The new Phoenix FAA sectional shows no X through the Grapevine Airstrip symbol.
According to officials with the Recreational Aviation Foundation, it took nearly five years of collaboration between the RAF, Arizona Pilots Association (APA) and the US Forest Service — including the signing of the national memorandum of understanding between the RAF and the USFS — to remove the X that had been there for 20 years.
The new identifier, 88AZ, appears on the chart for the airstrip, which is located close to Lake Roosevelt.
Hundreds of volunteers gave their time, monetary contributions, sweat and even blood — everything has thorns in the Sonoran Desert, RAF officials note — to make this happen, RAF officials said.
While designated as private, access is open to the public. However, there are no commercial operations or training allowed and there is no automobile access.
“As a symbol of cooperation between the aviation community and the USFS, the mutual expectation is for visitors to respect the Forest Service’s vision for the site,” RAF officials said. “Please know and obey fire restrictions, and practice Leave no Trace ethics. There are limited campsites along the eastern side of the airstrip and midfield on the west. Please do not clear new areas. Always hand pull your aircraft off the airstrip as far from the runway edge as practical. Be courteous to other campers, and keep safety in the forefront of every visit to Grapevine.”
The final Spring 2017 weekend campout celebrated this great news with 29 aircraft and dozens of pilots, friends and families showing up to enjoy the Sonoran desert beauty and meals prepared by volunteers Kit Murphy and Brad Lawrence.
Due to the limited campsites, and to provide usage information for the USFS, the APA has set up a special email address to help coordinate the limited camp spots. Please email email@example.com with questions, your tail number and desired dates. APA can neither give permission, nor limit access, but can give you an idea if sites are open during your planned stay.
Before visiting Grapevine, pilots are asked to review APA’s safety brief and know your and your aircraft’s limitations.