By Helena Wimpole

The International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians (IFFR) originated in 1965 in Seattle, Washington, and is one of the oldest Fellowships. It has members from more than 60 countries throughout the world, and like all Fellowships, the IFFR promotes friendship and Rotary service amongst its members. Rotarians, Rotaractors and their families who have a keen interest in aviation are eligible to join…and you don’t have to be a pilot! Membership ranges from those who love airplanes, to air traffic controllers, engineers, aircrew and of course general aviation pilots.

The IFFR is divided into three world regions: the American Region; Australasia Region; and, the European Region. With widespread geographical locations, the goal of Flying Rotarians is to help achieve the furtherance of the ideals and objectives of Rotary International throughout the world, and benefit international understanding. 

Well organised, the Fellowship maintains good contact with its members through its World Newsletter.   

The Fellowship conducts ‘Fly-Ins’, or conventions, where members meet at a destination anywhere in the world, often a member’s Rotary club, and then enjoy several days of fellowship and activities. Some pilots who own a plane, fly to the site; some hire planes; others fly commercially; and, some drive. ‘The Long Way Round’ is an itinerary for those with access to an aircraft to extend the ‘Fly–In’ fellowship experience by visiting more places on the way. At each International Rotary Convention, the IRRF conducts a ‘fly-around’ of the city and surrounds.

Australia has its own section of Flying Rotarians and its own newsletter, Rotate. Fly-Ins are organised twice a year around April and September.

Many IFFR members fly their own personal airplane in support of international activities. They donate their time, funds and aircraft use to supply outlying areas with medical, dental, optical and surgical aid in the form of material, equipment, tools, machinery, medicines, time–critical fluids and transplant organs and tissue. These Flying Rotarians truly provide an amazing service for people living huge distances from major cities.

Whilst Santa isn’t yet a member of IFFR, we think his team of reindeer would exemplify this Fellowship’s objectives.

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