Backcountry Winter/Spring 2017 MarkSpencer

By Mark Spencer 

 

As 2016 sets and the sun rises on 2017, we have a lot to look forward to in the Arizona backcountry. We’ve received word that Grapevine has been assigned an identifier, 88AZ, and what a way to start this new year! Don’t expect it to show up on the sectional for some time still, as the process of charting takes a little longer. The APA will continue our 3rd weekend events, and the airstrip will continue to be open only for these weekends until the process is completed and we re-paint the “RESTRICTED” lettering, along with the CTAF, 122.9, on the runway. All of this should be completed in the first quarter of the year, so please stay tuned! As a reminder, Grapevine will be restricted to non-commercial, recreational purposes, with absolutely no training, and restricted automobile access. In addition, if you plan on spending the night, the APA will be managing a registration system for overnights, perhaps as simple as an email with your tail number and number of persons. This will help us all in several ways towards the long term use and maintenance of the airstrip. Don’t worry, there are no fees involved for use, but we sure hope you continue your support of Arizona’s backcountry through your generous donations to the APA and the RAF!

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While on the subject of Grapevine, our dates for spring will be the weekends of January 20th-22nd, February 17th-19th, March 17th-19th, April 14th-16th, and May 19th-21st. We’ve got most of them covered, but we need volunteer hosts for May, so let us know if you are interested in helping out. Our Airport Liaison, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , has this down to a science, and will help you understand what your role as host would be.

We hope to increase the number and quality of backcountry training events in Arizona this year as well, with our first event being the Saturday, February 4th, the 5th annual gathering at Pleasant Valley, P48. Join us for a spot landing contest, and challenge your WWII Ace skills with a flour drop contest. Also build your Wings Credits at this event with a class on Bush & Mountain flying by CC Pocock, author of Bush & Mountain Flying Handbook. The very next weekend, Saturday the 11th (and if you choose to fly with an instructor, Sunday the 12th) you’ll have the opportunity to study under another of the great backcountry training teams of the Southwest, Backcountry Aviation LLC’s STOL Tips Seminar at the Ak-Chin (A39) airport. This event will include special accommodations for Friday and Saturday nights. If you chose the Francisco Grande Resort, and have the appropriate aircraft and skill, you’ll actually be landing at the resort! If you don’t plan on flying with an instructor on Sunday, maybe a round of gulf at the resort? This is the same training that was offered at the RAF’s national meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas, last year, and has a limited number of seats, so please register ASAP.

Again, the third weekend of February, that’s the 17th through the 19th, we’ll be out at Grapevine, where you’ll enjoy friendship around the fire, and an APA sponsored lunch on Saturday, donations accepted.

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We zip into March with warming weather and our Spring round up at the historic Double Circle Ranch, now Z66, the weekend of March 10th through 12th. If weather does not accommodate us, our backup weekend is March 24th through 25th. As always, watch our Facebook page for last minute schedule changes!

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For April, we’re hoping to have our usual fly in and camp weekend at Young (24AZ), April 7 through the 9th, with back up dates of April 28th through 30th. Young, AKA Pleasant Valley, is very special in itself with beautiful surroundings and treats like transportation to and from Antlers Restaurant, but we had such a great time last year on Labor Day with events in town, that we’ve decided to schedule a couple of our own events. One would be a private tour and wine tasting at Bruzzi Vinyards and a second would be a tour of the Q Ranch Pueblo. If you are interested in either of these, please let us know so we can get an idea of the interest level.

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We hope you’ll plan on joining your aviation family in the backcountry as often as possible this year!

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