Ever since attaining his tailwheel endorsement “at the turn of the century” in Helena, Montana in a club Citabria, Rob Aho says he has been hooked on backcountry flight. He has flown many sorties into and near the Bob Marshall Wilderness with the express purpose of camping and fly fishing. As an environmental remediation engineer working on abandoned Montana mine cleanups, he was able to spend time in the air in Big Sky Country.

Rob later returned home to Michigan, taking a job in the Upper Peninsula – fondly called the Yoop – where his family has deep Finnish roots. He engaged in remediation work in the Copper Country of the UP as an engineer responsible for a $15 million Superfund project to stabilize mine tailings from a historic ore stamp mill operation. He then took on responsibility for assorted stream reconstruction projects in the Copper Country. 

Flying opportunity was limited and kids began to arrive, so he embarked on constructing his own taildragger with handling characteristics similar to the Citabria.  

“In 2011, I took flight in my Rans S-7S Courier, and it wasn’t long before I outfitted the plane with Bushwheels, skis and other Alaska mods,” he says. It was during this time that he became an RAF supporter. Ever since, he has flown each of his three kids into North Fox Island and Two-Hearted airfields, in addition to countless local frozen lakes and beaches. 

His plane is based on a grass airstrip and hangar that he designed and built near his residence. He joins Michigan Liaison General Grant and Ambassadors John Riordan and Brad Frederick, former Liaison. “As an RAF Michigan Liaison, I hope to further improve and expand flight access into the Yoop backcountry,” he says.

Contact Rob at

Submitted on December 22, 2023.

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