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Recreational Aviation Foundation: Preserving Airstrips and Fueling Passion for Flying

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Ever heard of the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF)? Me neither until recently, so let’s explore this noble organization dedicated to encouraging and facilitating the world of recreational flying.

The RAF Mission

The RAF is a non-profit organization that’s all about preserving, improving, and creating airstrips for recreational access. Founded by a group of Montana pilots, the RAF recognized the need for a unified effort to protect public recreational opportunities. They’re committed to keeping existing airstrips in tip-top shape and creating new public-use recreational airstrips throughout the United States.

The RAF’s Impact

The RAF’s work is crucial for all of us who love to take to the skies in our light aircraft, light sport aircraft, microlights, helicopters, gyrocopters, and vintage aircraft. They ensure that we have safe and accessible places to land and take off, making our flying experiences all the more enjoyable.

RAF’s Guiding Principles

The RAF operates based on some pretty cool guiding principles. They believe in the power of aviation as a way to access recreational resources on public and private lands. They’re all about collaboration, working with both public and private entities to find solutions that benefit everyone. They value relationships and are committed to fostering them based on integrity and transparency. They believe in the creation of new recreational airstrips to encourage the aviation community to get out and recreate. And most importantly, they prioritize safety, considering it a lifetime commitment.

RAF’s Projects and Achievements

The RAF has been involved in some pretty impressive projects. They’ve worked on preserving and improving airstrips like Ryan Barn in Montana and Trigger Gap in Arkansas. These projects not only provide fantastic places for us to fly but also help to preserve the history and culture of aviation.

Recreational Aviation Foundation: Preserving Airstrips And Fueling Passion For Flying
Photo by Jared Watney on Unsplash

How to Support the RAF

The RAF isn’t a membership organization. They rely on donations and volunteers to fulfill their mission. So, if you’re passionate about recreational flying and want to help keep our airstrips safe and accessible, consider supporting the RAF. You can donate, volunteer, or simply spread the word about the great work they’re doing.

RAF and Flight Simulation

The RAF’s work isn’t just important for those of us who fly in real life. It’s also crucial for the flight simulation community. The airstrips that the RAF preserves and creates are often featured in flight simulation products, providing a realistic and immersive flying experience for simmers. So, whether you’re a real-life pilot or a flight simmer, the RAF’s work benefits us all.

What else?

The Recreational Aviation Foundation is a vital part of the aviation community. Their work in preserving, improving, and creating airstrips ensures that we have safe and accessible places to fly, whether in real life or in the virtual skies of flight simulation. So, next time you’re soaring through the sky in your light aircraft or navigating a tricky landing in yourflight simulator, spare a thought for the RAF and the incredible work they do. Better yet, consider supporting them. After all, we’re all part of the same aviation community, and together, we can ensure that the skies remain open and accessible for all.

RAF’s Unique Offerings

Did you know that RAF supporters are entitled to some benefits? They receive a $1,000 discount on the purchase of Hartzell Propeller’s Voyager, Pathfinder, Explorer, and Trailblazer propellers through 2023. That’s a fantastic incentive for all of us who love to fly and want to support the RAF’s mission.

The RAF Way

The RAF has a unique approach to their mission, aptly named “The RAF Way”. This approach is all about collaboration, integrity, and a shared love for aviation. It’s about working together to protect our airstrips and promote recreational flying. It’s about fostering relationships based on transparency and mutual respect. And most importantly, it’s about ensuring the safety and enjoyment of all who take to the skies.

The Threat of Recreational Airstrip Closure

The threat of recreational airstrip closure is a national concern that affects pilots everywhere. The RAF, as a charitable organization, has taken up the mantle to protect public recreational opportunities. This unified effort by pilots everywhere is crucial in preserving airstrips and creating new public-use facilities across the country.

RAF’s Efforts in Bush and Backcountry Flying

Bush and backcountry flying are unique aspects of recreational aviation that require dedicated airstrips. The RAF works tirelessly to preserve existing airstrips and create new ones in these remote areas. They believe that aviation is a valid form of accessing these recreational resources, and their work ensures that these airstrips remain open and accessible.

Bush And Backcountry Flying

RAF’s Grant Process and Funding

The RAF, as a nonprofit organization, relies on grant money and donations to fund their operations. They have a transparent process for awarding grants, with a focus on projects that align with their mission. The RAF grant awarded to their Montana liaison, for example, was used to preserve amenities at an airfield, including the installation of a new windsock and the re-setting of an outhouse.

RAF’s Impact on National Parks and Regional Airports

The RAF’s work extends beyond just airstrips. They also work with national parks and regional airports to improve access for the general public. Their efforts have led to substantial improvements in facilities and services at these locations, enhancing the overall flying experience for recreational pilots.

RAF’s Transparency and Accountability

As a tax-exempt organization, the RAF is committed to transparency and accountability. Their Form 990, which is electronically filed, provides detailed information about the organization’s revenue and expenses. This document, available for public viewing, ensures that the RAF operates in a manner that aligns with their mission and serves the interests of the aviation community.

RAF’s History and Future Plans

Founded in 2001 by a group of Montana pilots who realized the threat of airstrip closure was of national concern, the RAF has grown into a national organization with affiliates across the country. They have a calendar of events and projects lined up for the coming fiscal years, all aimed at preserving and improving access to recreational airstrips. The RAF welcomes feedback from the general public and encourages everyone to get involved in their mission.

In conclusion, the RAF is more than just a charitable organization. It’s a community of pilots dedicated to preserving and enhancing the world of recreational aviation. Whether it’s preserving an airstrip in a national park, improving facilities at a regional airport, or advocating for the rights of pilots, the RAF is there, ensuring that the skies remain open for all.

RAF’s Latest News

The RAF keeps us updated with the latest news on their activities. From volunteer efforts to preserve amenities at border crossing fields to celebrating 20 years of the RAF with discounts on their anniversary products, there’s always something exciting happening at the RAF.

Get Involved with the RAF

Getting involved with the RAF is easy. You can donate, volunteer, or simply fill out your contact information to receive their communications. Every bit of support helps the RAF in their mission to preserve, improve, and create airstrips for recreational access. So, why not join the RAF community and help make a difference in the world of recreational aviation?

Final Touchdown

The Recreational Aviation Foundation is more than just an organization. It’s a community of aviation enthusiasts who share a common passion for flying. Whether you’re a seasoned pilot, a flight simulation enthusiast, or someone who simply loves the idea of recreational flying, the RAF has something to offer you. So, let’s support the RAF and help keep our skies open and accessible for all. After all, as aviators, we’re always hungry for new places to go, where new and memorable adventures await.

So, here’s to the RAF, to recreational flying, and to the incredible community that makes it all possible. Let’s take to the skies and create some unforgettable flying experiences together. Happy flying!

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