“This year’s Ryan Fly-In had a family reunion feel to it,” said RAF Administrative Director Tricia McKenna after making sure Sunday’s early risers had fresh coffee. RAF President Bill McGlynn added, “The weekend was something almost ‘spa-like’, getting together with old and new friends, and taking a deep breath of the fresh pine air.”
Thirty airplanes eventually lined up along the green turf, tents sprouting beneath wings. The two rustic cabins were the perfect alternative for tent camping, and RAF Ambassador Steve Maus and his wife Libby roomed in the one they generously sponsored.
Friday night’s dinner was a requested rerun of grilled coiled sausage and savory vegetables, cooked by RAF Washington State Liaison Dave Whitelaw and brother John.
About a hundred folks gathered for Saturday’s traditional RAF steak dinner, perfectly grilled by former Montana Liaison Jon Hudson. RAF ladies brought an array of salads, and Florida Director Emeritus Tim Clifford dished up his wife Ann’s famous cowboy baked beans, which were so delicious that young August White was seen dipping his bread in them for his dessert. But there was more — All were treated to huckleberry ice cream after the traditional group photo in front of the barn in the waning rays of the sun. While campers admired the afterglow on Strawberry Mountain, a crew set up a hot air balloon and deployed it for a short tether flight from the airfield at dusk. The kids were allowed to get close enough to sense the thrill of Lighter-Than-Air flight.
“I have heard that ladies and kids especially feel welcome at the Ryan Fly in. They enjoy participating,” Tricia said, adding, “Margie Prill, one of our first VP’s of Appreciation gathered the kids in the shade of the pilot shelter for a rock painting art project.”
Shoppers took advantage of the opportunity to view and buy new selections of RAF logo wear and gear in the barn all weekend.
Power tools could be heard all weekend as volunteers continued working on barn projects. Rain gutters went up, and inside, visitors were delighted with hot and cold running water in the front sinks, and admired the tile work progressing in the two restrooms.
The all-the-hot-water-you-want outdoor propane shower was a hit, seeing use until nearly midnight.
Honors for farthest flyer went to RAF member Tom Craig from North Carolina and his guest John Clary from Naples, FL in Craig’s Cessna 180.
On Sunday, RAF New York Liaison Doug Turnbull arrived in his SuperCruiser on his leisurely cross country from his home in Bloomfield, NY.
Sunday morning most guests took advantage of the cool, calm mountain air to depart. Several remained to continue working on the barn. The RAF is grateful for all who helped make this year’s fly-in so enjoyable, and for the continuing efforts of volunteers and supporters who have contributed to this special place.