Chuck Wiplinger, president of Wipaire, Inc. joined RAF Chairman John McKenna in Washington, D.C. to testify before the House Subcommittee on Interior Appropriations.

Chuck packed his five-minute testimony with very persuasive comments including a bit of history on US Forest Service founder Gifford Pinchot, and a life-saving rescue flight out of the Selway. He closed with a request for $750,000 allocations from the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management to maintain airstrips, with continued cooperation from the RAF.

Chuck simplified the mission and goals of the RAF in very clear terms of access, safety, history and service. His brief testimony is well worth viewing at the 1hr 38 minute point in this hearing video:

Ohio Rep. David Joyce then read a statement from Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson supporting Chuck’s request for funds and thanking the RAF for “the work you do to highlight the importance of maintaining these backcountry airstrips.”

After the formal hearing ended, Chairwoman Rep. Betty McCollum commented to Chuck, saying, “I know you folks do a lot of great work.”

“I want to personally thank Chuck for making the trip to D.C. on his own time and dime on behalf of the RAF,” John said. “This tells you a good deal about the kind of people we have looking out for us, but more importantly, it tells you about the kind of guy Chuck is. This kind of exposure is invaluable when you realize we are advocating our kind of flying in front of the U.S. Congress,” he added. 

“We were asking for the least amount of everyone there,” Chuck said. “I think it was a productive meeting for us.”

The men had one-on-one meetings with the staff of Rep. Collin Peterson of MN who chairs the Agriculture committee. John had a morning meeting with the staff of Rep. Chris Stewart of UT who also serves on the committee. Some may recall that Rep. Stewart was the opening speaker at the 2014 RAF Red Rock Roundup in St. George, UT.

“I’m very glad we made the trip. The committee members seemed engaged, and sympathetic to our request,” Chuck added. 

Submitted on February 28, 2019

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