Our many RAF supporters have such vast and varied experience, and we’re capturing some of their words of wisdom to share with you. This month’s guest editorial is from Ben Sclair, Owner/Publisher of General Aviation News.

20 Years of Todays.

Generally speaking, the most effective way to ensure tomorrow is better than yesterday is to focus on the actions of today.

And for 20 years, that is exactly what the Recreational Aviation Foundation has focused on.


It is that focus, on today, that provides a showcase for the value the RAF creates.

There are a lot of todays in 20 years. More than 7,000. 

And in those 7,000 todays, the RAF, as I see it, has succeeded in two profound ways… building relationships and doing the work.


At its core, the RAF is all about relationships. From the halls of D.C. to the neighbors of backcountry airstrips and everyone in between.

Some of those todays have found RAF volunteers in Washington D.C. to cultivate long established relationships and create new ones. 

Closer to home, RAF members have poured countless hours into public meetings with people from numerous agencies, elected officials, state governments, departments of transportation, wildlife departments, state pilot groups, and more.

These meetings attach a friendly and knowledgeable face to the organization.

Looking beyond our government, the idea of building relationships is a driving force in the RAF swelling to more than “10,000 people who care deeply and do not want to stand by and watch these places [backcountry airstrips] go away.”

Ten thousand people don’t just sign up to help because they’ll get a cool hat. Members of the RAF use today to give back. To make certain those precious backcountry airstrips are preserved for tomorrow’s aviators.


As important as meetings and relationships are, the RAF’s foundation is boots on ground that honor the commitments made in those countless meetings.

It is a symbiotic relationship (there’s that word again). 

The commitments that come from the meetings are carried out by the work of 10,000+ RAF members. And that work makes it easier, but not easy, to maintain vital relationships that allow the RAF to commit to preserving a way of life.

“The RAF is dedicated to preserving existing airstrips and creating new public-use recreational airstrips throughout the United States.”

That purpose is the backbone of the RAF and makes its value beyond measure.

And what work did 10,000+ RAF members do with 20 years of todays that will ensure tomorrow is better than yesterday? An incomplete list in no particular order includes…

  • pick up and use hand tools
  • build shelters
  • dig trenches
  • chop wood
  • set and clean outhouses (RAF commits to spending more than $500 per month to pump out those outhouses.)
  • pull weeds
  • contribute to public policy committee work
  • mow grass
  • plan and cook work party meals
  • trim brush
  • write and mail handwritten thank you notes
  • build fences
  • create noise mitigation plans
  • build picnic tables
  • attend and report on public policy meetings
  • donate bicycles
  • build and maintain camping areas
  • host fly-ins
  • exhibit at fly-ins
  • take pictures
  • make videos
  • build an online airfield guide
  • and share the love that is recreational aviation.

The RAF is more than this limited list. Much more.

I believe the definition of “leave it better than you found it” should simply point to the RAF.

The efforts of RAF members is oftentimes unglamorous. 

But the satisfaction from seeing dirt under fingernails at day’s end results in a satisfying sigh and perhaps a well-earned beverage or two among friends.

It is a willingness to do the unglamorous work today that will ensure every tomorrow will be better than yesterday.

Bravo RAF. Here’s to the next 20 years of todays.

Ben Sclair is the owner/publisher of General Aviation News.

Submitted on January 26, 2023.

1 Comment

  1. dave whitelaw on January 30, 2023 at 10:12 am

    Ben and I have been on several aviation committees here in WA state- we get to chat at the NWAC in Puyallup- he’s been an RAF supporter for many years- and is a great guy. I recently sent him a ‘Thank You’ and he responded back
    “Thank you Dave. It is an easy donation to make. The RAF serves as a model all other organizations should follow.”

    Thank you Ben!

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