Aviation News

The Recreational Aviation Foundation

by on Dec.28, 2010, under Articles, Aviation, Green Aviation, Video of the day

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 to 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 RAF’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 – 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

AOPA president Craig Fuller visits Russian Flat, the new recreational airstrip on USFS land; left to right: Fuller, RAF president John McKenna; RAF director/treasurer Jerry Cain


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