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Eagle Scout's Successful Payson Fly-In

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“Incredible!” 

That’s the best description of our April 6-8 fly-in at Payson, AZ, (KPAN) for a weekend of fun and camping.

The weather was absolutely beautiful as over 30 aircraft and nearly 70 people descended on Payson for the two-day fly-in, all organized by 16-year-old pilot-in-training James Nebrig. James is the son of pilots Ken and Lori Nebrig, of Prescott. James already has his glider pilot license and is working on his private pilot certificate. This young man is also responsible for the planning, fundraising, and construction of the beautiful picnic pavilion located in the Payson airport campground, a project he took on as an Eagle Scout at only 14 years old!

The 24 spots on the air camping ramp were quickly filled. The Desert Flyers, a Phoenix flying club, came up for brunch and added another 10 airplanes to the already full ramps, so the airport was definitely buzzing on Saturday. Pilots wearing hats from aviation organizations such as RAF, AOPA, EAA, AYA, and of course the APA, mingled throughout the day. As the day-trippers headed back home in the late afternoon, the air campground remained completely full as 27 airplanes (around 40 people) pitched tents for Saturday night and prepared for the Dutch oven pot-luck supper. There was no shortage of delicious Dutch oven entrées and side dishes. Following dinner we settled in around the campfire for an evening of fun and songs.   

Barry Dillie and his wife drove down from Young with his guitar and song repertoire. Others joined in with their instruments, including mandolins. As the stars grew brighter and the participants grew tired, one by one we retired to our tents, some to their hotels, to enjoy a good night’s rest. 

Strong winds were forecast by noon on Sunday, so most pilots packed up early, heading home, some as far as South Dakota. By all accounts this was one of the most successful events we’ve had, and James is already planning a repeat for October, so stay tuned for more information in the APA and RAF calendars!

– Ken and James Nebrig and RAF Arizona Liaison Mark Spencer

Thank you James Nebrig for setting the pace for volunteerism in Arizona’s aviation community!

Photos by Topaz Photography