At age 77, Ray Steinmeyer has chosen an encore career that continues his passion for aviation. A career that included professional A&P/IA services, then 30 years with the power company in Maine, he now enjoys providing his expertise among pilot friends at his home field of Bowman, B10 near Livermore Falls, Maine. And his neighbors at the privately-owned airfield are very grateful for his knowledge. “We welcome the public to come enjoy our airfield,” he says. “It’s a great place to actually practice short and soft field techniques. It’s fairly narrow and there are tall trees at the ends, so students get some actual experience,” he adds. The field is listed on AirNav at 2,200 feet long, “but it’s twice what we need,” Ray says, who flies a 1970 Franklin-powered Maule 220C.
He’s particularly proud of Bowman Airfield and the 30 owners who share in the maintenance and welcome fly-in guests. The hangars are open where visitors may seek shelter in case of wet camping weather. The owners have plans to improve toilet facilities. Watch for Bowman Field to appear in the Airfield Guide.
Ray and other Maine pilots became aware of the RAF early on. Pilots Steve Williams and Lisa Reese of Maine Aeronautics Association flew out West and explored some of the new or improved airstrips where the RAF had been involved. They realized that Maine had much to offer that reflected the RAF mission to create access to recreational opportunities. They invited former RAF Florida Liaison and Director Tim Clifford to come to Augusta to speak, and he inspired Andy Rowe to take on Maine Liaison duties. Ray Steinmeyer and Steve Mason became some of Maine’s earliest and most ardent supporters.
“One of our favorite places to fly is Alton Bay, New Hampshire,” Ray says. B18 is located on the southern edge of Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire’s largest lake. It is the only FAA-designated public ice runway in the lower 48 states. “We land and follow the safe-ice walkway the short distance into town to enjoy shops and restaurants.” Although Ray has skis and floats for his Maule, he admits, “That’s a young man’s game,” and prefers to leave them in the hangar while he takes off on wheels. He’s owned several different aircraft, and says the tail wheel Maule “is a joy to fly.”
When Ray and his wife Ruth are not out flying someplace interesting, he finds joy restoring International and John Deere tractors, graders, and earthmovers. “If I had the right property, I’d love to clear the woods, and grade and create another airfield for the public to enjoy,” he said, itching to put his his restored equipment to use on another recreational Maine location.
Submitted on February 10, 2022.