Beginning Thursday, June 23, aircraft began arriving under sunny skies for the annual RAF Ryan Fly-in. By mid-day Friday, winds were calm, and 47 aircraft were tied down along the emerald turf, colorful tents and camp chairs beneath the wings. Folks relaxed in the bright orange Adirondack chairs in the shade of the barn roof and sipped beverages. Soon, the smell of tacos cooking filled the air, thanks to RAF supporter Mike Lindemer of Lindy’s Steak House.
This year was the largest gathering for both Friday’s taco bar and Saturday’s dinner of Lindy’s steak sandwiches and a wide assortment of homemade cookies. The total count exceeded 50 aircraft. Although guests arrived from homes as far away as South Africa, Florida and North Carolina, flying in from the farthest was Jerry Latvala from St. Simons Island, GA.
Saturday, some people explored Glacier Park, some biked. Montana Ambassador Lynn Mareth led 21 on a 3+ mile hike in the airfield region, where they spotted a moose, while Kodi Myhre and Grayson Hilborn helped the kids compete by building the tallest cairn. By 4:30, the barn filled to standing room capacity while Justine Vallieres from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks gave a presentation about the current grizzly and black bear population and the hazards to both wildlife and humans once a bear is habituated by careless storage of attractants. She tested the group on identifying the two species, but folks left with a cautious respect for both.
Evenings meant a welcoming fire circle and acoustic jamming, with California Ambassador Jeremy Lezin on guitar, Barry Porter on ukulele, Andy Perry-Cook on mandolin, and Jeanette Riley and others singing. Dancing broke out as firelight flickered off spinners on both sides of the runway.
Sunday’s weather was CAVU, and a pair of Bonanzas began the well-spaced departures.
Mike and Penny Hergenrather, long-time RAF supporters, volunteers, and fly-in attendees, and Mike’s brother Scott arrived in a Cessna 206, and commented how well organized the weekend was. “The amenities here just keep improving,” Mike said, “from the pilot shelter, the barn, to the new tiled showers.”
Ryan Field Work Party –
To prepare the field and facilities, 16 volunteers had braved the heavy rains two weeks before the Fly-in and tackled a long checklist of both indoor and outdoor chores. RAF Chairman John McKenna, Director Mike Perkins, MT/TX Ambassador Steve Maus, MT Liaison Scott Newpower, Vice President of Appreciation Heather Hair and MT Ambassador Lynn Perkins were part of the group. In addition to seasonal clean up, the group built a walk-in gate in the jack-leg fence by the Ryan cabins, and assembled a dozen orange Adirondack chairs. They finished the tiled showers in the Barn, and diverted heavy runoff that was swamping the walking trail.
The RAF thanks each volunteer who helped prepare the field and facilities, and all those who helped during the Fly-in – the largest ever!
Submitted on June 30, 2022