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John J. McKenna, Jr. President
Aloft above the Mining City of Butte, a kid seeing the grandeur of Montana’s Rockies for the first time is destined to become passionate about aviation. Those early flights in a neighbor’s Bonanza motivated young John McKenna to obtain his private pilot license at the age of 16.
For forty years, he’s rarely traveled any other way, accumulating over five thousand hours, many in his Cessna 185. An IFR rating is attached to his ticket, but looking out the window at the mountainous west is John’s favorite method of navigation.
A series of airplanes have served the McKenna family pleasure trips as well as John’s New York Life Insurance practice that has spanned 37 years. John’s wife Trish also flies and enjoys her Cub. They have three children who consider the airplane the family station wagon—it’s just “how you get there.”
The McKenna’s have enjoyed living in Bozeman since 1972, where a person can own their own airstrip in Big Sky Country and truly live the aviation dream. John and Trish characterize the backcountry pilot—they will pass on the fancy lunch, pressed slacks and shined shoes at the country club for the backcountry with tent, sleeping bags, well-worn hiking boots and a few groceries… and the dog.
John’s family also characterizes the spirit of volunteerism. In addition to serving long hours for no monetary reward as president of the Recreational Aviation Foundation, John and his family are passionate supporters of Special Olympics. His involvement with that organization provided relevant background for the formation of the RAF. It was this match of this passion for aviation—and his inability to wait for someone else to do it—that provided the momentum to form the RAF.
With a full tank of energy John looks forward to seeing where this flight will take him.
“It is the best journey I’ve experienced so far,” John says.
Contact information: Phone number: 406-581-8234
Dan Prill, Vice President
Dan is a Wyoming native, raised on the Tongue River near Ranchester. He attended Sheridan Junior College, then moved to Bozeman, graduating in 1970 from Montana State University with a Masters in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering.
He moved to Great Falls to work for Drapes Engineering, doing Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, specializing in mechanical design for many of the commercial and government buildings around the state of Montana. Dan, along with two other employees, purchased the engineering firm in 1983. In 1992 Dan merged the company with his brother’s firm and the name was changed to Gordon-Prill-Drapes, Inc.
Dan’s passion for flying started in Bozeman in 1968 with the “Flying Bobcats.” Dan married Margie Ehman in Great Falls in 1972. They have four grown children and two granddaughters.
After a lengthy hiatus from flying for financial reasons, Dan finished his private pilot’s license 26 years later in 1994. He owns and flies a 1976 Super Cub and a Cessna A185F and is building a Van's RV-7. He enjoys backcountry flying and camping. He owns a sport fishing lodge on a 4,000 acre lake accessible by seaplane in northern Saskatchewan which offers terrific Canadian sport fishing.
Dan and Margie are both retired and reside near Sand Coulee, Montana. They have a private airstrip at their residence which is shown on the Great Falls Sectional as 1MT7, Prill Field. Since Montana’s Recreational use Statue now includes aviation—thanks to the efforts of the RAF—Dan and Margie invite visitors to fly in anytime.
Dan has put his shoulder to the grindstone on RAF projects in Montana, and has spent considerable time in our nation’s capital advocating for recreational aviation. “I look forward to networking with supporters throughout the country, now that the RAF has a presence in all 50 states,” Dan says.
Contact Information: Phone number: 406-788-1185
Chuck Jarecki, Founding Director
Starting out in a Piper Super Cub, Chuck got his private rating in 1960. Seeking further flying knowledge, he gained his commercial and glider licenses in 1961; then seaplane and instrument ratings. He bought a brand-new Cessna 180 in 1976 and began exploring North America from the air. He and his wife Penny have a map of the Continent, criss-crossed with their flights.
Chuck can count the number of controlled airports he’s used, preferring more remote areas. From Nome, Alaska, to Panama; and to the northern tip of Labrador in eastern Canada he’s accumulated over 5,000 hours. His passion is for the backcountry and the recreational experience it offers. He still enjoys his 180 on wheels but added a 1975 Cessna 185 on amphibious floats several years ago.
Chuck brings a wealth of knowledge on natural resource management to the RAF. His career spanned thirty years as owner/operator of a 7,000 acre cattle ranch in northwestern Montana. He’s received awards for excellence in grazing land management and soil stewardship. He served on a National Academy of Sciences committee, writing a book on evaluating rangeland health. Chuck is the go-to guy on weed control, having served ten years on Montana’s noxious weed advisory committee.
His professional associations include Society for Range Management, Montana Stockgrowers Association, past president of the Western Montana Stockmen’s Association, and Montana Beef Council—all of which offer vast background in public lands issues and environmental concerns.
Besides being a founding director of the RAF, the Montana Pilots Association (MPA) tapped into Chuck’s experience, seating him on its board of directors.
Chuck’s involvement with the RAF has been extensive. In addition to sweat-equity projects like the campground, shelter and airstrip improvements at Ryan Field near Glacier Park, Chuck compiled the RAF’s “Recreational Airstrips, Issues and Opportunities.” He drafted language for the recently-passed US House Resolution supporting recreational aviation and airstrips; and led the cooperative effort between the RAF and MPA to preserve six airstrips within the Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument.
What motivates Chuck to work tirelessly for the RAF? “I didn’t want the next generation of pilots to say, ‘Why didn’t someone do something to preserve those airstrips when they had the chance? Now it’ s too late.’ ”
Contact information: Phone number: 406-883-2248
Jerome Morrison (Jerry) Cain, Founding Director, Director Emeritus
Jerry grew up loving the outdoors, camping in the mountains, deserts and ocean shores around his home town of Pomona, CA. Jerry was surrounded by pilots in his family: an aunt, uncle and cousins were all pilots. With such early exposure to aviation, Jerry’s goal was to someday learn to fly.
Anticipating retirement, Jerry and his wife Liz decided to seek quality of life and Jerry’s ideal criteria included a ranch with an airstrip on it. They purchased Smiling Gulch Ranch in Lincoln, MT in 1990 which Jerry registered as Cain Ranch Airport 28MT. With his own airport, it was time to get the license—which he accomplished in 1992 at the age of 52. In 1994 he formed the Lincoln Flying Club with a Piper PA-28-180 and today a Cessna 182.
In 2003 Jerry joined the Montana Pilots Association (MPA) to get involved in its Recreational Airstrip Committee. It was then Jerry suggested and offered to create the independent Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) for the purpose of preserving, maintaining and creating recreational and backcountry airstrips. With the help of a small group of other Montana Pilots who’d been pursuing this idea, Jerry filed with the State of Montana and the US Internal Revenue Service to establish the RAF as an IRS 501(c) (3) Public Charity in December, 2003. Since its inception, Jerry has served as a Director and Secretary/Treasurer of the RAF.
Jerry spent his 36-year working career as a Federal Executive in the Navy’s air-launched missile testing center at Point Mugu, CA, starting as a Student Engineer upon graduation from South Pasadena High School in 1958. He holds a BSEE degree from UC Berkeley. While in California, he explored the great outdoors on trail bikes, four-wheel drive vehicles, and Arabian horses, spending hours on the trail in 50-mile cross-country endurance races.
Jerry truly demonstrates his passion for backcountry aviation through his tireless support of the RAF. His ever-present desire is to see it fulfill its mission across the entire nation.
Contact information: Phone number: 406-461-5631
Rol Murrow, Director
Rol has a wide ranging background, having worked in aerospace acoustics, film and video production, theatre operations, and management. Along the way his enthusiasm for aviation led from avocation to advocacy of local airports to vocation, including work for AOPA and the Wolf Aviation Fund. He now lives on the Continental Divide in northern New Mexico.
As a long time backpacker and camper, one of Rol's motivations for learning to fly in 1975 was for accessing by air some of his favorite places in the High Sierras and the desert areas of the Southwest, and to travel from his home in L.A. to visit friends in New Mexico. A setback making a lasting impression on Rol was the closure of one of his favorite airstrips in the Sierras—Templeton Meadows—with no opportunity for review.
Rol became familiar with the Recreational Aviation Foundation while serving on the committee to establish the Idaho Airstrip Network. He joined the RAF as a Director working on national issues, and also worked to create a New Mexico airstrips committee which has become extremely active promoting backcountry flying in that state. Rol’s work now sees him advising airstrip advocates and RAF State Liaisons in the adjoining states as well.
Contact information: Phone number: 505-362-8232
Tim Clifford joined the RAF board in 2008. He is a native of Dayton, Ohio, whose ancestors, he assures, always bought Wright Brothers bicycles. Tim has flown for business and recreation for over 35 years.
Today, Tim and his wife Ann, travel all across the country; camping under the wing of their Husky. They are often invited to speak at national conferences on the subject of protecting and enjoying recreational flying destinations. Volunteering for the RAF, Tim spends time in Washington D.C. working with legislators, natural resource managers and aviation interest groups to assure that those who enjoy this type of flying have a voice at the national level.
Tim resides in Central Florida where he actively promotes recreational flying and the wonderful flying destinations located in the South.
Contact information: Phone number: 407-341-4222
Peter Bunce, Director
In April 2005, Peter (Pete) Bunce became President and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) which is headquartered in Washington, D.C. with additional offices in Brussels, Belgium. He and the GAMA staff travel worldwide engaging regulators, policy makers and elected officials to promote general aviation and advance the interests of GAMA’s international membership of more than 73 airframe, avionics, engine and component manufacturers.
Pete retired from the United States Air Force in March 2005, with his last assignment as the Director of the Air Force Congressional Budget and Appropriations Liaison. During his 26 year Air Force career, Pete flew F-15s and A-10s, while commanding several large operational fighter units.
A Wisconsin native, Pete learned to fly as a teenager in the skies over southern Wisconsin. He entered the Air Force in 1979 as an honor graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. He received his master's degree in International Affairs from Troy University in 1988 and was an International Affairs Fellow at Harvard University in 1996-97.
Pete is an active pilot with more than 6,000 hours in military fighter and training aircraft as well as civil piston, turboprop and business jet aircraft. He holds FAA multi-engine, seaplane and instrument ratings and serves on the board of directors of Build a Plane, the Recreational Aviation Foundation and Veterans Airlift Command. Pete also serves as co-chair of the NextGen Institute and is a member of MITRE Corporation’s Aviation Advisory Committee.
Pete was named the 2007 Aviation Industry Leader of the Year by the Living Legends of Aviation. In December 2009, Pete was awarded the ICAS Sword of Excellence, the air show industry’s premier annual award. In January 2010, he was inducted as one of the seventy Living Legends of Aviation. Pete and his wife Patty reside in Arlington, Virginia and have six children.
Contact information: Phone number: 202-393-1500
Reade Genzlinger, Director
Reade Genzlinger was born in Pennsylvania. He learned to fly in gliders. Has owned and restored a number of aircraft – J-3, PA-18, Yak-52, T210, Husky A1-B, etc. With wife Lynn he has raised 5 children (one pilot) and now live mostly in Alpine, WY. Reade serves on boards of several companies and foundations. He has been in the financial services business for the past 25 years working with 2 partners providing accounting, trust administration, tax and estate planning services.
As a former flatlander he likes to fly the back country and discovered the RAF while working with fellow board member Rol Murrow on another aviation related board. Reade was impressed with the can do attitude of the group and what it has accomplished.
Contact information: Phone number: 267-228-6593