Fellow pilot and RAF board member Tim Riley recommended that I read a book by Bill Perkins entitled Die with Zero. The gist of this book is a self-help reflection guide on “getting all you can from your life and your money”, and doing so at the appropriate times in your life. 

A chapter that was particularly interesting to me was the section on life regrets. One of the top regrets is not pursuing your own dreams in order to live a life others expect of you. It takes courage to resist this tendency. 

So what has this got to do with the RAF? Thirty-five years ago, Trish and I decided that what we wanted to do was fly and camp and see the world from the vantage point of an aircraft. Other pursuits, priorities, and activities had to be set aside as we chose to fly. We have not one single hint of regret about any piece of that choice we made – be it the airplanes we were so fortunate to own, or the money we spent to pursue that dream. Our memory bank account has been filled to the limit with beautiful places and enriching people deposits. 

When it became obvious that something needed to be done to protect these special places and the opportunity for people to continue to enjoy them, the RAF was born. When that question, “If not us, who – and if not now, when?” was asked, Trish and I had little to no hesitation to throw in with the other founders to see what we could do. 

Twenty years later, here we are, with thousands of enthusiastic like-minded supporters across the country. 

This writing is not about recapping accomplishments, but rather about the joy of life, as well as the no-regret approach. I discovered that if we wait until we all have more time, more money, more talent, we likely would not all be enjoying all the RAF has brought. So I am hopeful you are doing your best to live a life free of regrets and that you and your loved ones are pleased with your decision to be a part of the RAF.

-John McKenna, RAF Chairman

Submitted on April 13, 2023.


  1. Jim hanson on April 19, 2023 at 5:17 pm

    “No Regrets”—The Title Says it All! A real “Drop the Mike” moment!

    There is the George Bernard Shaw version—well considered—and there is the Hunter Thompson take—slightly Gonzo—“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely with a well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

    George Carlin split the difference—and so did John.

    Paul Anka’s song “My Way” perhaps best reflects the McKenna view—and I love Sumatra’s take—but Sinatra’s “in your face” version isn’t the McKenna style—but Anka’s IS. EXCERPTS:

    “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention—I did what I had to do, and saw it through, without exemption—I planned, each charted course, each careful step, along the byway—and more, much more than this—I did it MY WAY. “

    John and Trish—you’ve done well—THANK YOU FOR THE GIFT OF THE RAF—for teaching us how to be tough without being rough—for showing us how to GET THINGS DONE without being adversarial—for imbuing us with “YOUR WAY” instead of “My Way” in getting things accomplished.

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