Following a nationwide search, the Board of Directors of the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) have announced Carl Hicks, 58 of Gig Harbor Washington, as their first Executive Director.  Truly a recreational pilot, Hicks received his private pilot license in August, 1975, and has several thousand hours of flight experience, remaining current ever since.  After retiring from his first career as a combat decorated, U.S. Army Airborne Ranger Officer, Carl pursued a successful career in business, attaining the COO, CEO positions in diverse companies from start-up size to nationwide.  Using aspects of his business experience on the non-profit side, he helped build the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) from a small little-known patient organization into one that is revered internationally with thousands of members around the world. Currently serving as the immediate past chair of the PHA board, Carl has extensive lobbying experience on Capitol Hill. A key vote required visiting 115 congressional offices in a 1 ½ day period which ended with the bill passing. Carl brings that same passion to the RAF.

 “One of my fondest memories in aviation was that of taking a date for a picnic before the ink was dry on my private ticket to a beautiful little grass strip alongside Pleasant Hill Reservoir near my hometown of Mansfield, Ohio” says Carl. “It was a state-owned strip that now sadly, like so many others, has vanished forever from the charts. The Recreational Aviation Foundation exists solely to prevent this from occurring in the future, preserving, maintaining and creating safe recreational airfields, and providing recreational opportunities for generations to come. ” “I am deeply honored to be selected and am deeply committed to this endeavor” says Carl.

Carl is a longtime member of the AOPA, EAA, International Cessna 180 -185 Club, and an active volunteer in the Young Eagles with several hundred missions flown in his Cessna 180A. He holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in business from the Ohio State University. Contact Carl at

About the Recreational Aviation Foundation, (RAF): The RAF is one of the fastest growing general aviation organizations in the country. An airfield advocacy and conservation group, it isa 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation with active volunteers in all 50 states. Its mission is as follows:

“Keeping the legacy of recreational aviation strong by preserving, maintaining and creating public use recreational and backcountry airstrips nationwide. ”

The Recreational Aviation Foundation has been very successful in achieving its mission by bringing together key stakeholders from federal state and local agencies as well as pilots, industry representatives and others in order to preserve our aviation legacy for generations to come. Volunteers are currently engaged in creating, maintaining and preserving across the entire country. They are seeking more volunteers and also offer the opportunity to support the organization through tax-deductible donations as donor-supporters in this important fight. 

Submitted on October 17, 2011.

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