The snow has started to melt in our part of the world, the grass is greening up and it’s that time of year when heading to your favorite backcountry strip seems like just the right thing to do.

It’s also a real good time to brush the dust off your flight manual and do some spring tune up on your skill sets. I personally look forward to having a good reason to head to the airport with some definite maneuvers that need some revisiting. Stalls, steep turns, turns around a point, slow flight, and for sure being able to land on or about (like really close) to the same spot repeatedly are all skills that are must-haves before heading out. The better you are at these  – and more – the more fun, and fewer white knuckles you will have when you fly your family or friends into the backcountry for real.

So this year, along with brushing up on those skills, I would like to ask you to help all of us out by leaning in on backcountry etiquette. Understanding we are not the only ones who enjoy these special places is a great first step. Hikers, bikers, rafters, and folks on horseback are but a few of the users who share these places with us, and expect fulfillment from the experience. The RAF is pledging to put our best foot forward on being the best user we can be. I am asking you to be an ambassador to the backcountry.

More will be coming, but in the meantime, get out to your airport and get some practice in. Engage a family member or friend and treat them to this special thing that we call backcountry flying, and in the spirit of The RAF Way, leave it better than you found it. 

See you out there.

Submitted May 12, 2024

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