At the invitation of Arv Schultz of the Arizona Pilots Association and forum coordinator for the annual Cactus Fly-In, representatives of the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF), Arizona Pilots Association, (APA) and the New Mexico Pilots Association Recreational Aviation Committee (NMPA RAC) gathered at this year’s event to present two forums regarding backcountry aviation and preservation of airstrips in the Southwest.

The Cactus Fly-In, hosted on March 4-5 by the Arizona Antique Aircraft Association, Inc. (AAAA) with the cooperation of the City of Casa Grande, is the season’s premier classic aviation event for pilots in Arizona and adjoining states.   

The first forum, called “Nuts and Bolts,” featured a panel of backcountry leaders from each group, discussing their groups’ own efforts and how they can collaborate to preserve, protect, and promote airstrips in the Southwest.

The second forum, “How and Where to Have Fun Flying The Back Country,” featured speakers from each group who discussed some of the destinations in their states and how the RAF works with pilot associations around the country to promote back country flying.

Forum participants included APA President Nancy Benscoter, Arv Schultz, APA Back Country Committee members Bob Carter and Tommy Thomason, APA member and newly appointed RAF Arizona State Liaison Mark Spencer, RAF Vice President Dan Prill,  NMPA RAC Committee Chair Larry Filener and Committee member Duane Truitt, and NMPA President Joyce Woods.  RAF Director Rol Murrow coordinated and emceed the events; he is also RAF New Mexico State Liaison and a founding member of the NMPA RAC.

In addition to the forums the RAF had an exhibit and materials, and the participants brought a varied collection of aircraft used for back country flying to put on display.  The centerpiece was Mark Spencer’s beautiful yellow Super Cub with tundra tires.

The event was considered extremely successful.  Leaders of backcountry flying groups had an opportunity to meet and discuss common concerns, and Arv Schultz said the attendance for the forums was probably the highest he has seen at the Cactus Fly-in.

Submitted on March 19, 2011.

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