Grapevine airstrip, located in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest, is one step closer to being fully opened and charted, according to officials with the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF).
The RAF and Arizona Pilot’s Association (APA) have worked with Tonto National Forest personnel nearly four years toward this goal.
Most maintenance and improvements are complete, the most challenging being the RAF and APA’s crack sealing of the 3,800 x 40 foot asphalt runway, which had been closed since 1997.
The next step — nearly as challenging as the crack sealing, according to RAF officials — is the two-coat surface sealing of the entire runway and ramp areas, scheduled to take place in the next few weeks, with funds provided by the RAF and APA.
Grapevine is only a quarter mile from the shores of Roosevelt Lake, the largest body of water in central Arizona. While touting an asphalt runway and beautiful new sun shades and picnic tables, it provides a backcountry environment. Also planned are several more fire rings and campsites toward the lake.
“Since negotiating for its use the third weekend of each month, Grapevine has introduced dozens of pilots to the backcountry, pilots who might otherwise not have been able to experience it,” RAF Arizona Liaison Mark Spencer said.
Spencer assisted U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Kelly Jardine in completing FAA form 7048. The FAA completed its airspace analysis and approved the use, leading to the next step in the process, filing form 5010, requesting an FAA identifier.
For Grapevine to appear on the Phoenix Sectional will take some time, following the periodic chart update sequence. Spencer noted that Grapevine could be back on the sectionals as early as spring 2017.
“This is what we can do through partnering with our friends at the Forest Service, local pilots, and with a dash of patience mixed with persistence,” he added.