The black fly is a very aggressive, swarming, biting, blood sucking and universally hated pest that arrives just after ice out, presumably to function as the Creator’s initial spring fish food after a long winter of lake ice.  While black flies can be swatted throughout New England, inviting folks to Maine where they are numerous enough to carry off small children during back fly season can be seen as a cruel joke.  Therefore a secondary mission to decrease the population via multiple midair collisions with the pesky bugs was established to promote a good faith reason for the May date.  I believe the ploy may have actually worked. 

RAF supporter Jim Knowles, owner of Southern Maine Aviation, generously donated the use of a hangar known as “Big Blue,” supplied audio visual equipment, tables, chairs, a grill and plenty of cold drinks.  Jim also allowed folks to climb in and around his PBY.  The PBY is currently being restored to flying condition.  Lisa Reece, President of the Maine Aeronautics Association, was also on hand to help out.

John Nadeau began by showing the new Recreational Aviation Foundation video.  He followed with a power point presentation developed and supplied by Tim Clifford.  Nadeau edited and modified the presentation to encompass two parts.  To introduce new folks to RAF the first part encompassed an overview of the development of RAF, the mission, the projects, and strategic alliances.  The second portion of the presentation focused on New England.  Topics included the growth of RAF in New England in the past two years, how the RAF issues in New England differ from those in the western states, the importance of adding aviation to the Recreational Use Statute as a foundation for the RAF mission, the rationale and need for state liaisons.  Issues particular to each New England state were then presented and discussed. 

Both Massachusetts and New Hampshire have aviation included in their Recreational Use Statute and now need to begin identifying and cataloging airstrips.  We cannot preserve what we do not know we have.

The presentation and formal discussion ended at 11:45 AM at which time the grill was lighted.  The door on Big Blue was closed at 1:45 PM.  T-storms entered the area.

Innumerable black flies were reduced to parasite drag making this, one way or another, a smashin’ success.  Thank you to all who participated.

Submitted on May 10, 2011.

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