friday, April 29, 2016 - Sunday, May 1, 2016
Double Circle Ranch (Z66)
Bad Weather BACKUP DATE:
Friday, May 6, 2016 - Sunday, May 8, 2016
May, 2016
Saturday May 7, 2016
ASAG Meeting
Friday, May 20, 2016 - Sunday, May 22, 2016
Grapevine Monthly Fly-In Weekend


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