Author Archives: Randy Corfman

We had an excellent Annual Meeting last night via Zoom.  Thank you to all who attended on a cold night!

It is a pleasure to welcome Michael Bergeson and Andy Brown to the Board of Directors of the MN Pilots Assn!  As you were able to see from their bios they bring a wealth and breadth of aviation experience to our Board.  Welcome to the Board!

It is bittersweet, at the same time, to see Jim Peterson and Michael Lawrence complete their terms on the Board.

Jim was one of the founding Board members, having served as Treasurer since inception.  He was one of the Gang of Nine who were kind enough to believe in the need for an organization such as the Minnesota Pilots Assn, and they gave freely of their time, energy and expertise to get our organization airborne.  As I would expect, Jim has kindly consented to remain very involved with our organization.  He is a quality person and an effective leader.

Michael Lawrence has been an up and coming leader in aviation in Minnesota for many years.  He has been active in aviation at the corporate level, first at the Anoka County-Blaine airport and more recently at Flying Cloud airport.  He is a soft spoken leader who is innovative and effective, and he will be missed.

Bios for Michael Bergeson and Andy Brown will soon be up on our website in the “About” section.  They are eager to serve and bring new energy and ideas to our organization.

Invitations for accessing tonight’s Zoom session for the Annual Meeting were sent last evening to those who are members in good standing (i.e., current with membership dues).  A number of members have found the link in their “junk” folder, or “spam” folder, so please look there for the link permitting access to the Zoom meeting.  Thanks!

President’s Briefing 1 24 2021

The 2021-2022 Annual Meeting of the Minnesota Pilots Association is set for Tuesday evening, January 25, 2022 commencing at 7:30 p.m.  All members in good standing are welcome to attend the meeting.

Please mark Friday and Saturday, May 20-21, 2022 to your calendars for the Great Minnesota Aviation Gathering at the Buffalo Municipal Airport!  AOPA has kindly agreed to provide the Rusty Pilots Seminar series again and we promise to have a full slate of terrific speakers for the event.  Rumor has it that we may be having a “swap meet” at the GMAG this year!

If you have ideas for the GMAG please email them to [email protected] and they will be considered!

Stay warm and Happy Flying!

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 Supercub.org, 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 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.

Randy Corfman
President, Minnesota Pilots Association