Captain Barry Schiff is now serving as honorary spokesperson for the Wolf Aviation Fund, which provides grants to people doing great work in general aviation.
Schiff, retired after a long time airline career for TWA, has enjoyed a parallel career as an aviation writer, with more than 1,600 articles and dozens of books and videos to his credit. He has earned worldwide recognition for his aviation accomplishments and writing, which occurred during a career flying almost 28,000 hours in more than 325 types of aircraft.
Many of his articles celebrate those who champion aviation as educators, airport advocates, and innovators in aviation. He served for many years as chairman of the Santa Monica Airport Association, where he was directly involved in the battle to preserve that airport in the 1980s, and later to preserve access for general aviation in the skies of Southern California following the sudden closure of the visual flight corridor over Los Angeles International Airport, which was subsequently reopened.
“I am delighted to be able to volunteer in support of the Wolf Aviation Fund,” Schiff said. “Over the years I have seen many wonderful programs and projects come alive because of the support and recognition that have resulted from Wolf Aviation Fund awards.
“In fact I received the fund’s very first grant in 1992, for my proposal to create VFR Routing Charts through busy terminal control areas,” he continued. “This grant encouraged me to persevere with this project, which led to a greater understanding of how important it is to maintain plenty of accessible airspace around busy metropolitan areas. This enhances the flow of traffic, greatly reduces the burden on air traffic control, and makes it possible for reliever airports to remain viable and useful for communities and aviators alike. I know first hand how much a Wolf Aviation Fund award means to any individual or group struggling to bring some new program to light. We should all think of how we can help make great things happen in aviation.”
Since that first grant, the Wolf Aviation Fund has gone on to provide more than 300 more awards, to individuals and groups working to inspire children to learn from aviation, serve those in need by flying as volunteer pilots, preserve our airports ranging from mountain airstrips to large airfields, develop new technologies and products, gather together to work together in support of general aviation, and to learn how to tell their stories and develop public support and recognition for their efforts.
Schiff has helped the fund previously, serving as a consultant and volunteering his time to appear in a video as part of the “Lessons Learned: First Aid Kit for Airports” project.
The fund’s Executive Director Rol Murrow notes, “We are truly honored to have Barry support the Wolf Aviation Fund in this way. He personifies not only the image of a consummate aviation advocate, but also as ‘every pilot’s pilot,’ helping all pilots everywhere in becoming better aviators — and in fighting for general aviation.”
In addition to providing grants, the Wolf Aviation Fund is engaged in a campaign to raise additional funds, which will permit it to provide more awards for new projects and programs. Recently the fund has received more — and more excellent — proposals, yet not all have been able to be funded, Murrow noted.
“We have seen how the problems of our economy have negatively affected aviation,” he said. “It has also made it especially hard for those with small or startup projects to find the financial support they need. This can be very discouraging. We welcome Barry’s acting as our champion, encouraging those who have enjoyed being able to fly or who have been successful in aviation to contribute directly to the hundreds of folks and groups we have supported, and to our Fund so we can support even more. Our goal is to make their dreams come true.”
The Wolf Aviation Fund is a non-profit foundation created thanks to Alfred “Abby” and Constance “Connie” Wolf, who left their estate for the purpose. Connie was a world record-setting gas balloonist and Abby was a prominent Philadelphia attorney and one of the five founders of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.