Stopping the disease of addiction before it starts to ensure healthy futures for America's teens

Flights Above Addiction

Flights Above Addiction is a traveling teen art and aviation program that informs communities that addiction is a preventable chronic brain disease contracted in adolescence 90% of the time.

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Media $500 Contests

Media $500 Contests invite secondary students to produce compelling art and media illuminating the risk of early alcohol, tobacco, and other drug exposure.

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Science of Addiction

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.

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Crazy Pilot Coming To Santa Ynez Airport Day… Again!

SafeLaunch returns to Santa Ynez Airport Day with a Crazy Pilot, Paint and a Message on Saturday, May 21

Santa Ynez EventPilots and future pilots attending last year’s Santa Ynez Airport Day were stunned to see one pilot encourage kids to paint bright images all over his airplane! This Saturday, May 21 from 10am-3pm, he’ll be back.

Almost every pilot who witnessed the throng of enthusiastic kids painting the white Cessna Skylane last year thought that he must be crazy. He may well be, but there is a mission and a method to his madness. It’s called SafeLaunch and it is the name of the nonprofit Ron Cuff co-founded with Janet Rowse, wife of Santa Barbara City Councilmember Randy Rowse.

SafeLaunch, the name that implies launching kids safely into adulthood without the burden of addiction was derived from the thousands of safe launches from aircraft carriers that Commander Cuff witnessed and participated in while serving as a Naval Aviator.

SafeLaunch is the nation’s one and only nonprofit of its kind, 100% dedicated to primary prevention. According to Cuff, “Parents need to know that addiction affects over 23 million Americans and that 90% of it starts in the teen years.” Janet Rowse emphasizes the scientifically-proven vulnerability of teens’ developing brains– “This brain disease is almost 100% preventable, so it isn’t good enough to hope that your child will make a good decision whenever an opportunity presents itself,” she says. “Parents need information and tools to protect their children’s developing brains and futures, which is what SafeLaunch provides”.

Regardless of the “crazy pilot” moniker, Cuff can’t be dissuaded. “Hey, I’ve got a blank canvas that flies, and we tell kids that painting a life free from addiction is the way to go. All they need is a destination, a flight plan and a clear head.”

“Our Flights Above Addiction plane painting exhibit gives kids a chance to get up close and personal with aviation. It’s our hope that they will see their dreams take off just like this colorful airplane”, adds Rowse. “We invite everyone to come to this great local event where kids can take a free flight thanks to this great Santa Ynez airport, some committed EAA Young Eagles pilots and a generous community of sponsors.

For more information call 805-283-7233 or email

Pledging to Keep Kids Safe at Wings Over Fullerton

The weather broke just in time for a glorious day of plein air plane painting for kids at the Fullerton Airport Day 2016. The organizers of the event were generous and helpful, the kids enthusiastic, and the air and ground activities entertaining!

Mixing Kids with Art & Aviation to Make Magic at the 2016 Wings Over Fullerton Airport Day

SafeLaunch co-founders Janet Rowse and Ron Cuff will make Wings Over Fullerton Airport Day the first stop on the 2016 Flights Above Addiction tour. This Saturday, May 7, they will fly Cuff’s 2000 Cessna 182 from Santa Barbara to Fullerton, to inspire local kids to paint their dreams directly on his plane at the event.

The name “SafeLaunch” refers to launching kids safely into adulthood without the crushing burden of addiction. The genesis for the name came from Ron’s career in Naval Aviation.

Cuff tells the youth who paint his plane that, “a successful life is like a successful flight… it must be planned.” He explains that a great future requires a healthy mind and body, free from habitual intoxication. During the Pre-flight lesson, each young person chooses a destination…a career or two on a “Pre-flight” card. They learn that choosing a path is as important as a pilot choosing a destination. They hear that their brain is like their own private pilot that can take them wherever they decide to go… as long as it stays healthy. At the end of the lesson they sign the SafeLaunch pledge that states, “I will not experiment with drugs or alcohol because my growing brain is susceptible to addiction.”

The wings of Ron’s airplane carry the names and stories of 14 young people who died from drugs or alcohol. They are now the “wind beneath the SafeLaunch wings”. When young people and their parents see the names and tender ages of death on the underside of the Cessna’s wings, they are reflective and thoughtful. They are captivated by the pictures and stories of the very young people who lost their lives to the rapidly spreading epidemic of addiction and overdose. Parents who have lost children to drugs or alcohol are invited to find out more by visiting their Wind Beneath Our Wings webpage.

To sponsor a Flight Above Addiction in your area, email or call 805-283-7233.