Building the RAF Team
We are pleased to announce the RAF’s Board of Directors has unanimously approved four distinguished aviators for state liaisons. Leading these positions are Lloyd Babcock of Pennsylvania, Rick Lach of California, Brad Frederick of Michigan, and Alan Cossitt of Oregon.
These four gentlemen will all make a fine addition to our nationwide campaign to create, maintain, and preserve backcountry airstrips. Watching and participating in the selection process for the first time myself, I can tell you that the diligence to make this cut is rigorous. We are immensely proud of and are understandably protective of our efforts and progression thus far.
Our well-earned image as a reliable, credible and trustworthy partner in these efforts, whether working with the General Aviation Caucus in the U.S. Congress, or with local government or private recreational airstrip owners truly is our pride and joy.
What that meant for Lloyd, Alan, Rick and, Brad was seemingly endless interviews by RAF members at the regional and national level, alongside a multi-page application that cautioned long hours, paying all of their own expenses, and exactly $0 for their time (remember, we are a volunteer organization). All this so that they can serve you, your families, and all of our fellow pilots by helping in this very important effort to keep recreational destinations open for us all to fly to.
Rick Lach and his wife Holly hail from Weldon, CA. His passion for aviation is boundless. As owner of Raven Aviation, which manufactures parts for Piper aircraft, he meets people every day who think like he does that the “lost back-country airstrips in California need to be reopened” and even more added. In addition to belonging to the RAF, Rick is a member of both the EAA and AOPA and flies a Zenair CH701. Thanks for deciding to do something powerful about it as our CA State Co-Liaison with John Kounis, Rick, welcome!
We are very fortunate to have Brad Frederick accepting the mantle of leadership in Michigan. Brad is a successful small business owner, member of the AOPA and EAA, and president of the Hastings Flying Association,a group of pilots and aviation-related individuals dedicated to providing development and enjoyable activities at the Hastings City/Barry County Airport. He flies a Piper Cherokee 180. Making his home in Caledonia, SE of Grand Rapids, Brad has great experience in preserving recreation flying. He purchased a grass strip airfield that was closed by the state, brought it up to basic utility airport status, lengthened the runway for safety, and reopened it for public use. Remarkable enough, but consider that the field is 325 miles from his home! He continues to operate and maintain the airfield with a minimum of dollars.
Alan Cossitt is our new man in Oregon. He is a techie extraordinaire from the Portland area, who as the technical lead for software at Nike, ensures that their multi-billion dollar web business operates smoothly! Alan flies a Thunder Gull JT2 tandem ultra-lite and is a member of the OPA (Backcountry Aviation Division Director), EAA, AOPA, and is a long-time volunteer for the RAF. In his application he states “…the RAF (is) critical. I believe it is key that pilots band together to preserve recreational airstrips of all sorts, not just the raw 'Super Cub' backcountry airstrips”. The RAF couldn’t agree with you more!
Lloyd Babcock, a Mooney Ovation owner from Chester Springs PA, was one of the founders of a flying club started in 1964 that is still in existence. He served as the club’s president for eleven years while building a successful regional business across eight eastern states. Based at Chester County Airport, Lloyd has been active for 47 years. He also co-chaired the committee for the State of Pennsylvania to acquire Willow Grove Naval Air Station. New to the RAF, he became excited about our mission when he met John McKenna, our president and co-founder while on a cross-country trip last year in his Mooney. I spoke with Lloyd at length about the requirements and challenges of being an RAF state liaison and was beyond impressed with his enthusiasm and eagerness to serve!
The state liaison position is where the rubber truly meets the road in our RAF. One day they may be interacting with state legislators in helping to get recreational use statutes enacted, the next speaking to an EAA chapter about our work and the next planning an airstrip work party to get your local field ready for the upcoming flying season. The next time you flare and touch down on that beautiful little sod strip with your family for that picnic, you may very well have these key volunteers to thank for it.
These four fellow airmen couldn’t be more qualified to serve in these positions, and I couldn’t be more pleased to have them join us in this endeavor. Welcome to the team guys! Please drop them a note of thanks when you get the opportunity, and ask them how you can volunteer in your state!
California State Liaison – Rick Lach
Michigan State Liaison – Brad Frederick
Oregon State Liaison – Alan Cossitt
Pennsylvania State Liaison – Lloyd Babcock
As a final note, the RAF is actively seeking volunteers for other liaison positions. Right now we have opportunities in several states, including Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, Texas, and Virginia. Please contact me directly () if you know someone with a strong desire to serve who might be able to “make the cut”