Category Archives: News

2022 Aviation Scholarship Award Winners

One of the missions of the Minnesota Pilots Association is to promote education and to that end we offer two aviation scholarships and two aviation maintenance technician/avionics technician scholarships, each in the amount of $2000. Here are the fine young people who are recipients. Many thanks to board member Pat Halligan and his committee for the diligence and attention that was directed to this important mission!

Philip Krzyszton
MN Pilots Assn Aviation Maintenance Technician Scholarship

Philip Krzyszton is enrolled in the Aviation Maintenance program at Northland Community and Technical College In Thief River, MN. He carries a school work load of 23 semester credits and works fifty hours a week, to help pay his tuition. He says he has had to develop his time management skills. It appears he is doing a good job, at it. He is studying for his instrument written as he has his private pilot certificate. If you are a pilot and can fix your own airplane, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Ryder Lutgen
MN Pilots Assn Aviation Maintenance Technician Scholarship

Ryder Lutgen lives on a small ranch, on the MN/SD border, with a 1700 ft grass runway. He has his private pilot license and he and his dad are building an experimental aircraft called a Zenith 750. Helping his parents on their ranch, with 115 head of cattle has taught Ryder the definition of hard work and determination.He graduates from High School, this spring, and will be attending Lake Area Technical College in Watertown, SD this fall. He will be studying Aviation Maintenance Technology with his end goal to be an AG pilot. Another aviator who will be able to fly an airplane and work on it, also.

Jenny Mulholland
Captain Edward Erickson Aviation Scholarship

Jenny Mulholland became interested in aviation while a junior in High School after talking to one of her teachers, who was a pilot. She took a discovery flight and she became “instantly obsessed” as she put it. She passed her private pilot checkride 6 months ago and achieved her instrument rating April 08th. She is involved in an EAA Chapter and gives Young Eagle rides (free airplane rides for kids between 8-17 years of age) and helped start a flying club at the Albert Lee Airport. She plans to go to UND this fall and get a degree in Air Traffic Management. She will start as a junior, as she took enough college classes in H.S. to earn an associate degree.

Samantha (Sami) Naples
Janette Strathy Aviation Scholarship

In September of 2015, while Samantha Naples was 12 years old, she flew on the first ever Delta Women Inspiring our Next Generation flight to the Jet Museum of Flight in Seattle, WA. The moment she came home, she told her parents “I want to be a pilot.” Six years later, she is a freshman attending Minnesota State Mankato, majoring in Aviation. She holds a Private Pilot’s license with an instrument rating and is working on her Commercial ticket. She wants to get her CFI during her sophomore year, so she can begin teaching and mentoring the next class of men and women aviators.

We thank you, as members of the Minnesota Pilots Association, for contributing to the career development of these outstanding young people. Your membership dues, in addition to gaining admission to the 2022 GMAG, makes these scholarships possible. Please join us at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, May 21, 2022 at the 2022 Great MN Aviation Gathering to honor these young people.

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!

2020 MNPA Scholarship Recipients Announced!

The recipient of the Captain Edward L. Erickson Scholarship is Michael Ochsenbauer from Forest Lake, MN. Michael is a highly motivated young adult that willingly participates or volunteers for opportunities he hears about. He’s attended MN Aviation Career Education Camp and has been involved in EAA AirVenture, CAP, Young Eagles, H.S. Ski Team, is an Eagle Scout and was a National Honor Society Officer. While in H.S. Michael took AP classes and earned college credits from the U of M and Century College. He is attending Southern Illinois University on an academic scholarship. He is working on his commercial pilot license and plans to use the scholarship money to defray the cost of completing the training course. He achieved first place in the 2019 NIFA Flight Team Short Field Landing competition. Not only does he loves flying, but also Michael loves aviation mechanics. A letter of recommendation, that accompanied his application, is from an A&P with IA authorization that said Michael helped him restore a North American T6. 

On behalf of the MN Pilots Association we want to congratulate Michael on receiving this scholarship and wish him well in the field of aviation.


The recipient of the Janette Strathy Aviation Scholarship is Chelsea Montgomery, from Bloomington, MN. While at Thomas Jefferson H.S. Chelsea participated in speech club, was a member of the National Honor Society and did volunteer work. She also took Post-Secondary Enrollment Option classes during her last two years of H.S. She then attended the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management majoring in entrepreneurial management and political science. While in business school and working three different jobs, she purchased a share in a flying club at Crystal Airport in 2018 and received her Private Pilot license in 2019. Upon graduating from the U of M she was accepted in the flight-training program at ATP Flight School in Mesa, AZ. She is currently working on her commercial ticket and says the Janette Strathy Scholarship will help her accelerate the pace of flight training. She wants to get her CFI and instruct at ATP. Her ultimate goal is to one day fly commercially, volunteer to fly with the Veterans Airlift Command, and start an aviation related business, using her background in business.
Congratulations Chelsea, from the MN Pilots Association, and continued good luck.

2019 MPA Scholarship Recipients Report In On Their Progress!

Samantha Ripley and Joe Taylor, recipients of the 2019 Minnesota Pilots Association Scholarships, gave us an update at the end of the year on their progress. The MPA is proud to support these young folks in pursuit of their aviation careers!

Samantha Ripley, Patrick Halligan, and Joe Taylor

Samantha Ripley Checks In

My name is Samantha Ripley and I was one of the lucky recipients of a scholarship from the Minnesota Pilots Association last spring at The Great Minnesota Aviation Gathering in Buffalo, MN. I am a Junior at UND studying Commercial Aviation. I am currently working on my multi-engine rating and at the end of this flight course I will be a multi-engine, instrument rated commercial pilot. I am also currently finishing up the aerobatic course in the Decathlon. Let’s just say that the barf bag and I have become very acquainted.

Yesterday my MEI and I flew to Baudette, MN on a short cross-country flight. Along our route we passed over a massive aerial crane that was working on some powerlines. When we got back from our supper at a local café, we were just in time to see the aerial crane land. The power from the rotor was so strong that I could feel myself getting pushed back. Definitely something I won’t forget. On the flight we worked a lot on single engine approaches, which have been a very fun to practice and get better at. I love the faster pace that has come with learning to fly the Seminole.

Next semester I am planning on getting my CFI rating, the following two semesters I plan on getting my CFII and completing UND’s simulated CRJ course. After I graduate from UND and finish my hours flight instructing I would love to fly float planes up in Alaska, one of my favorite places on Earth, or fly island hoppers down somewhere in the Caribbean for a bit before I head to the regionals. I am very excited to see where this career takes me, and I am very grateful to the Minnesota Pilots Association for helping me financially to achieve those goals.

An Update from Joe Taylor

This fall, the Captain Edward Erickson scholarship has helped continue my flight training here at the University of North Dakota. The current flight course I’m taking is the third in a series of four, one semester courses which combine basic attitude instrument flying, instrument procedures and approaches, the commercial certificate, and the multi-engine rating into one long training regime.

Since August, my flights have consisted of several VFR cross countries in addition to performing maneuvers required by the FAA Commercial Airman Certification Standards. Power-off 180 landings, chandelles, lazy eights, eights on pylons, and steep turns sure keep the flights challenging but enjoyable!

In addition to my flight training, I’ve continued to compete with the UND Flying Team. The team won the 2019 National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) championship in May where I competed in Aircraft Recognition. In mid October, we made the trek to Omaha, NE for the Region 6 Competition; I competed in Aircraft Recognition and Ground Trainer which is a precision instrument pattern flown on a flight simulator. The team scored first place, securing our spot for the National Competition at Oshkosh, WI in May.

I can’t thank the Minnesota Pilot’s Association, especially Ms. Barb Mack and Mr. Patrick Halligan, for supporting me in my journey to become a professional pilot. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


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 [email protected]. Deadline for submission is March 24, 2019.


Captain Edward Erickson was the consummate professional pilot.  His love of aviation and his professionalism set an example for those who followed in his footsteps. His intense interest in aviation ranged from soloing in a J-3 Cub on his 16th birthday to retiring from a B-757 after a 34-year career as Captain for North Central, Republic and Northwest Airlines (flying over 30,000 hours).  Beyond his career in the airlines he flew virtually any piston-driven aircraft, including many warbirds. He was honored with the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in 2013 and became the very first candidate of the Minnesota Pilots Association to be inducted into the MN Aviation Hall of Fame, in 2016.

His biggest impact during his aviation career was all the people he taught how to fly over the years. He left his mark on aviation at all levels in general aviation. Countless pilots on the airline, in the warbird community, and in general aviation, have benefited from Ed’s wealth of knowledge and experience.  His encouragement and assistance to pilots who were either building or flying their aircraft came with a quiet, unassuming demeanor. Ed loved aviation and wanted to share his enthusiasm with anyone who showed an interest in flying.  Aviation was his true passion and he incorporated it in everything he did throughout his life.

To read all of the details and requirements for this $2000 scholarship, click here.


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

MN Pilots Assn Works with Duluth NWS to Develop Website

Thanks to Gregg Strathy and Jim Peterson, board members of the MN Pilots Assn, for helping the Duluth National Weather Service design their webpage! Here is a note we received from Geoffrey Grochocinski, of the Duluth NWS…

NWS Duluth, surrounding NWS aviation focal points, and our aviation partners,

I’m happy to share NWS Duluth has a new aviation weather webpage after several months of work by our aviation team, including partnering with aviation partners for feedback, looking for ideas and inspiration from other NWS offices across the country, and building the page. This was a team effort by Justin, Bryan, and I of our aviation team. This new page will be more useful and user-friendly for our typical aviation users than our previous page. The new design is an inspiration from NWS LaCrosse’s aviation page. Our partners really liked NWS LaCrosse’s tabs and thumbnails design.

We would like to extend a special thank you to our FAA partners in Duluth and pilots with the Minnesota Pilots Association for their time in discussing our old website and the design of a future webpage with us. Thank you very much to Justin Schultz for his work into assembling potential options for the page and to Bryan in building the page.

Thank you,


MN Pilots Assn…making a difference in Minnesota Aviation

‘Sully’ Sullenberger wants to save the FAA…Opposes Privitization

Please take a moment to read this reporting of an interview with Captain Sullenberger.  If you have followed his story, and seen the movie, you will know that he has seen both sides of the airline industry, and understands their political agenda.

I am not a fan of Katie Couric, but she seems to have asked the right questions.

Please pick up the phone and call your Congressman tomorrow (Monday) and register your opposition to H.R. 2997.  It is important.  Thank you.

Randy Corfman, President, MN Pilots Assn