Facebook Icon Instagram Logo

Team RAF

It's why you learned to fly.

Click to support our work with your tax-deductible donation.

Otherwise, click here to sign up for our free email newsletter.

Highlights of RAF’s 2017 Accomplishments

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Time flies when you are having fun!  And the RAF had a bunch of it.  

The RAF annual has been completed.  We have our airworthiness certificate in hand and are good to go for 2018. Here are a few of the 2017 logbook entries we made.

Leadership – RAF Directors welcomed Todd Simmons and Peter Burwell to the RAF Board. Each bring a wealth of aviation experience and passion for the mission.

Team building – Five new State Liaisons were recruited after rigorous screening and review by the RAF Board. Anthony Longobardo has teamed up with Rick Lach in California; Steve Mason joins Andy Rowe in Maine; Christine Mortine joins Freeman Swank in Ohio; Nebraska’s new Liaison is Dan Keller; and Tim Farris represents North Carolina. Congratulations new Team RAF members!

2017 saw the roll-out of the RAF Ambassador program, initiating 12 folks across the country; and two new Vice President’s of Appreciation, Sarah Mayes and Penny Hergenrather, who join Jo Schumacher, Patricia Tyler, Kathleen Sapp, Margie Prill, Lynn Mareth and Carol Strong.

Erin White has stepped into the Volunteer Coordinator role, and looks forward to building on the great momentum of this past year.

Team training – The RAF conducted five regional educational conferences to make training more accessible to RAF volunteers. Guest speakers included industry leaders from AOPA, state aviation officials, Forest Service and BLM representatives.

Gettin’ it done – Work parties occurred all over the country, organized by State Liaisons, and assisted by pilots and local volunteers, including an important partnership in Alaska — Working with the National Park Service in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. Work was also accomplished at North Fox Island (MI); Keystone (FL); Meadowlark, (GA); Carver’s Cut (CA); Ryan Field, (MT); Trigger Gap, (AR); Creighton and McIntosh, (GA); and Grapevine, (AZ).

The RAF Grant Committee approved eight airstrip improvement grants including Fox Island in Lake Michigan, Amigos del Cielo, Double Circle Ranch, Lee Bottom and Alton Bay, an ice runway on the East Coast. Other grants went to build shower houses at Kern Valley and Arcadia, and fire rings at Schafer Meadows.

Fundraising – The RAF boosted its core strength through its first FUNdraising Auction, during ten lively days in October, thanks to many generous donors and bidders.

Safety Education – With help from AOPA’s Air Safety Institute, the RAF developed a unique survey focused on the safety challenges of recreational and backcountry flying.

Advocacy –  RAF renewed its MOU with the Forest Service and National Park Service, and through vigilance, included aviation in the Flathead National Forest Plan.

Following Idaho’s initiative, the RAF helped facilitate the New Mexico Airstrip Network.




Just Plane Fun – The RAF launched its Inaugural TRAIL, a season-long itinerary of recreational flying destinations. State Liaisons and other volunteers organized meals and hosted special activities.

2017 by the numbers –  

235 RAF Dutch oven breakfasts served;

350 scoops of ice cream served atop Hartzell’s booth during AirVenture;

1,500 handwritten 2017 Thank Yous sent, and counting!

Many thousands of volunteer hours furthering the RAF mission to preserve, maintain, and create airstrips for recreational access.