As we reach the end of another year, I want to personally thank all members of the RAF for the many accomplishments of 2017, and more important, be the first to wish the RAF even greater success as we head into 2018. We have a lot to look forward to, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share a few thoughts with you about why we should be excited.

First, I was reminded of the importance of the RAF in a simple and personal way when my son asked me just a few days ago “What is the plan for flying this year?” Of course he is talking about the Super Cub, a tent and a fishing rod. These trips are more important than ever to me since he’s in high school so suffice to say that we have big plans for June of next year and we’ll hopefully see many of you then.

Next, while I have been an RAF member for several years and active in GA for decades, many of you know that I was invited to join the RAF leadership in 2017. I am humbled to be one of the “new guys” and I have quickly learned a few things that tell me how truly capable the organization is and why we should be expecting even more accomplishments ahead. I am most struck by the spirit of volunteerism and how incredibly much has been achieved through the collective volunteer efforts of so many. I am equally impressed by the strength of relationships, certainly nationally and regionally, but most importantly, locally. So many airstrips and special places are either newly opened, about to be, or permanently protected for generations to come because RAF members have fostered local and community relationships with those that share our interests. Finally, the spirit of giving within the RAF resonates perhaps the most. Time, resources, energy….it seems that no true RAF need, project or goal has gone unmet because of giving by folks like you.   

The bottom line is our efforts at the RAF have never been more important or more impactful. And we are reminded by the turn of the calendar that with the privilege of enjoyment comes responsibility. Our commitment today insures that our children and grandchildren will still be flying to these special places decades from now because we are keeping the legacy of recreational aviation strong by preserving, maintaining and creating public use recreational and backcountry airstrips nationwide today, in 2018 and beyond.

On behalf of the RAF Board of Directors, State Liaisons, Ambassadors, Members and all who support our RAF mission, my very best to you, your families and friends for the New Year!

Todd Simmons

Submitted on December 31, 2017

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