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 www.mnseaplanes.com 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.
President, Minnesota Pilots Association
Patrick Halligan, the MN Pilots Association Scholarship Chairman, would like to
thank all the pilots who applied for the Captain Edward L. Erickson Scholarship. Pat
says “not only was I impressed with the application letters, but the recommendation
letters that were sent, spoke highly of each individual.” We could of easily awarded
half a dozen scholarships, if we had the money, because there were that many
qualified applicants. The pilot chosen for the Captain Erickson Scholarship is Joseph
Taylor. Just before picking the winner, the MN Pilots BOD decided to add a second
scholarship. We used the applications from the Captain Erickson Scholarship to pick
that winner. So, the recipient of the MN Pilots Association Scholarship is Samantha
Ripley. You can read about Joseph and Samantha in their respective articles, on our
website. They will be awarded their two thousand dollar aviation scholarship at the
Great MN Aviation Gathering (GMAG) on April 27 th . The GMAG runs April 26 and
27 th at the Buffalo Airport, west of Minneapolis. On behalf of the scholarship
committee and the MN Pilots Assoc. thanks to everyone who took the time to apply.
You young pilots have a lot going for you and according to the letters of
recommendation; you are on the right track and have already made a network with
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
We can’t afford to lose any airports in Minnesota, and any help you can offer will be appreciated. Thank you!
Kurt Pennuto, our RAF State Laison, sent me this summary of the events at the Bowstring Airfield meeting last Wednesday. Apparently approximately 20 aircraft flew in. I think this helps demonstrate the influence we can have on issues such as this. Our challenge now is to keep on using these airfields, and not simply let the airport go unused.
This summary is from our very own Jeff Russell (the Wisconsin version)…
I flew up to Bowstring airport in northern Minnesota yesterday to support Kurt Pennuto in representing the RAF. It is really a beautiful airport in a great location. It’s in the heart of the Minnesota northwoods and lakes area that is truly a special place. Kurt did a great job identifying this strip as one with high recreational value and one that the RAF should be involved with.
The Bowstring airport was rumored to be under threat of closure. Yesterday’s meeting included Itasca county commissioners, airport commissioners, Mn-DOT, and about 45 or so interested pilots and citizens.
The meeting went very well. The county commissioner opened the meeting saying that they were really not considering closure but that there were issues that need to be addressed. The county’s biggest issued appeared to be related to their airport ownership and the perception that this ownership was exposing them to liability. At the root of the matter was that they had airport inspection from MN-DOT two years earlier wherein Mn-DOT noted 17 obstructions at the airport (trees) that needed to be removed. There was typical poor communication between the airport commission and the county commissioners. Upon belatedly learning of the non-conformance of the airport, the county (especially the county attorney) appeared to have gotten a bit agitated.
The county commissioners were actually quite surprised by the turnout to the meeting. They specifically noted the RAF’s attendance and appreciated us being there. In the end, the meeting served to re-establish communications between the county and the airport commission along with MN-DOT. The perceived threat of closure is now gone and the airport even learned of additional funding that was available from MnDOT. It appears that the future of the airport is on an even better path.
Many thanks to those of you who attended the meeting, or contacted the Commissioners. You made a difference!
We are only days away from the 5th Annual Great MN Aviation Gathering, folks and the weather forecast is looking TERRIFIC for the event this year (….it is about time!). Please click on the link at the top of the page and look for the schedule of events, and please plan to attend both days!
We will be posting instructions for those who choose to fly in on the GMAG page. If you choose to fly in, please bring your own tiedowns! We hope you will fly in, as this is one of the great perks of our event…YOU CAN FLY IN AND TAXI RIGHT UP TO THE GOLDEN WINGS FLYING MUSEUM VENUE!
We will be holding a silent auction for some very big items (Garmin equipment and Float Plane rating/resort lodging), as well as a big raffle, on Saturday noon.
We will also be selling tee shirts with the 2018 GMAG Photo winner on the shirt! …and posters of the same!
Hope to see you there!
We are pleased to announce that Patrick Halligan has been elected to serve a three year term on our Board of Directors, and that Gregg Strathy and Steve Thibault have been re-elected to the Board to serve another three years.
Congratulations to them, and thanks to them for making the commitment to serve our members to further general aviation in Minnesota!
Please review this nicely organized document which succinctly outlines why we continue to be firmly against ATC Privitization. Our Representatives are home for recess, and tomorrow will be a perfect time to CALL them and ask them to vote AGAINST H.R. 2997! Kudos to AOPA for leading the charge against this change!
I just watched the AOPA Live link in which they describe the urgency of calling your Congressman NOW to urge them to vote against H.R. 2997. They also did a nice story about Roger and Darren Meggers, who are building the AOPA Sweepstakes Super Cub in Baker MT. Nicely done!
They offer a good summary, at the end, as to why it is important to stop the House version (H.R. 2997), which includes privitization. The Senate version does NOT contain this language, hence the lack of push to stop that bill. The danger lies in what happens in a conference committee, should the House and Senate versions pass…the devil would be in the compromise that would be reached.
They also point out that we should not be intimidated by the staff person who picks up the phone at your Congressman’s office. That person wants to know: 1. your address with zip code; 2. the bill you are calling about (H.R. 2997); and 3. whether you want them to vote yes or no. I found this to be true when I have called my Congressman and our (worthless) Senators Klobuchar and Franken. They don’t want a discussion about why you want them to vote yes or no, they want bottom line. Give it to them.
You can find out who to call by googling “who is my Congressman”. Call them right now.