Our Blog


To comment on our blog you will need to be an AACA member and login to your account.


Archive for the ‘ Storytime ’ Category

September 28th, 2011

The following is an email we received here at AACA Headquarters received from Ken Nebrig, a fellow AACA Member.  The included photos were taken by our very own Kent & Gretchen Densley.

Having a great time @ Payson's Four Corner's Fly-in

New Horizons…New Friends.  This is the motto of the American Air Campers Association and it sure “hits the nail on the head” to describe the members passion for flying and air camping.  While we have all enjoyed using the extensive AACA database of airports with on-airport camping facilities for our own adventures, it sure is a lot more fun to actually gas up the plane, load up the gear, meet some friends and get out and do some air camping! 

It has been a really long and scorching summer all over the United States this year, but no place to the extremes like we have had here in the Southwest, where we view a 100 degree day as a “cold snap”.   Summer is thankfully over and with the passing of the hellish temperatures and monsoon rains in this part of the country it can only mean one thing…..it was time to get our backsides off the couch and go air camping!

Ken Nebrig (center) authored this testimony

The weather gods were pleased with our offerings and were definitely smiling down upon us on the weekend of September 24-26 as 17 airplanes and 35 pilots and their guests were treated to perfect VFR weather to attend American Air Campers Association fly-in picnic and air camping adventure with the folks from the Four Corners – AYA and the Arizona Pilots Association.  AZ (KPAN).  Payson is one of our absolute favorite places in the southwest to hold a fly-in because of the spectacular views, uncrowded & uncontrolled airspace, and an air campground that is second to none in the Western United States.  At five grand and change field elevation, it is also a heck of a lot cooler than the “lowlands” of Arizona this time of year!

We decided that while the restaurant was nice, we would rather spend more time out on the ramp talking airplanes

There was a great turnout at KPAN

 and swapping lies and less time ordering and scrambling in the restaurant.  So…we packed up our picnic baskets, moved the picnic tables in the beautiful Payson Air Campground under some nice shade trees right next to the taxiway and proceeded to have ourselves a good old-fashioned Saturday picnic!  Lots of food & fun, comparing notes on airplanes and general pilot B.S.!  While we ate, we had some special guests join us to talk about some more fun flying activities.  AACAs’ own Kent Densley & his lovely wife, Gretchen came in all the way from the AACA HQ in Florida to speak to all the attendees and spread the word about AACA.  The crowd enjoyed Kents’ presentation as well as a short talk from our own Mark Spencer from the Recreational Aviation Foundation (http://www.theraf.org/) on the RAF mission and efforts at preserving back country airstrips.  Asa Dean and Tommy Thomason from the Arizona Pilots Association (http://www.azpilots.org/) briefed us on some fun and challenging flying opportunities that we all can participate in.  The speakers all complimented one another, with the common thread among everyone that we are all working towards the same goal….helping pilots have fun & seek out new adventures in our aircraft.  We want to thank everyone who spoke, but especially Kent & Gretchen who came across three time zones to join us!

What a view!

The Saturday picnic was just the tip of the iceberg, as seventeen  (19) devout AACA’ers and future AACA’ers came early on Friday & stayed over Saturday night at the Payson Airport Campground.  The gang didn’t feel like breaking up the party early, so we built ourselves a regulation Boy Scout campfire (it’s truly amazing how much more efficient the fire started after an assist from a jar of 100LL filched from Tommys’ Cub  parked nearby!  Sure a lot quicker than the ole’ Eagle Scout method of rubbin’ two sticks together!….sorry, Kent!)  After lighting the “Towering Inferno” we broke out the marshmallows for some ‘smores and enjoyed two evenings of fun and camaraderie as well as more than a few “adult beverages” as we sat around the campfire.  Mark Spencer not only briefed us on the activities of the RAF that day, but also borrowed a guitar from Jake McKernan and entertained the crowd ‘round the light of the campfire…a true renaissance man!  We heard a strange sound emanating from the campground and thought that one of the resident elk that inhabit the woods around the airport was coming in for a mating call.  A couple of our “elk look-alike” air campers were getting a little worried about the possible conjugal visit, but to our relief we discovered it was just pilot Jerry Barfuss belting out a few notes on his “arp horn” (i.e. the Ricola cough drops ads!) that he had thrown in his Grumman Super Cheetah.  Jerry also decided that he would bring his bugle to sound reveille in the morning.  Not so much fun if you didn’t feel like getting up right then! 

The winners for longest distance flown goes to a trifecta of birds that scrambled from from up in Utah to attend. 

Such a nice place to set up camp

 Jerry & Mary Barfus from Beautiful Bountiful; Kurt Larson from Sandy, and Dennis King & Catalina Rosales from Sandy.  Our other states were well represented as well with Tommy Thomason, Mark & Stefanie Spencer, Kent & Gretchen Densley, Ken Nebrig, Richard & Gale Marsland, Glen Green; Jim & Qing Hefner, Hugh Goring, Jim & Gerry Landers, Asa & Cheryl Dean, Bob Rogell, Jake McKernan, Ted Maurin, Lorrie Nebrig, Martin Thomas & Pam Davis, as well as Rhonda and Al Hancock in their beautiful new (to them) Grumman Cheetah that they picked up a month ago.  It was such a nice change to see some children actually enjoying the fly-in as well.  Alisha & Ceejay Pestana, Aidan and Evan McKernan as well as our usual ramp manager, James Nebrig, spent their days motoring on the taxiways (much to the Payson Police chagrin) in their scooters and the nights burning up marshmallows!  Great to see some kids for a change!  It all would have fallen apart without our loyal ground crew of Steve and Willie Pestana who made frequent runs into town for snacks, ice and cold adult beverages.

The American Air Campers Association, "New Horizons - New Friends"

On a personal note…It was sure a lot of fun to meet Kent & Gretchen, fellow AACA’ers  and other air camping enthusiasts who joined us this year for our Payson adventure.  Everyone was so excited to get together and share our love of flying and camping now that the weather out this way is getting bearable. 

New Horizons…New Friends.  Couldn’t say it better myself!  AACA means fun flying and exciting adventures.  It’s time to quit thinking about it and just pull the plane out of the hangar and get going.  If any fellow AACA’ers out here in the Four Corners region would like to get together and do some air camping, just drop me a line!  The plane is always gassed up and ready to go!  See you by the campfire!

Ken Nebrig

AACA Member – Arizona

February 14th, 2011

One of our very own AACA members,  Scott VanArtsdalen, built this wonderful Rans S6-ES Coyote.   Below is a video of his “maiden flight” taken by his daughter Angela. 

We thank you very much for sharing this Scott.  And for those of you who enjoyed Scotts video, please feel free to view his entire story on his blog, http://airprayer.net/.

January 6th, 2011

The Abbott/Longenhagen Family takes on Koreshan State Park. 

Don Abbott and his daughter Liz, along with her husband Greg Longenhagen and their daughter Liza Jayne, took a weekend trip to Florida’s Koreshan State Park.

The weather was absolutely perfect for cooking hot-dogs and roasting marshmallows by the fire.  There were stories, song and fun had by all. 

Once again proving that there is no better way to bond with family and friends, then by the light of a campfire and the sights and sound of nature.

Enjoy!  I know they did.

January 5th, 2011

The following post and photos were sent to us by AACA Member George Wehrung.  Enjoy!

My wife and I did our first trip to Kern Valley Airport in C210 over thanksgiving.  We called it RV camping with wings.  We cooked up a turkey in a cast iron pot and it was delicious in 30 degree weather by the fire.  The view of the stars at night were incredible.

Thank you George Wehrung for sharing your wonderful experience.

October 5th, 2010

The following is an email we received from Art & Judy Danley.

We recently returned from our three week camping trip in our GlaStar leaving from our home in Maine and flying as far west as the San Juan Islands in the state of Washington .  We spent several days each at West Yellowstone, Montana, Cavanaugh Bay and Johnson Creek, Idaho, and Orcas Island (San Juan Islands), Washington.  In addition we visited friends in Boise and Priest Lake, Idaho.
We had a wonderful experience.  The scenery was fantastic and we met many very nice fellow air campers.  The camping equipment selected for us by AACA and purchased from the Camp Store worked very well. The airport directory and flight planning program on the AACA web site was very helpful and we used in every decision we made.
It was a trip we will always remember and we are planning on making many more trips in the future.
Attached are a couple of pix taken at Cavanaugh Bay and Johnson Creek, Idaho.

Thanks again for your help in helping us with our gear.
Art and  Judy Danley
Winthrop, Maine

July 20th, 2010

This was a submission from another one of our Founding Members, Doug Latch.

 • • •

This campground is for airplanes ONLY !

When visiting Columbia, CA Airport, you typically you land on the paved runway and taxi on the dirt taxiway to where are planes are parked.

 • • • 

Columbia Ca. airport outside Bald Eagle Aviation the FBO . Left to right, Doug Latch, George Wehrman (center),Terry Holman. 

• • •


Actual real saloon as it may have looked in the late 1800′s. Town is very
real and is very historic.

• • • 

Town was closed when this picture was taken it was about 6 in the eve.


July 20th, 2010

This photo is a submission from one of our Founding Members, Art Danley. 

Art and his family were packing  up their Seaplane in preparation for their first AACA Adventure. 


Thanks Art!

July 20th, 2010

The entry below was provided by one of our Founding Members, Skipper Hyle. 

My first camping experience with an airplane was under the wing of my 1942 Fairchild PT-26 at Flight Flight Airport in NC about twenty yards from where the third flight, ever, landed.  The First Flight Society used to celebrate Wilbur’s birthday with a fly in at Kitty Hawk and it was the only time of the year you could overnight an aircraft in the National Park.  I through a tarp over the wing and slept on another one.

Anyway, this past weekend, my family was invited to a Private strip in northwestern Georgia.  First Annual Fly In and Pig Pull.  So, I flew up in my Harvard (T-6) with one child and the wife drove up with the other (they swapped places coming home).  The T-6 isn’t really condusive to carrying a lot of camping gear, so the van helped.  Several 195s on the field, a 1929 Stinson, couple of homebuilts, a Cub, Swifts and a few more.

Below are the photos that accompanied Mr. Hyle’s submission.

Thanks Skipper!

July 19th, 2010

July 19th, 2010

Imagine looking out the window of a private airplane, watching the sun rising over a remote area of America. Over the nose, a grass landing strip comes into view. You enter a shallow bank to check the wind direction. A couple of moments later, as you line up for landing, you swear there is the smell of fresh coffee in the air. O.K., power back…slow now over the fence… s l o w e r. The tires gently meet friendly turf and you know you have arrived.

Turning your craft around, you pass several tents along side of the runway. A variety of people of all ages are sitting on picnic tables, tree stumps and blanketed ground, amazed by your arrival, just as they were with their own. Not far there is a clearing where a variety of old and new, large and small airplanes sit. You silence the engine and sit for a moment to listen to the gentle…peaceful…soft sounds of morning. When you open the door you are greeted by a smiling faces who ask where you are from, compliment you on your choice of airplanes and invite you to become part of a village they jokingly call Canvas Heights.

This home town in the wilderness, is one more new horizon to be recorded in the log books of a unique society of aviators called “air campers.” There are no written rules here. There are also no television sets, computers, cell phones or beepers. Everyone agrees, “ ‘probably wouldn’t do any good to bring em, ‘cause there are no towers around here either.” There is very little need for a watch. About the only things you might want to bring, other than your camp gear, would be a pocket knife, or a harmonica, maybe a Frisbee or a deck of cards and a good book. Of course, a sense of humor is required. It might also help to know an old song or two and posses the knowledge to build a fire and make a huge pot of “hobo” coffee.

By the time you are ready to break camp and depart (which happens far too soon), you will have met many new friends. There is no need to be sad. You will see them, very soon on another adventure that will be similar, but never identical, to this one.

All air campers know, that is about as certain as the sun coming up every day!

Come visit American Air Campers Assocaition Website to become a founding member and experience all that our Association has to offer while showing you New Horizons and New Friends!