Arizona State Liaison Mark Spencer, who also serves as the Arizona Pilots Association (APA) First Vice President, reports that work is ongoing at Grapevine airstrip (88AZ). This year volunteers will continue to improve drainage and safety at the strip by spreading and compacting 400 tons of material that was delivered the first week of December. The $10,000 worth of material was purchased through USFS funds, made possible by the Recreational Aviation Foundation’s Master Challenge Cost Share agreement with the USFS. In lieu of a cash match, APA and the RAF agreed to provide volunteer labor of par value. 

APA President Brian Schober had delivered his tractor to help spread the material. “Our most senior supporters of the Grapevine efforts, Paul and Charlie Pitkin, were there to help,” Spencer said. Paul turned 86 recently and has continually supported efforts to re-open Grapevine and keep it open. Paul and Charlie also provide firewood and picnic supplies for events. Jeff Wilson and Tommy Thomason resealed cracks on the runway.

Spencer thanks Mike and Diana Andresen, Brian Schober, Chris Nugent, Rick Bosshardt, Rodney Tang, Paul Pitkin, Tracy Hardy, Leanne Rowan, and Ron Peters for their efforts spreading and compacting the material. More material is on the way in the new year. ”Grapevine requires a lot of work to keep going, but is well worth it based on the number of inquiries we receive about visiting the strip,” Spencer said. “We will be reaching out this new year for help with additional maintenance,” he added.

Spencer has coordinated for years with Tonto National Forest District Ranger Kelly Jardine, and refers to him as “an RAF and APA friend and supporter.” Mr. Jardine has started the NEPA process for installing a vault toilet at Grapevine this year from the Cost Share agreement funds. 

“Grapevine gets better every year thanks to pilot support and teamwork with the Forest Service,” Spencer added.

For more information about Grapevine (88AZ), visit the Airfield Guide. Pilots should also check in with the APA Facebook page and Prescott Flight Service at 122.5 or 800-992-7433 for updates on military use of Grapevine. “We try to coordinate this use, but being charted as a private airstrip makes NOTAMS specific to the airstrip impossible,” he added. CTAF at Grapevine is 122.9. 

Submitted January 8, 2021

Leave a Comment