Something most have in common – they have met Richard somewhere along the path and he always had an outstretched hand to greet someone new. He was enthusiastic about RAF folk and the mission we are committed to and did everything in his own lane to ensure we got to keep the privilege of enjoying these places.

As part of his responsibilities of leading the Air Safety Institute, he sponsored and led the Backcountry Safety Initiative in an effort to devise lessons on how to avoid accidents in the backcountry. He felt that reducing backcountry accidents would help sustain our access. That got him closer to those of us in the RAF and we got to see Richard around backcountry airstrips all over the US. He would just show up always wearing a welcoming smile – he was a backcountry pilot like the rest of us.

We will miss him, and we should enshrine his legacy by remembering how important our relationships with one another truly are and take every opportunity to thank one another for being a friend – even if it’s only in a handshake and a smile.

By Bill McGlynn, RAF President
Submitted October 3, 2023


  1. JC Carroll on October 5, 2023 at 2:47 pm


    You could have not said better. Richard was a great man and a great friend. He will truly be missed. His passion for backcountry safety was enormous. We lost a great friend and advocate.

    JC Carroll
    Vy Group

  2. Bob Thomason on October 16, 2023 at 6:54 am

    Richard went everywhere to promote GA safety. He was tireless and truly committed to the cause. I was President of the owners group for twin-engine Cessnas for 12 years (The Twin Cessna Flyer) and Richard was our Convention keynote speaker one year. He gave an excellent presentation and stayed for an extra day to interact with our group. Later I bumped into him a couple times on airplane camping trips. He was the real deal – one of us and one of the best of us. He was the best representative AOPA has ever had, IMO, with the possible exception of Mark Baker who hired him.

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