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.
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.
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.
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!
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!