Our Chapter was contacted by Alan White of the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) with a request to help performing some maintenance and enhancement to a grass airfield close to Roanoke, Virginia (VA04) on May 8th, 2021. The owner of the field (who is the designer of the Bearhawk line of home build aircrafts) is making the field available for the public to fly in to enjoy the scenery and do some hiking and camping.
The following members participated in the project (besides Alan White and a couple of other volunteers who are not EAA Chapter 1031 members): Marcus (Zeke) Zechini John Munroe John Ely Paul Gainsback and Laura Faulconer Ron Hott Juergen Nies
Some of us had planned to fly our airplanes into Barrows field. The field is about 2,100 feet long by 30 feet wide. Large enough for some of the airplanes our members are flying. However, the approach is through a narrow gap of trees and the wind was forecasted to be gusting almost 30 knots by 10 AM, so all of us decided to just drive in. Part of the enhancements to the field was to cut some trees that were getting too close to the runway. Some of us equipped with chainsaws went to work and widened the approach path while others of the group worked on setting up a campground, firepit, a picnic table, some minor repair to the outhouse and putting up signs to guide future visitors to the campground and the hiking trail. After we were done cutting down trees, we fired up the bush whackers and worked our way through the woods alongside the creek to cut out a hiking trail. With all the help available the work was fun and by 3:30 to 4:00 PM we were done, and it was time to relax. Most of our members left after the work was done, but John Ely, John Munroe and Juergen Nies (together with Alan White) stayed to enjoy the newly build campground and firepit. John Ely’s son with his two little kids (first time camping ever!) joint us for the camping part.
John Ely did bring his BBQ and soon the burgers, hotdogs and brats were on the BBQ, the sauerkraut and chilly was warming up and the first beers popped open. After dinner we enjoyed sitting by the fire to do a lot of hangar flying. The night cooled down to the mid-30th, but the fire kept us warm. However, the highlight of the evening was when we spotted a string of satellites flying overhead very visible to the naked eye (they are called star links, look it up. It is very interesting). It almost looked like aliens were coming to invade earth.
Because of the wind, this turned out not to be a flyout, but still was a great chapter activity to help the RAF to make a nice grass field available to the public and a great way to promote general aviation. Thank you very much to the members who made the time available to help with this project.
Zeke cutting up trees that were blocking the hiking trail to the top of the ridge.
John Munroe working his way through the ruff to cut a hiking trail along the creek.
John Ely working the bushwhacker while Jeremy walks ahead with a chainsaw to cut the larger stuff alongside the creek.
A new RAF windsock.
A rest after the work is done.
Open hangars at Barrows field.
The new picnic table in use.
Getting ready for dinner.
First time (ever) campers.
Getting ready for the marshmallows.
A fire to keep us warm on a cold night.
A nice hiking trail in the works by the creek.