By Stefanie Spencer
I would like to thank all of the volunteers and attendees that came out to enjoy the Copperstate Fly-In weekend for the first time at Falcon Field in Mesa. The booth was filled almost non-stop with pilots from near and far, with many questions about what we are accomplishing at Grapevine and the other airstrips here in Arizona. It is always a great time to share the stories of what is happening around Arizona. There was interest in our weekend getaway trips, merchandise, and of course our free custom luggage tags were a hit. Particularly encouraging at this year’s Copperstate was the number of younger pilots, I mean below 20 years old, that came by to visit with us.
The forums in the tents were also packed! Dave Dunteman presented “How to Avoid Tragedy by Combating Complacency,” Mark presented “Backcountry Tips, Tricks, and Destinations,” and our guest, Matthew Huse, the new Aviation Officer for the Tonto, brought the largest crowd we’ve seen yet with his presentation on “Fire Operations & Aviation.” No doubt this is the beginning of a long and cooperative partnership with Matt and his team. CC Pocock is also back in AZ, looking for a permanent residence, and was able to provide two backcountry techniques forums, spurring a good number of book sales, for which he donates part of the proceeds from each book to support the APA. Thanks CC!
Our new line of clothing, sporting our new home grown artwork and developed by our own Michelle Schober, brought many compliments. While clothing is not a revenue center for the APA, it is an important part of getting the word out. We are always surprised by the number of folks that visit with us at these shows saying, “I didn’t know there was an Arizona Pilot’s Association!” The take away here is that we should wear our colors (shirts and caps) whenever we are around other aviators! Mark has always said, if each of us would just encourage one other aviator to join the APA this week, we’d double our size in a week. Perhaps your APA clothing might spur that conversation.