For me it was Parlin, NH because this name popped up on the RAF Airfeld Guide when I was looking for promising destinations on my second leg.
“RAF” ? you ask…
Yes, but not that RAF, not that “Royal”, not that “Force” either. Rather “Recreational”, and instead of a “Force” simply a “Foundation” and after we convert the “Air” into “Aviation” we’ve got it: The Recreational Aviation Foundation (theraf.org).
It looked inviting on RAF’s description, with fuel, camping and restrooms available. On backcountrypilot.org, my other fountain of inspiration, information and perennial motivation, I had read nice comments about place and people and since it was close to my old soaring playground and thus could serve as convenient base for visits to Post Mills, NH and Sugarbush, VT it was a clear go.
The day dawned with beautiful light and soon after breaking camp I was in the air.
After a fuel stop and a quick lunch in Twitchell – no sister 170 this time: where are you Nathan? – I continued Northwest bound.
An hour and 40 minutes later I touched down on runway 18 in Parlin.
Just before I turned towards what looked like a clubhouse while taxiing to the fuel pump a wiry senior jumped out of the hut and, with authoritative and authentic signals, directed me into the perfect refueling position.
“ Welcome to Newport,
nice 170 you’ve got there”
he said, picked up a small ladder with one hand and pulled the hose from the reel with the other.
With both he walked to the left wing of WhiskyBlue.
Quite a welcome!
The comments about this place on bcp.org were obviously well deserved, and there was more niceness to come.
“Where to next?” he asked after the tanks were filled.
“Well, I’d like to spend the night here” I answered, “is camping allowed on the field?”
“Of course! more than allowed, it’s encouraged!”
He pointed to the far side of the runway.
“See those trees over there? Between them and the runway there are a couple of places you can pitch your tent and park the bird. Each has a table and a firepit. There are also posts with solar-fed USB-ports to charge your devices.
But first let me show you our clubhouse!”
He stepped up to the door, punched in the code for the lock and ushered me in.
“Here you can check for weather on the computer, use the wifi, help yourself to whatever you find in the fridge and use the bathroom in the back – sorry, no showers.”
“Ah, the site to access the webcams is recycledpilots.com – yes, that’s us!”
“And, by the way, my name is Rick and my plane is behind the second door from the left over there”
He pointed to a row of hangars at the northern end of the field.
“Actually, if you’re still here tomorrow eve, come on over! At 6pm we have our biweekly “grilling and chilling’ there.
Just bring something to throw on the grill, there will be plenty of salads and beverages!”
With that he stepped back out and left me wondering if I could have picked a better place for the first stop on my way West.