By Mark Spencer


Our first monthly fly in for Grapevine went off without a hitch in November, and with additional guests from the USAF!

With severe fire conditions across the Tonto National Forest the APA decided to hold off on our usual monthly fly in the third weekend at Grapevine until last month. We launched our new potluck dinner plan at this event, and it was a hit, with overnight camping at nearly a record high of 13 aircraft overnight and 21 people around the campfire on Saturday night, 4 aircraft Friday night.

grapevine update 2020 december parachute drops

The weekend began with the USAF using the airstrip for their parachute drops on Friday, complete with parachute landings alongside the airstrip. Remember, always check our Facebook and official sites for the latest news on military use of Grapevine. We try to coordinate this use, but being charted as a private airstrip makes NOTAMS naming the airstrip impossible.

grapevine update 2020 december parking aircraft

Saturday there were 30 airplanes throughout the day, spreading the workload of parking aircraft out to a safer and more manageable pace for our volunteers.

Among the 30 airplanes were Tod Dickey's Grumman Widgeon, two Lake amphibians, and two RV-10s, one of which was from California. We also had a visitor from NM.

grapevine update 2020 december tractor

Our APA President, Brian Schober, arrived to drop off his tractor for help in spreading the 400 tons of material we would receive the first week of December, courtesy of the USFS with annual funding secured by the Recreational Aviation Foundation through the federal budget process.

Our most senior supporters of the Grapevine efforts, Paul and Charlie Pitkin, were there to help with the material. Paul turns 86 next month and has been relentless in supporting the efforts to re-open and keep open the Grapevine. You can thank him and Charlie for the firewood and picnic supplies that seem to magically appear each month at the site!

grapevine update 2020 december 1

A huge thank you to Mike and Diana Andresen, Brian Schober, Chris Nugent, Rick Bosshardt, and our newest volunteers for the Grapevine effort including Tracy Hardy, of Tucson, for being there to receive the 20 plus loads of material and all the work in spreading and compacting. If you are interested in helping out at Grapevine, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.! Grapevine requires a lot of work to keep going, but is well worth it based on event attendance and the number of inquiries we receive about visiting the strip. You know the old saying, many hands make light work in this all-volunteer effort. We should be reaching out the beginning of next year for help with additional maintenance and more material arriving.

Lastly, our friend and supporter, Kelly Jardine, District Ranger, has started the NEPA process for getting a vault toilet placed at Grapevine in 2021 from the annual funds coming through the RAP's budget work.

Even with the struggles in 2020, Grapevine gets better every year thanks to your support!


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