Author Archives: Randy Corfman

Ringing in the New Year provides us the opportunity to see what we liked and disliked in the previous year while making plans to make the New Year better. That is true for the Minnesota Pilots Association. We had much to be thankful for and proud of in 2016, but are really looking forward to some changes in 2017. First, we have responded to those who really wanted the Great Minnesota Aviation Gathering to be on a Saturday and Sunday, rather than Friday and Saturday. This year, for the first time, we will be able to celebrate aviation in Minnesota on Saturday, April 29 and Sunday, April 30! We hope you will find this to be a good change, and we are appreciative of the feedback that our members have provided.

Please stay tuned here and on our Facebook/MNPilots/ page as we roll out the schedule of events for the 2017 GMAG. Members will be getting an email asking for your ideas on subjects and/or speakers for our 2017 event. We will continue to be responsive as we strive to make the GMAG a must-see event.

Happy New Year to you all!

Tree of Hope Brings a Bit of Cheer to Hospitalized Youngsters

Please make note that the Tree of Hope gift drive is soon to occur!

Collection date is Saturday December 3, 2015, 9AM – 1PM at the Maple Lake Airport (KMGG) FBO building.

If you are new to the Tree of Hope, this wonderful organization helps to collect toys and distribute them to hospitals across Minnesota (since 1990). Tree of Hope is the only group that supplies toys to hospitals.
In 2015, Tree of Hope delivered toys to 38 hospitals across the state of Minnesota for infants to 18 years of age.
See the Tree of Hope website for more information about of Tree of Hope. Like us on facebook and see pictures from previous toy collections. You can also read about us in the Minnesota Flyer magazine – Oct and Nov Issues.

If you can participate by organizing a collection in your local airport community, please do so and contact the Tree of Hope via links on their webpage or Facebook page. We hope this will be a state-wide effort, not limited to just the Twin Cities! Please note that also offers you the option of making a monetary donation, in case you cannot make it out to the airport.

Tis the Season for Giving…Let’s do our best to help bring some happiness to these children’s Christmas!

Thank you!

Randy Corfman
President, MN Pilots Assn


We had a very productive Annual Meeting yesterday at Key Air, Inc. Many thanks to Michael Lawrence and the team at Key Air for making room for us!

First, we welcome Randy Schoephoerster to the Board of Directors, and congratulate him and Mike Vivion and Mary Alverson for re-election to the board! We look forward to Randy’s addition, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Board.

To those members who took time to vote, thank you. We appreciate your participation. For those of you who attended the meeting, you hopefully recognize that some very good ideas were put forth, ideas that we fully intend to explore in the months to come!

OK, enough elections, already! Let’s get ready for the Holidays!

Randy Corfman

We are delighted that three members of the Minnesota Pilots Association have stepped forward, expressing their interest in being board members for our organization.

Mary Alverson is a native Minnesotan, born in Duluth Minnesota. She is truly an adventurer, travelling around the world both personally and professionally, serving as a flight attendant for North Central Airlines, Northwest Airlines and Delta Airlines for 38 years. Mary has gone on to distinguish herself flying professionally as a flight instructor and Captain for New Mexico Airlines. She has earned her CFI, CFII, MEI ratings along with a single and multi-engine sea class ratings. Mary is the owner/operator of Wings Over Water Seaplane Training.
• FAA Designated Examiner
• FAA FAAST Representative
• Field Director, Seaplane Pilots Association
• President, Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association 2009-2012

Mike Vivion soloed in 1969 and completed the requirements for his private pilot certificate in December of that year. After being released from the military, Mike returned to the University of Montana, completing a degree in Wildlife Biology He subsequently worked for the US Fish & Wildlife Service as a Wildlife Biologist and Wildlife Biologist/Airplane pilot for 31 years. Twenty nine of those years were spent in Alaska, where he worked airplanes on wheels, floats and skis in many regions of Alaska in support of wildlife research and law enforcement operations. In December of 2005, he retired from FWS and accepted a job at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, teaching in the Aviation programs there. In May of 2013, he retired (again) from the U of M system. Mike’s wife of 19 years is Gina Carolan and the couple now resides in Bozeman MT. Mike has recently become a board member of the Montana Antique Aircraft Association, the Sacajawea Audubon Society (the Audubon chapter in Bozeman, MT) and the Montana Audubon Society.

Randy Schoephoerster is an established leader in aviation in Minnesota. He has over 10,000 hours flight time, with over 2000 hours in seaplane time. Randy holds ATP MEL, ATP SEL, ATP SES, CFI, CFII and MEI ratings. He serves as President of the Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association and is an FAASTeam Lead Representative and Field Director of the National Seaplane Pilots Association. He is owner of Air Trek North Flight School and Maintenance with locations at KLVN, KFCM and KSGS. He has served as Marketing Director and Engineering Director for Emerson Electric and served as a City Commissioner. Randy has a BS degree in electrical engineering and an MBA in marketing. He feels his strengths lie in marketing, mentoring and organizational management. He also emphasizes that he is father of three great young adults.

Ballots were emailed on November 9, 2016 to all active members. If your membership has lapsed and you wish to participate in choosing our board members, please renew your membership. Thanks!

Attention MN Pilots Assn Members in good standing…The Annual Meeting of the Minnesota Pilots Association will be held on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at Key Air at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport beginning at 11:00 a.m. Thanks to Michael Lawrence and Key Air for being willing to host the meeting.

We will be ordering pizza for those who attend. Active (paid up) members have received email ballots yesterday. We would appeciate emailing us at to let us know if you will be attending…so we can order enough pizza!!!

There are three board member positions to be filled, as indicated on your ballots. If you are not current on your membership dues and wish to cast a vote, please renew your membership so that a ballot can be emailed to you.

The nominees to fill the open board positions are: Mary Alverson, Mike Vivion and Randy Schoephoerster.


We are pleased to announce that the dates have been set for the 2017 Great Minnesota Aviation Gathering! Please mark your calendars for Saturday and Sunday, April 29-30, 2017!

Greg Herrick has kindly offered his beautiful Golden Wings Flying Museum for the fourth consecutive year, and we continue to be grateful for his kindness and support of our event and the Minnesota Pilots Association.

In response to many requests, the event will be on Saturday and Sunday, rather than Friday and Saturday. Also, we will be trying a different approach to the Hangar Flying sessions. Stay tuned, folks!

It was such welcome news yesterday…reform of medical certification has been passed by the Senate and the House and is on it’s way to the President to sign! We are so thankful for the untiring efforts of Mark Baker and AOPA in getting this important legislation passed. Here is a link to the announcement from AOPA:

There will be many details to work out, folks, but I can tell you that your efforts in supporting AOPA and in contacting your Representatives and Senators paid off. Thank you.

The Minnesota Pilots Association thanks you for your letter writing and for your support. Your support of the Minnesota Pilots Association and your actions have helped make this important event happen.

We had a wonderful time at the 2016 Great Minnesota Aviation Gathering, and thank you to all who attended YOUR GMAG! We had a bit over 900 walk through the doors of the event, and the feedback has been very positive. Our thanks goes out to all the speakers at our Hangar Flying sessions and to all who worked hard to make this a valuable and successful event. We thank our sponsors for providing funds which made the GMAG possible, and to the exhibitors who provided much information to those who spent time in the exhibit area.

It was particularly gratifying to see so many pilots milling around the Golden Wings Flying Museum, randomly visiting with other pilots, getting to know officials from a number of governmental organizations, speaking with the many vendors who exhibited at the GMAG. We are finding that the Gathering is achieving one of our missions, that of providing a social aviation event in our state. How nice it was to see people visiting with friends from other parts of the state that they hadn’t seen for some time.

We also want to give praise to Cheryl Daml, CFI, CFII, for the wonderful job she did with her Pinch Hitter course at the GMAG. She had excellent attendance and the feedback was quite positive. Similarly, Steve Thibault, CFI, CFII, gave a wonderful AOPA Rusty Pilot session at the GMAG and it, too, drew rave reviews from attendees.

Overall, it was a terrific event. We are blessed with many outstanding speakers and contributors to our GMAG, eliminating the need to pay big bucks to bring in speakers from outside the state. This translates into considerable cost savings for us, and serves as a point of pride that we have it all in Minnesota!

Thanks, again, for your membership in the Minnesota Pilots Association, and for your support of the 2016 GMAG!

Head on out to the GMAG! The weather is looking great for the next two days…the soil drains nicely and it should be no problem for parking if you decide to fly in. We have an awesome Gathering for you, so please fly or drive in to enjoy Minnesota Aviation at its best!

Please check out our GMAG page on this website for taxiing and parking directions.
Aircraft parking

This word just in from AOPA…

The Senate has passed FAA reauthorization legislation, including third class medical reform, on a 95-to-3 vote with strong bipartisan support. The measure would authorize FAA programs until Sept. 30, 2017. Final passage on April 19 followed a procedural vote the previous day.

“This is a solid bill for general aviation,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “The third class medical reform language goes far beyond the AOPA-EAA 2012 petition and means that hundreds of thousands of pilots will never need another FAA medical exam. Getting these reforms is vital to the entire general aviation community. Add to that the fact that there are no user fees for general aviation in this bill and there are provisions to continue research into unleaded fuels and increase grants for improvements to GA airports, and it’s all good news for GA.”

We salute Mark Baker and AOPA for their hard work in getting this important legislation passed. We will have more details revealed at the Great MN Aviation Gathering when Mark addresses attendees on Saturday afternoon. Thanks, Mark and AOPA!