Author Archives: Randy Corfman

2021 Edward L. Erickson Aviation Award


The recipient of the 2021 Captain Edward L. Erickson Aviation Scholarship is Wyatt Jones.  Wyatt Jones is a Commercial Aviation student at the University of North Dakota.  He has received numerous recognitions in academia, athletics and the arts and has had a thirst for aviation since his first aircraft ride in a two-seat ultralight over Mora, Minnesota.  He is working on a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautics, with a major in Commercial Aviation and a minor in Atmospheric Sciences, with a specialization in Business Aviation.  He writes that “I have found that flight training is no small expense” and the greatly appreciates scholarships which can help him achieve his goals.  He is working on his instrument/commercial/multiengine/complex ratings.  We are very happy to bestow this scholarship on Wyatt.

2021 Janette Strathy Aviation Award


The recipient of the 2021 Janette Strathy Aviation Scholarship is Alicia Cerney. Alicia is studying Commercial Aviation at the University of North Dakota.  She is very aware that college is expensive, and that majoring in aviation only adds to those costs.  She is very grateful to be a recipient of this scholarship.  She works on-campus jobs to help further her education.  The feels she has the drive, love, passion and determination to be an aviator.  She appreciates the example set by other women aviators and hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams in aviation.  We are very pleased to award her this scholarship.

UPDATE from Alicia:

I wanted to send an update with my flight progress this summer. I recently just finished my 3rd flight course at UND and received my Instrument Rating! It was great experience to take this course in the summer to get some actual time!

2021 GMAG Flyer

Please take a moment and mark your calendars and plan to attend the 2021 Great MN Aviation Gathering!  We have a terrific lineup of presentors and presentations and we hope you can join us for BOTH days at the GMAG.  We will be providing listings of hotels in the area, and we are planning to have camping under the wing of your airplane available, making it possible for you to enjoy outdoor fellowship with your flying friends Friday evening.  Stay tuned as we begin to provide a schedule of events!  See you there!

2021 GMAG is a Go!

We are most pleased to let you know that the 2021 Great Minnesota Aviation Gathering will be held on Friday and Saturday, May 21-22, 2021 at the Buffalo Municipal Airport (KCFE).   The Board of Directors met and developed what we felt to be a sound plan to make the event Covid-Safe and thanks to the Buffalo Airport Commission voting unanimously in favor of hosting the event the City of Buffalo gave us clearance to launch!

We are proceeding full rich, throttle forward and we are getting this baby off the ground!  We are in the process of arranging speakers, exhibitors, sponsors and advertisers.

Please mark the dates and make plans to attend both days at the event!  Stay tuned for updates here and on our Facebook page!

Bill Rusk AK Presentation

If you are looking for a way to spend a little over an hour watching beautiful scenery, please hit this link, turn up the volume, sit back and relax!

Steve Johnson, at, arranged for Bill to give a presentation to us via Zoom video last Wednesday evening and it was recorded.

Bill Rusk, who has spoken at our Great MN Aviation Gathering in the past, is a Captain at Southwest Airlines. He built a beautiful Javron Super Cub, put it on floats (as a matter of fact, his airplane is featured on the cover of Midwest Flyer magazine this quarter…photo taken by MN Pilots Assn member Brad Thornberg), and over the course of 4 years has visited most parts of Alaska. You will see many things, including the monument to Will Rogers and Wiley Post near Barrow, AK, where they met their demise. Bill documents not only the beauty of Alaska, but also the beauty of friendships that can be made through aviation.

Bill will be speaking at the 2021 GMAG, sharing not only his experiences flying in AK but also the flight planning that we might consider if we make this trip.

I hope you will enjoy this!

Why We Moved the GMAG to May in Future Years

Some of our members have asked why the decision was made to move the Great Minnesota Aviation Gathering (GMAG) annually to mid-May. In response please accept this as a description of our reasons for making this move.

Before the first GMAG, in 2014, the MN Seaplane Pilots Association’s Safety Seminar was the only viable outlet for pilots to get together in MN and enjoy each other’s company. The leadership of the Seaplane Safety Seminar was successful in covering topics regarding safety not only for seaplane operations, but also for land ops. We were aware that a significant proportion of those who attended that event were not float plane pilots, nor rated for seaplanes. We understand that this was precisely why the MNDOT Aeronautics chose to be a major proponent of the Safety Seminar, as well as a major contributor to keeping the event afloat, even as attendance dwindled.

We did our best to give that event, as well as other major aviation events, a wide berth. We wanted to maximize the ability for a person to take in many events, and to that end we began by holding the first GMAG in March. We gradually moved the event later and later in an effort to gain better weather in which to hold “tent” venues for the presentations. You may recall how distracting and cold the tents could be, but you came despite the challenges posed by weather.

It has been gratifying to see the numbers of attendees grow and stabilize at the GMAGs. We have several hundred people attend the GMAGs, and we feel that the move from the Anoka County-Blaine airport (KANE) to the Buffalo Municipal Airport has been a positive one. At the same time we have watched the attendance of pilots at the Seaplane Safety Seminar decrease, then more recently stabilize. It remains a great event, however, and we appreciate that fact. We think we cannot have too many aviation events that emphasize safety and offer the chance to visit with other pilots.

There are seaplane pilots who attend the GMAG, and “wheel” pilots who attend the Seaplane Safety Seminar, and some that attend both! We are really happy to see that “cross pollination”! Given the relative numbers of pilots in each group, however, we feel that the time has come to try to be inclusive of both populations at the GMAG so as to benefit all of aviation in Minnesota. We will continue to have presentations regarding seaplane operations at the GMAG.

We have discussed the change in dates with the leadership of the MNDOT Aeronautics and our Sponsors and have been assured that they will not only continue to support the GMAG but also expand their participation in our event, providing the same services and benefits that they have given to the MN Seaplane Pilots Association for several years.

Taken together, we feel that holding the GMAG’s annually on the weekend after Mother’s Day/Fishing Opener in Minnesota will provide many benefits to pilots in Minnesota. There will be some years in which the dates may coincide with the Seaplane Safety Seminar, but we feel the benefits far outweigh the downside for the majority of Minnesota pilots.

2020 GMAG Cancelled

It is with regret that the Board of Directors of the Minnesota Pilots Association has decided to cancel the 2020 Great Minnesota Aviation Gathering.

We have followed the COVID-19 (Corona virus) situation closely, as we are sure you have, as well.  The precautions that have been put in place by State and Federal officials have significantly reduced our ability to celebrate aviation in Minnesota as we have for each of the past 6 years.  Many of our sponsors, exhibitors and speakers have taken the position of withdrawing from participating on the dates we have planned.  We have explored the possibility of postponing the event but, with the uncertainty with regard to lifting of restrictions, it makes it difficult to establish another date.

We will be initiating refunds to all sponsors, exhibitors and advertisers within the next few days.  We join together to thank them for their support of the GMAG and the Minnesota Pilots Association.

We will be announcing recipients of the scholarship awards in the near future, as well as recognizing the individual and EAA chapter who have given the most Young Eagle rides in 2019.

We encourage you to continue to support and attend the Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association Safety Seminar, which is scheduled to be held at Madden’s Resort on May 15-17, 2020.  Please follow their website at for updates on their event.  We truly hope that restrictions will be lifted by the time of their event.

We thank you for your support and look forward to the 2021 Great Minnesota Aviation Gathering.

Randy Corfman
President, Minnesota Pilots Association

Captain Edward L. Erickson Aviation Scholarship

We are delighted to announce the inauguration of the Captain Edward L. Erickson Aviation Scholarship! Ed was our first nominee to the prestigious Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame, and the scholarship will be awarded in his memory to a pilot who is pursuing advanced ratings and certifications on their way to becoming a professional pilot. We are thankful for the donations to the scholarship fund, and to members of the MN Pilots Assn, whose membership dues are being put to good use! Thank you! Please review the following flyer for details on the award.

Application letters and Letters of Recommendation should be sent to Patrick Halligan at Deadline for submission is March 24, 2019.

2020 GMAG!

We are delighted to announce that the 2020 Great Minnesota Aviation Gathering will again be held at the Buffalo Municipal airport (KCFE) on Friday and Saturday, April 24-25, 2020!

Please mark these dates down on your calendar.  We hope to see you there!

Randy Corfman
President, MN Pilots Assn


We have been made aware of the closure of KBFW, the Silver Bay MN Municipal Airport. I have reached out to MN DOT Aeronautics to find out more about the action, but would appreciate learning anything you might have to share to provide insight into what is going on there.  Please email me at

We can’t afford to lose any airports in Minnesota, and any help you can offer will be appreciated.  Thank you!