Craig Fuller, President of AOPA headquartered in Frederick, MD, responded to Recreational Aviation Foundation President John McKenna’s invitation with a personal visit to Montana’s Russian Flat recently. While touring the strip and its amenities, Fuller commented, “This Russian Flat airstrip is a wonderful example of how a local pilots organization like the Montana Pilots Association in conjunction with the Recreational Aviation Foundation can work to bring a facility like this to the public.”
The first public airstrip created on USFS land in over 45 years, Russian Flat is a 4,000 foot long native grass strip, ideal for recreational use. It’s adjacent to a tree-sheltered established campground and is within walking distance from the south fork of the Judith River. To allow for reseeding the strip will be open to the general public in 2010.
Accompanying Fuller in addition to McKenna were RAF Directors Jerry Cain and Dan Prill; Tim Robertson and Project Manager Jeff Patnode, both from Lewistown’s Century Paving; Pete and Becky Smith of Lewistown and several others who have provided volunteer labor and services.
Bill Ryan, AOPA pilot accompanying President Fuller summed up the general feeling, saying, “this is the reason that we all started flying so we could go to places like this, even if our lives take us in different directions, career and flying wise; we still want to be in this kind of special place.”

Left to right: AOPA President Craig Fuller, RAF President John McKenna
and RAF Director Jerry Cain at Russian Flat, August 6

Submitted on September 15, 2009.

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