The New Mexico Pilots Association Recreational Airstrip Committee (NM-RAC) has organized a work party for April 29 through May 1, 2011 at the Negrito Airstrip (0NM7) in South West New Mexico.  A rain date is set for the following weekend.  The Negrito Airstrip is located at N33° 31.253667′ W108° 32.570200′ (estimated by AirNav).  Its elevation is 8,143 ft and it hosts two runways.  The main runway (17/35) is 7,500 ft long and 60 ft. wide.  The secondary runway (3/21) is 4,000 ft long and 60 ft wide (all information from AirNav).  The airstrip is located 18 miles SE of Reserve, NM.

The NM-RAC organized a fly-in there last fall and representatives have been talking to Bob Madil, the local US Forest Service District Ranger, about enhancing the airstrip.  The work party will remove rocks from the sides of the runway to improve the parking along the airstrip.  Larry Filener, Chairman of the NM-RAC, warns pilots flying in to stop their aircraft on the runway and walk the area they want to park before moving their plane into parking.  Many of the rocks are big enough to catch a prop, and they are usually hidden in the grass.  The New Mexico Pilots Association and the RAF are very excited to announce their growing partnership with the National Forest Service in an effort to insure the future of the airstrip and its maintenance.

Negrito airstrip is managed by the United States Forest Service as a fire base and prior permission is required for use.  Pilots should make arrangements to attend the work party by contacting Larry Filener through the New Mexico Pilot Association (NMPA) website at http://nmpilots.org.  He will provide briefing information including frequencies and will add pilots’ names to the work party list.

The airstrip is located in the beautiful Gila National Forest.  There are no amenities at this time but the NM-RAC is working to establish permanent facilities at the airstrip.  In addition to the work contemplated for this year, NMPA has requested that the Forest Service allow them to begin planning for installation of a latrine, shelter and picnic tables.  Both NMPA and RAF are very excited at this development as it will further our vision of having Negrito become one of the Nation’s premier backcountry airstrips. The president of the Recreational Aviation Foundation, John McKenna, says “The airstrip is a great asset for the State of New Mexico and it is great to see it being preserved.  The New Mexico pilots are working to fulfill the RAF mission of “Keeping the legacy of recreational aviation strong by preserving, maintaining and creating public use recreational and backcountry airstrips nationwide.”Rol Morrow, RAF Director and New Mexico State Liaison says, “I am very excited about the progress the NM-RAC has made with the US Forest Service in the preservation of the backcountry airstrips in New Mexico.”

The NM-RAC is working on other airstrips also so stay tuned to learn more.  You can also learn more about the New Mexico Pilots Association and the Negrito Airstrip Fly-In by visiting their website at http://nmpilots.org.

Submitted on April 12, 2011.

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