Great 14 minutes video from FlightChops on learning how to fly, with a discovery flight.
The original purpose of creating the 501 (c)3 non for profit organization “Friends of Aviation”® was for this group to be a central point where aviation minded people could meet and get connected up. We have a big following on Facebook with more than 20,000 members. You can join our group by clicking on this link.
We are currently working on getting our blog and website updated and our organization reorganized so that we can better accomplish our purpose.
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Have you ever been stuck in your car in a traffic jam on the way back from work, thinking that there must be some way to get away from the traffic?
How would it be to be able to fly above it all? The dream of flying cars has been around for a long time. In Science Fiction movies, such as “The Fifth Element”, we constantly see different concepts of the flying car. Isn’t it true that if we can dream it, we can make it?
While flying cars have long been a stable of fantasy and science fiction, in actual fact there have been many notable and successful attempts to make a vehicle which is both roadworthy and capable of aerial flight over the years.
It is only in recent times that technological advancements have made such cars much more practical and although the days in which there is a flying car in every garage are still not here, it is clear that the near future holds endless possibilities in this area.
There will be a series of articles on the Friends of Aviation website on the subject of Roadable cars and flying vehicles within the next two months. Within the next decade, the world will launch into a series of new aerial vehicles that will revolutionize personal travel and enable tens of thousand if not hundreds of thousand new individuals to take to the skies.
Here is a quick overview of a few of the companies and the flying cars which are in development today.
(Photo: Courtesy of Terrafugia®)
This is a business based in the US and formed by former students of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is currently in the process of creating a “roadable” aircraft called the Transition ,which it hopes will be suitable for individual ownership, acting as a personal vehicle for the road or the air. What makes the Transition a significant improvement over older designs is that its wings can be retracted in half a minute, making it ready to use on the road in the blink of an eye. It is expected to hit the private market at some point in 2011, although prototypes have undergone thorough testing.
To use the Terrafugia Transition it will be necessary for the driver to take it by road to their local airport. It has a flight range of up to 500 miles with room onboard for two people. The cost of ownership is likely to be in the region of $150,000, although the firm has yet to confirm pricing and a Sport’s pilot`s licence is essential for flying this or any other of the flying cars.
Visit www.terrafugia.com to follow the progress on this project.
The Maverick from I-TEC is an interesting roadable aircraft currently in development which attempts to offer even greater operational diversity by being able to go off-road when it is on the ground. It takes the form of a converted dune buggy which has an integrated propeller and a parachute system which will allow it to be dropped into some of the world`s most inhospitable regions to examine fuel pipe lines and check up on remote communities.
Developed by Samson Motorworks, the Switchblade is a concept vehicle which has three wheels, wings arranged in a scissor design and rotary engines which mean that the propeller need not protrude when the craft is at ground level. At the moment the Switchblade is still at the prototype phase but it is expected to reach 110 mph on the roads and up to 200 mph when in flight mode. The owner will not have to store wings or accessories at the airport, as was the case with older planes, because everything is designed to retract out of harm`s way when a flight is over. A particularly cool feature of the Switchblade is that even when it is on the ground the body will bank and rolls as the car turns, simulating the feeling of flight. Visit www.samsonmotorworks.com to follow the progress on this project.
THE BUTTERFLY – SKY CYCLE
The Butterfly is an intriguing aircraft which is in essence a gyroplane that comes in a number of different designs and is intended for one or two passengers. Most models look very much like something from a James Bond film, with one propeller enabling lift while another dictates the direction and provides forward momentum. When on the ground the vehicles are designed to act like large motorcycles with light frames and three wheels providing stability and balance. The manufacturer intends that these types of flying motorbike will be suited to individuals as well as law enforcement organisations who need nimble, versatile vehicles which can get into any location with ease.
Part 2 of business owner Christian Lienemann’s story follows below. An asterisk (*) after a word denotes that it is being defined at the bottom of the article, for those of you who are not that familiar with some of the terms we use as pilots. Christian is a great ambassador for aviation and every pilot should follow his example of promoting aviation to friends and relatives.
I have composed a waiting list of customers who want to experience a Discovery Flight.
The list ranges from a middle age nun, to a young guy who knew the name and type of every airplane picture I showed him (even the extensive album in my company computer!) and more.
Those I take up are always full of questions and shocked that the answers they get do not match what they have seen on TV. After they relax a little, I can only describe their expressions as either shock or awe. I go as far as to let them lightly hold the yoke with me and take a picture of them assisting in level flight.
Within in a week, I send them a Discovery Flight certificate, all filled out with their name, date, time, and the aircraft they just flew. I also enclose a color picture of them in the air. One customer’s wife told me he framed it and put it on his desk. These discovery flights help keeping aviation well and alive and I ask everyone to pay it forward!
Now I realize that I am taking on a large responsibility by simply introducing my customers to their first flight. So I wanted to do it right (or as right as I possibly could). I did a little research and discovered how the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) perform their Young Eagle flights for children. AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) also have a section on the subject, along with several other great aviation blogs (like this one).
I could fill a few pages with what I have found on the internet, and all of it would be recommended reading. But the short of it is simply this; make it as comfortable as you can for your passenger – both mentally and physically.
Shallow banks when you turn, no stalls*or practice maneuvers, pick a smooth day, (that is not a pressure cooker!) and make it short and sweet. Usually thirty minutes is more than ample. The reward is worth its weight in gold.
I usually meet my new passengers at the airport, and give them a quick rundown and answer questions before and after the flight. I found it was hard for them to keep a sterile cockpit* close to the non tower airport* Hammond Northore Regional Airport, simply because they had more questions that kept popping up.
Many times they forget we are on an open comm system and comment aloud with things like “Wow!” or “This is GREAT!” Then they realize they said it aloud (because its playing in their ears). They then would look over at me and I just give them a smile.
You have to take human nature into account also. One woman I took up was just in awe that we didn’t fall out of the sky, like she thought would happen from watching the news. Finally she relaxed and really enjoyed the experience. That is all the way up to the landing part.
I flared* and made one of the best landings I have ever made! (The kind you wish your flight instructor was witness to). It was such a greaser, I was a little shocked when the nose wheel lightly set down. I have included a link here of a video which shows one of my landings.
I looked over to see her gleeful expression and was shocked at what I witnessed. She was white as a sheet, and scowling like she had a mouth full of lemons.
After a short and easy taxi*, I had to inquire. Towards the end of my landing, she heard the stall horn* (realizing it had to be a warning sound like her smoke detector at home ). She just knew at any minute we were going to be engulfed in flames. (If you are keeping score, that’s evening news two, and pilot one!) Yes I tried to explain how we land aircraft and how an aircraft has to transition from flight to being ground bound.
Some of the color was returning to her face, But her expression told me the adrenaline she was experiencing was only letting part of my explanation sink in. The stall horn is now on my passenger pre-flight briefing. It is always better to let your passengers know ahead of time what they can expect if it is a new experience for them.
A non-towered airport, sometimes referred to as an uncontrolled airport, is an airport with no operating tower. The vast majority of the more than 15,000 airports in the US are non-towered. At untowered airports, instead of taking instructions from a tower controller, aircraft follow standard procedures, which includes radio reporting procedures and standard traffic patterns to be followed.
Taxi: To taxi an airplane means to move it slowly on the ground or on the surface of the water before takeoff or after landing.
Sterile cockpit: The Sterile Cockpit Rule is an FAA regulation requiring pilots to refrain from non-essential activities during critical phases of flight, such as the landing phase.
Stall: In flying, a “stall” is a condition which occurs when there is not enough forward speed for the wings to keep the aircraft flying. The airflow over the wing gets disturbed and thus causes the airplane to lose altitude. A pilot can stall an airplane inadvertently or on purpose. When it is done on purpose, it is usually done to train pilots to recognize the signs of accidental stalls and develop the ability to safely bring the airplane out of a stall should it ever occur. An intentional stall is usually done a few feet over the ground when landing the airplane to bring the airplane down to the ground at the lowest possible speed. Click here for a short video which illustrates a stall.
Stall horn (or stall warning horn): A stall warning is an electronic or mechanical device which sounds an audible warning as the stall speed is approached. Just before an airport touches down on the runway, you can usually hear the stall horn as it slowing down.
Flare: The landing flare is when an airplane transitions from downward flight to a more level flight just before touching down. A properly performed flare will result in the aircraft touching down gently at the lowest possible speed.
The General Aviation community consists of individuals from all walks of life who all share the dream of flying. The article below was written by an Auto Repair shop owner in Metraire, Lousiana, Christian Lienemann, who finally made his lifelong dream of wanting to become a pilot a reality. It was a life changing event for him and he now owns his own airplane and enjoys sharing his passion for aviation with customers and other people he meet. Thank you Christian for sharing this experience with all of us!
RE-IGNITING THE SPARK OF FLIGHT (Part 1 of 2), by Christian Lienemann
By no means am I the next living legend in aviation. I am, however, the little General Aviation (GA) pilot who loves to share the joy of flight with my willing (and sometimes nervous) customers.
My aviation story is just like that of many pilots. I wanted to fly all my life, but like so many others before me, life had different plans. I took my first ride in a Cessna 172 when I was seventeen years old and from that point never stopped looking towards the sky. I did, however, fly any and every home flight simulator I could find and a vast array of radio controlled (r/c) aircraft as well!
Fast forward twenty eight years, I found an article in one of my many aviation publications, talking about the new Light Sport Pilot category, a new type of pilot license that had just been approved by the FAA, simplifying the process of getting your initial Pilot’s license.
One week later, I found myself at the controls of an Evektor Sports Star aircraft, flying around the patch with my new flight instructor in tow. (Now this guy is a candidate for a living aviation legend, with more than 10,000 flight hours!) So under his watchful eye he transferred the flight controls over to this flight simulator baby. I pulled muscles in my face I didn’t know I had with a smile so big, it took a week to look normal again. Â The flight bug hit me again, and so hard I just couldn’t stop.
Every Saturday for a year (weather permitting) I flew that little bird. I took my check ride for my Sport’s Pilot license in her also. It was the examiner’s first time in this aircraft type and he was impressed!
I then found a nice little Beechcraft, BE-77 Skipper (the smallest they ever made), in New York.
I flew commercially to look at her. One week later, my newly found A&P (Aircraft and Power plant mechanic) ferried her to her new home in Louisiana. Every Saturday for another year (same weather permitting) – same great flight instructor, I took my Private Pilot check ride in her. The examiner had some time in this type, and again was impressed with my little BE-77. That smile came back again! My mother always would tell me it’s going to get stuck that way!
My beautiful (and understanding) wife and I own a five bay Auto Mechanic shop in Metairie, Louisiana. We are just making a go of it, as I’m sure many of your readers are, in today’s market. So Monday through Friday, I’m under someone’s vehicle dreaming about the flying weekend to come. In my little office/customer waiting room, the walls are covered with pictures of the things I enjoy in life. They range from customers and their cars, to funny newspaper clippings, events I have attended and (you guessed it) airplanes!
I always offer my customers a seat, but they are usually so busy trying to take it all in that their vehicle is usually ready before they are. I answer many questions about their cars, but I also answer many questions about the pictures as well.
The most common and first question is “Do you fly?” Well, yes I do, I say, “I always wanted to do that” ( the most common statement after the question).
My reply, “Today is your lucky day…..”
(Part 2 to follow.)
Joe Clark, who was the recipient of this award last year, covers the subject of entrepreneurship and aviation in the following video, which was shown at the Living Legends of Aviation event this year (2011). You can watch the video by clicking here or on the picture below. It was produced for the Living Legends of Aviation by Inventive Productions and starts out with the following statements from Mr Clark;
“I think that aviation attract entrepreneurs. At least it certainly did in my case. Why, you know, entrepreneurs and aviation are almost one and the same.”
“Almost everyone I’ve known in my life in aviation has been an entrepreneur; people like Bill Lear, Clay Lacy, Steven Udvar-Hazy. They all kind of started without very much and had big dreams.”
“Entrepreneurs have a lot of drive and most entrepreneurs have a lot of failures getting to the top and so, you know, they have the ability to look back, learn from their mistakes and move forward.”
“An entrepreneur in my mind is someone who has a dream or an idea and has such focus that no matter what the obstacles are, they press ahead and make it happen.”
“Most people in aviation, they have such a passion for it they don’t feel they are taking a risk and most people I’ve seen in aviation, unlike a lot of other businesses, they don’t start out to make a lot of money, they just love what they do and if it happens it happens!”
Last night on January 21st many Hollywood and aviation celebrities gathered for the 8th annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. This event, which by many is considered “the Oscars of Aviation” is all about recognizing and honoring individuals with great and significant contributions to the field of aviation.
With the challenges for the aviation industry of recent years, this event plays an important role, not only to recognize individuals with great achievements as aviators and entrepreneurs, but also to highlight everything that is made possible through the work of aviation. This includes humanitarian efforts, rescue operations and the role of aviation in enabling commerce to take place.
Rather than just being a “star studded” event, many Hollywood and Aviation celebrities are passionate about aviation and attend this gathering to help pushing the message of keeping the dream of flight alive and to make it real to people that aviation is not just something for a few select individuals but plays an important role in today’s society.
The current 70 people who are now part of the Living Legends of Aviation are people of remarkable accomplishments, in aviation. Members include entrepreneurs, innovators, industry leaders, record breakers, astronauts, pilots who are now celebrities and celebrities who have become pilots.
John Travolta, the Ambassador of Aviation is himself a Legend of Aviation and started flying at the age of 17. He presented the newest Inductee Mr M Laurent Beaudion, the CEO of Bombardier with his award. His accomplishments to bring aviation forward are nothing short of remarkable.
Sean Tucker, the award emcee, always has an enthusiasm for aviation that is contagious to anyone he gets in contact with. From a reliable source, and from what I have seen with my own eyes, he is probably the greatest aerobatics pilots currently flying at air shows – a true professional in his field.
Actors and Pilots Harrison Ford and Kurt Russell gave out several recognitions at the event. Harrison Ford has done a remarkable job to introduce people and our youth to flying and is a great proponent and spokesman for aviation. Awards included the “Legacy Award” given to Pat Epps, Atlanta, Georgia.
Captain “Sully” Sullenberger awarded Captain James Lovell, Apollo 13 Commander, the “Captain Cool Award”. Sully mentioned that the only thing he really had in common with Mr. Lovell was that they both landed in water, but on the other hand, Mr. Lovell was supposed to! Buzz Aldrin was in attendance as well, the second person to put a foot on the moon.
Delford M. Smith who founded Evergreen International Airlines was given the “Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur of the Year Award”. Clay Jones, the “Aviation Industry Leader of the Year” and Lynn Tilton, the first woman to achieve the “Aviation Entrepreneur of the Year” award. Frank Robinson, founder of Robinson Helicopters, was acknowledged for his role in creating what ended up becoming the most popular helicopter in the world.
Bob Hoover, a true Legend of Aviation in his own right presented the Freedom of Flight Award to his fellow aviator and congressman and national hero, Sam Johnson.
After the event many celebrities gathered on the 8th floor of the hotel, mingled with guests and and shared stories about aviation with those who attended.
Overall a great and very memorable event . We at Friends of Aviation are already looking forward to next years event.
The spirit of the event and aviation overall can appropriately be summed up with what Del Smith quoted in his acceptance speech; “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve”.
I believe that this is something that all great dreamers and achievers do know and have in common as a reality!
Beverly Hills, CA “ The 8th Annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards, presented by Learjet, will be held on January 21st at the Beverly Hilton.
Considered the most prestigious and important recognition event of aviation, it’s an intimate, memorable, and historic evening of entertainment. Morgan Freeman, the “Voice of Aviation” presents the “Flown West” tribute to the Legends lost. John Travolta, the Ambassador of Aviation, will present the newest Legend inductee, M. Laurent Beaudoin. Harrison Ford will present a special Aviation Legacy Award to Pat Epps. Sean Tucker, the awards emcee, will be assisted by Kurt Russell, as Tom Hanks recognizes Captain James Lovell, commander of the Apollo 13 mission, and Captain “Sully” Sullenberger will present the “Captain Cool Award.” Bob Hoover will present the Freedom of Flight award to fellow aviator, congressman, and true national hero Sam Johnson. Meet Delford M. Smith, the “Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur”, Clay Jones, the “Aviation Industry Leader of the Year”, Lynn Tilton, the “Aviation Entrepreneur of the Year” and other truly remarkable individuals of extraordinary accomplishment.
The ballroom at the Beverly Hilton accommodates the 70 Legends, their guests, and a small number of other attendees.
This year’s expected celebrity/Legend attendees include: John Travolta, Captain James Lovell, Laurent Beaudoin, Bob Hoover, â€œSullyâ€ Sullenberger, Kurt Russell, Clay Lacy, Morgan Freeman, Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Tom Cruise, Joe Clark, Maj. Gen. William Anders, Cliff Robertson, Lynn Tilton ,Tony Bill, Dr. Forrest Bird, Carroll Shelby, James Raisbeck, Linden Blue, Barron Hilton, Sir Richard Branson, Harrison Ford, Gene Cernan, Julie Clark, Dick Rutan, Pat Epps, Greg Herrick, Dieter F Uchtdorf, Alan Klapmeier, Bruce McCaw, Lorenzo Lamas, Col. Max Moga, Zoe Dell Lantis Nutter, Tom Poberezny, Mike Melvill, Vern Raburn, Si Robin, Frank Robinson, Sean Tucker, Steven Udvar-Hazy, Emily Howell-Warner, Patty Wagstaff, Kermit Weeks,Treat Williams, Michael Dorn, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Selleck.
For more information please visit www.livinglegendsofaviation.org (Event Sold Out)
About Living Legends of Aviation:
The “Living Legends of Aviation” are 70 admirable people of remarkable accomplishment in aviation including: entrepreneurs, innovators, industry leaders, record breakers, astronauts, pilots who have become celebrities and celebrities who have become pilots. The Legends meet yearly to recognize and honor individuals that have made significant contributions in aviation. Living Legends of Aviation is a registered trademark.
About Kiddie Hawk Air Academy:
The Legends event is produced by the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, a non-profit 501(c)(3) qualified organization. Kiddie Hawk introduces kids ages 5 thru 11 to flight with the Kiddie Hawk Trainer. The Kiddie Hawk Trainer allows kids to take their first flight lesson with the sophistication of motion and control of real flight, piloting their airplane, albeit just a few feet off the ground. Kiddie Hawk follows the students as they progress, making scholarships available as Kiddie Hawk pilots enter actual flight training. The Kiddie Hawk program also introduces youngsters to other aviation related careers.
Note: The following article by Andrew Walter is a great account of what the experience of soaring and flying is all about. If you are new to aviation and soaring, read the footnotes and definitions at the bottom of this article before going on.
WHY WE FLY by Andrew Walter
Many people wonder why I spend most of my time looking up into the sky. I don’t really look for anything particular; I just like to look up into the vibrant blue sky and its liquid mountains that make such a beautiful scene. I always dream and think about flying above the clouds, for far above in the sky, it’s not the same world as it is on the surface of Earth. To be honest, the beauty of flying cannot be fully put into words.
The beauty of flying is unimaginable, the clouds right in your face, if not below you, and the ground far below you. I look down and see the bustling city, all the cars in a traffic jam, and yet here I am just floating past high above. I love looking down on the farm land and all of the rivers and streams as they start to turn golden from the evening sun. There are just so many things that make flying beautiful. From flying high above the clouds where it is absolutely stunningly beautiful, or flying low to the tree line in out in the middle of nowhere chasing the deer. There is simply too much about the beauty of flying that it really cannot be put into words.
People have always asked me why I love flying so much. People always ask me what is it about flying that makes me so addicted to it. To this day, I haven’t been able to find answer to that. There are just simply too many things that words cannot describe, too many things that one has to just experience in order to be able to understand. A lot of times I was picked on for flying, although I think part of it was jealousy. I guess people for some reason always seem to want to poke fun at something they simply cannot understand.
I always think about that time when I was able to fly on the Friday when we had our homecoming football game. I remember walking through the halls of my school hearing everyone so excited about the game. I remember the jocks getting all cocky, the cheerleaders getting all pepped up, everyone just excited about the game. I remember when that final bell rang, everyone headed to the parking lot and off to McDonald’s or some other place to eat before the game that night. I was probably the only car that left that went the opposite way to the airport.
As I arrived at Botsford Airfield I remember seeing the Grob 103 sailplane sitting in the staging area and I figured I might as well take her up for a flight. There weren’t many club members around, none of which anyway wanting to fly, so I headed out to the Grob to do a pre-flight*. I could hear car horns in the parking lot of the stadium which was only about one or two city blocks away.
After I finished the pre-flight I was ready to be towed to the launching area. As I was being towed out I was walking the wing down the runway, looking into the sky for any signs of lift, which luckily seemed to be all over the place. We reached the end of the runway and I pulled the release handle to hook up the towing rope and with a little help got the glider pointed down the runway. Aaron was there to launch me and as I was opening the canopy of the glider I remember him joking saying “There’s a lot of lift up there. I was up for about an hour and a half today, just be back before sunset”.
As I got myself seated in the glider I could hear the announcer at the game start to speak, but I didn’t bother listening in, for I had started the checklist. Aaron had signaled the tow plane to start up. I heard the crowd at the game start to get wild and cheer. With a sputter and bang that Piper Pawnee* came to life and started taxiing* over, while not far away a football was being placed on the field. I felt the tension in the towrope as the slack was being taken out for takeoff when I was hooked up. I looked over at Aaron and gave him the thumbs up and waggled my rudder*, I was ready to go.
The tow plane throttled up and we shot down the runway. I lifted off shortly, but still flying close to the ground as the tow plane build up more airspeed. Two city blocks away, our team was running on formation for kickoff. The ball was kicked high into the air as the tow plane and me lifted off and climbed out together.
It didn’t take too long to climb to 3,000 feet which was my planned release altitude. I pulled the release and felt the rope snap out. Following standard procedure I turned to the right as the tow plane did his thing. I was now flying free.
I looked down and saw the game, and realized that everyone from my school was there, only 3,000 feet below me. But yet here I was, the only one, who was flying above. The only one of all those kids who escaped gravity and climbed above which gave me a sense of satisfaction. In my head I heard kids voices say “shut up Andrew and just go fly your plane or glider whatever you call it”. But at his point in time, it didn’t matter, because I was flying, and it’s something that few get to do.
That flight was maybe the first time I realized how special flying really is. There are not too many people who will ever get a pilot’s license, or let alone even get their hands on the controls, which to me is a shame. I think that everyone should at least get a chance to at least fly a plane, even if only for 20 minutes. Ever since that game I had taken many of my fellow classmates flying, all of which loved the experience.
Every person I have taken up into the sky has seemed to have gotten a better understanding of why so many people, yet so few of us love flying. And those who I have asked me what it is like to fly, who I have taken flying, understood why I can’t describe its beauty, for flying is not something that can be put into words. Not to mention that of all the people I have taken flying, seven of those people have looked into getting a pilot’s license, or getting a glider rating.
I think that just by letting people know what it is like to fly, and give people that experience and taste of flight, we could save aviation as it is. Airports are closed every year, and to me it seems fewer and fewer planes are pulled out of the hangars to fly every year. If only people were able to taste flight, I think everyone would be shocked at how many people actually would fall in love with flying. So let this be a message to all pilots, the next time you want to fly, take someone with you who has never flown, and help them understand why we fly.
Pre-flight: To check an aircraft for airworthiness and safety before flight.
Piper Pawnee – a type of powered aircraft, which is commonly used for dust cropping and for towing sailplanes.
Taxi: To move slowly on the ground or on the surface of the water before takeoff or after landing, i.e. “an airplane taxiing down the runway”.
WHAT IS SOARING:
Soaring can be defined as the act of flying through the air without the aid of an engine and by using updrafts in the air to get up higher. You can see birds doing this all the time. A Glider or a Sailplane is a type of aircraft that achieves this type of flying. Sailplanes ordinarily get off the ground with the help of a tow plane, which is a powered airplane that pulls it up with a long rope.
There is also another type of launch whereby a winch on the ground gets used to help the aircraft gain the initial altitude.
Once up to altitude the sailplane releases from the rope and then flies freely. Finding thermals (rising warm air columns) or other types of updrafts is part of the challenge and fun of flying sailplanes, but by doing this the pilot gains altitude and prolongs his flight.
In Friends of Aviation, we are working with a lot of different aviation organizations, both nationwide and worldwide. What we seek is an increased cooperation between the different parts of the aviation community to push forward our common purpose; to keep the dream of flight alive and to enable the maximum number of people to experience what the freedom of flight is all about.
The Recreational Aviation Foundation, “RAF” was established with the purpose of keeping backcountry airports around the US open. These airstrips are vital for access by air, dispersing recreational access, fire management and search and rescue in areas that are otherwise not very accessible. If you read the great magazine “Pilot Getaways“, you have undoubtely seen some of these airstrips featured.
If you click here or on the video above, you will be able toÂ watch a great 10 minutes presentation of what the RAF does. I encourage you to support their cause, which you can do through their website www.theraf.org.
The article below has also been written for Friends of Aviation by Carmine Mowbray from the Recreational Aviation Foundation, and describes what they do;
“Keeping the legacy of recreational aviation strong
by preserving, maintaining and creating
public use recreational
and backcountry airstrips nationwide”
Established around a campfire in the backcountry of Montana in 2003 to respond to continued threats of airstrip closures, the RAFâ€™s mission has struck a chord with pilots throughout the nation. The RAF is a credible voice for backcountry aviation. It advocates that recreational aviation benefits the nation’s economy, fire-fighting, search and rescue operations and that aviation is a legitimate means of public access.
Congress passed a formal House Resolution in September, 2010, concluding:
“The House of Representatives recognizes the value of recreational aviation and backcountry airstrips located on the Nation’s public lands and commends aviators and the various private organizations that maintain these airstrips for public use.”
The RAF builds partnerships with public lands managers such as US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Bureau of Reclamation, other conservation organizations and private landowners. The RAF published “Recreational Aviation Issues and Opportunities” addressing all aspects of backcountry aviation for state, regional and national policy makers.
“It surprises public lands managers who get pressure from extreme environmentalists, that aviation is a very low-impact way to access the backcountry”,said RAF vice president Dan Prill. “They appreciate that we advocate the ‘leave no trace’ approach to land use”, he added.
How does the RAF help you? A recent success was the creation of a new 4,000 foot airstrip in Montana’s Lewis & Clark National Forest. The project came to fruition because the Montana Pilots Association partnered with RAF, working closely with the USFS.
On private land, the RAF obtained majority ownership from landowners Ben and Agnes Ryan, for a recreational airstrip adjacent to Glacier National Park â€“ now open to public use, upon confirmed receipt of a current safety briefing.
The RAF is guiding efforts in several states to add language to recreational use laws to limit liability for private landowners with non-commercial airstrips.
“I look forward to partnering to strengthen the voice of recreational aviation which benefits us all”, RAF President John McKenna stated, adding “none of us can do it alone, so we look forward to reinforcing aviation opportunities available for the long run.”
Headquartered in Bozeman, Montana, the RAF is a non-profit public charity with 501 (c) 3 status. All donations are tax-deductible. Officers, directors, liaisons and committee persons are unpaid volunteers. See: www.theraf.org