RAF supporter Joe Feiler of Casper, Wyoming loads his tools into his Cessna Cardinal and brings his skills where the RAF is making an impact. His support has included a donation of materials and his volunteer labor constructing Cabin 4 at Ryan Field. Joe created a plaque that is mounted on the front of the cabin honoring his father, a World War II fighter pilot stationed at Pearl Harbor during the attack. Like Ben Ryan, Airman Feiler survived bailing out of his aircraft, which created a meaningful connection for Joe, and worthy of his substantial contribution. He drew upon his father’s footlocker full of combat reports and photos for the message on the plaque.
Joe says he “came to flying late, compared to some.” He learned to fly in Casper’s infamous wind, partnered on a Cessna 182, got involved with the Civil Air Patrol, then bought his Cardinal. “It was a breakthrough moment in my life,” he says. “I suddenly realized how accessible the backcountry is. The airplane gives you the ability to get out early, set up camp, and you have the rest of the day to recreate.” He admits the Cardinal is not commonly thought of as a backcountry plane, but with attention to conditions, it has taken Joe and his wife Julie into many Idaho and Montana backcountry fields.
Of all his outdoor passions, “None of it has given me more enjoyment than aviation,” he says. For 35 years he taught Career and Technical education, including woodworking, carpentry and welding. “When I got my pilot license, I was told it was my ticket to learn, and my chance to constantly improve my skills,” a clear parallel to his approach during his teaching career.
Joe has memberships in other professional and sport organizations, and says, “All organizations have their mission, but what separates the RAF from other organizations is the great people. They share a passion for aviation and work hard toward common goals. I’ve never met a better group of people who enjoy working on a common cause, then enjoy sharing the fruits of their labor.”
Joe can be reached at email@example.com.
Submitted on August 15, 2023.
By Carmine Mowbray