In Fort Kent, Maine a small group of pilots has contacted the town requesting that they be allowed to re-open the local municipal airport near the Fish River.  They formed the Fish River Flying Club and have now signed a lease agreement with the town to repair, maintain and operate the 3,200 foot grass runway. 

John Nadeau of the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) contacted Mr. Tommy Voisine of the Flying Club and learned that the Town Council of Fort Kent seemed to be in favor of the agreement, but they were concerned about liability.  Nadeau explained that Maine now has aviation included in the Recreational Use Statute, and that if the Town was not concerned about other recreational activities on the land, then noncommercial aviation activities should be seen no differently than those other activities, such as hunting or snowmobiling.  Mr. Voisne took this information to the Town Council and they agreed.  The Town attorney drew up a five year lease for the Fish River Flying Club which was signed on July 8, 2011.

Mr. Voisine is careful to explain that the airport, closed since the 1980’s, is not yet opened.   It will require some smoothing and the addition of some gravel to fill some ruts made by trucks over the years.  The Flying Club is in the process of obtaining services and funding for the needed work.  Mr. Voisine has been in contact with the FAA and will complete the licensing procedure only when the repair work is finished to assure operational safety. 

The RAF has made a donation to help with the repairs and encourages others to do so.  Donations can be sent to Fish River Flying Club, c/o Tommy Voisine, 242 Market Street, Fort Kent, Maine 04743.

Nadeau said, “Helping the Fish River Flying Club at Fort Kent perfectly fits the RAF Mission of‘Keeping the legacy of recreational aviation strong by preserving, maintaining, and creating public use recreational and backcountry airstrips nationwide.”

Watch for information regarding the opening of Fort Kent Airport on this web site.  Mr. Voisine stated that the airport will be licensed as restricted use rather than public use, and that he should be called for a safety briefing and airfield information and conditions at 207-834-5685.   Mr Voisine also indicated that, though on the chart the airport will be designated as restricted use, the public will be welcome to use it once they have requested and received a safety briefing.   Camping will be allowed, and the Fish River is only a short walk from the airfield. 

Donations to support the RAF Mission can be mailed to RAF, 1711 West College, Bozeman, MT 59715 or click here to donate now.

Submitted on July 16, 2011.

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