GRAPEVINE TO BE CHARTED! MarkSpencer

By Mark Spencer

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You read that right gang! We’ve begun the process of placing the Grapevine airstrip back on the Phoenix sectional, replacing the closed airport symbol that has marked the place of Grapevine for nearly 20 years!

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In my mind, it seems like just last year that we had our first volunteer weekend at the Grapevine, clearing the cracks and runway edges of over 100 trees and shrubs that had made their attempt at reclaiming the airstrip to nature.

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Surely no volunteer from that weekend will forget the thorns and bloody mess they made of us all, and I’ll never forget DR Jardine standing there with what I could have sworn was a tear in his eye as I asked him what was wrong, “Nothing, nothing. I just cannot tell you what this does for me to see all these volunteers willing to do this…”

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He went on to explain how lack of funding was forcing them to decommission a large number of the campsites around the lake, for lack of funding and use, and how our group was willing to work for our vision of using the Grapevine airstrip again.

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There have been countless hours of volunteer work, tens of thousands of dollars in donations since then, and plenty of work left, but one thing I can say for certain is that these efforts and patience are paying off.

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Believe it or not, that was 2011, and Grapevine has become the most visited backcountry airstrip in Arizona, and even Forest Service Region 3 as a whole. Its unique hard surface, in a remote location, with no automobiles allowed, and only a short distance from the shores of Roosevelt Lake, have made it a popular place, and in many cases the only backcountry airstrip many pilots will ever visit.

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We’re not finished with maintenance, and APA president, Tommy Thomason, has already begun the work of lining up a company to help us surface seal the runway this summer. We’ve got some funds left over from the crack sealing, and I know you volunteers are just chomping at the bit to get your sleeves rolled up and help as you have thus far! In any case, when you see the call for volunteers go out, don’t count on someone else if you can help yourself.

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As we learned with the Double Circle Ranch, now the first newly charted USFS airstrip in region 3 in decades, this process can take upwards of a year. It starts with the completion of the FAA’s 7480-1 form, which I’ll first submit to the FS, and after the signature, on to the FAA. This initiates an air space study, and upon approval, 3- 6 months, the 5010 form will be completed, and once approved, 3-6 months, the closed symbol will be removed from the sectional and the new identifier and appropriate info is put in its place!

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Grapevine airstrip will not be without some restrictions, for example, no training, touch and go operations and such, and potentially some sort of reservation system for camping, but any restrictions will be there to secure long term safe access, and to keep the backcountry characteristics that draw most folks there.

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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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