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  • Instrument Approach Briefings Have Key Elements

    Jeff Flynn, Chief Pilot, MnDOT Aeronautics|Jun 1, 2022

    The purpose of an instrument approach procedure is to allow pilots to transition from the instrument environment to the visual environment. Instrument approaches come with clearly defined procedures that allow pilots to navigate to a point near a destination airport, ideally allowing the pilot to visually acquire the runway for landing. The part that is not clearly defined is how to brief an approach prior to commencing the approach. In most cases, it is left to the pilot to decide exactly how...

  • Join MnDOT Aeronautics at EAA AirVenture 2022 in Oshkosh

    Darlene Dahlseide, Outreach Coordinator, MnDOT Aeronautics|Jun 1, 2022

    In 2021, over 608,000 attendees visited Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture. In 2022, MnDOT Aeronautics will again be at AirVenture, hosting a booth to promote the many aviation opportunities available in Minnesota through tourism, opportunities for businesses, and the great airports throughout Minnesota. AirVenture visitors come from across the United States and the around the world. Visit http://www.airventure.org/airventure to learn more about EAA AirVenture 2022. This great...

  • Change Is In The Air At MnDOT Aeronautics

    Ryan Gaug, Interim Director, MnDOT Aeronautics|Jun 1, 2022

    If you are a regular customer or partner of MnDOT’s Office of Aeronautics, then you are likely already aware of the long-term staffing transition that began several years ago and is very much still in process today. My goal in writing this is to bring you up to speed regarding these changes, but also to share a bit of what is yet to come. One of the biggest changes to share, and most impactful to me personally, is that effective April 25, 2022, I became Interim Director of Aeronautics, following the retirement of our long-time director,...

  • New Minnesota ForeFlight Content Packs Get Refinements

    James McCanney, MnDOT Aeronautics Aviation Representative|Jun 1, 2022

    MnDOT Aeronautics added a new feature to the Minnesota Airport Directory and Travel Guide three years ago. We developed a ForeFlight Content Pack and made it available for anyone to download and add to their ForeFlight app. The Minnesota Airport Directory Content Pack takes everything great about the directory and travel guide and makes it accessible on your iPad via ForeFlight. This year, we separated the seaplane bases from the main content pack, to create a new Minnesota Seaplane Base Directory. We added a third content pack named Minnesota...

  • Pilot-Controlled Lighting Tips, Reporting Needs

    Casey Carlson, MnDOT Aeronautics NavAids Airport Lighting Coordinator|Mar 1, 2022

    Most folks who are not involved with aviation wouldn't know that a radio pulse sequence is used to "key-up" the runway lighting system, as the pilot is on approach. The average citizen may think that the pilot "calls" down with their radio to somebody at the tower or A/D building and instructs them to "turn on the lights." Of course, in the aero world we know this is not the case because most airports don't have staff present around the clock. The Pilot Controlled Lighting system puts the power...

  • Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Registration Changes

    Michael Johnson, MnDOT Aeronautics UAS Program Planner|Mar 1, 2022

    The Minnesota Department of Transportation's Office of Aeronautics is responsible for collecting aircraft registration, sales and use taxes as required by law. Of the 7,877 total aircraft registered in Minnesota in Fiscal Year 2021, 1,099 are small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS). New legislation for sUAS registration went into effect Aug. 1, 2021. Registration of sUAS used for anything other than recreational purposes is now $25. New sUAS registrations applied for on or after Aug. 1, 2021 or...

  • State Aviation System Plan Update Underway

    Junior Lindsay, MnDOT Aeronautics Planning Program Coordinator|Mar 1, 2022

    The Minnesota Department of Transportation is updating the Minnesota State Aviation System Plan. The MnSASP documents the performance of the current aviation system, and provides guidance for the future development of aviation in Minnesota. The MnSASP is the aviation part of MnDOT's Family of Plans. It will help achieve the Minnesota GO 50-year Vision that outlines what Minnesotans desire from the state's transportation system and identifies key guiding principles MnDOT strives to achieve. The...

  • VFR, IFR Aircraft 'Uncontrolled Airport' Operations

    Eric Peltier, MnDOT Aeronautics Pilot|Mar 1, 2022

    We tend to use the term Uncontrolled Airport to describe airports without control towers or airports with non-operating control towers. The current FAA circular with the regulatory, recommended operations and communication procedures for uncontrolled airports is AC 90-66B, "Non-Towered Airport Flight Operations" dated March 13, 2018. It incorporates the latest best practices with flight safety as the primary objective. The circular covers a lot of great information including flight patterns and...

  • Minnesota Airport Development Funding Overview

    Arika Johnson, PE, MnDOT Aeronautics Senior Engineer|Dec 1, 2021

    As everyone knows, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought a whirlwind of new experiences for most people, at work and at home. MnDOT Aeronautics is also no stranger to new tasks. Over the past year, the Airport Development section of Aeronautics has been busy distributing new airport funding that resulted largely from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. To give a little background, MnDOT’s Airport Development section administers state and federal funds for many different types of projects at Minnesota’s public...

  • MnDOT Aeronautics Signs AWOS Vendor Agreement

    John Dalton, MnDOT Statewide Navigation Systems Engineer|Dec 1, 2021

    It’s 5 a.m., and you’re beginning to hear the birds calling in the beautiful day as you sit outdoors sipping your morning cup of Joe. You’re looking ahead to the 7:15 a.m. tee time with your other flying friends at the city of Buffalo – Wild Marsh Golf Club. The evening before, after cleaning your clubs and making sure you have enough balls and tees for the day’s outing, you watch the weather news and it’s going to be a perfect 75-degree day, and no wind predicted. Sweet. When you arrive at the golf course, your friends are already...

  • How COVID-19 Changed Things For Pilots

    Jeff Flynn, Chief Pilot, MnDOT Aeronautics Services|Dec 1, 2021

    In March of 2020 my family and I took a vacation to Mexico. Upon arriving at the airport, I wondered if I was making a big mistake. At the time I wasn’t worried about shortages of meat or paper products. What was troubling me was how this mystery virus might impact our return flight. It turns out that we arrived back in the United States about a week before the airline ceased operations to our destination. The definition of the word “trips” was about to change. As we entered the pandemic, the definition of trips had become more about clim...

  • Flight Risk Assessment Tools Remain Essential

    Joe Anderson, MnDOT Aeronautics|Dec 1, 2021

    As aviators, we know flying can be a highly rewarding activity. The sense of accomplishment which results from a well-executed flight is hard to beat. However, flying can also be a high-risk activity. Weather, terrain, aircraft unfamiliarity, pilot experience and many other factors all contribute to the overall risk picture. Do you have a tool which you use to help determine risk level prior to flying? A Flight Risk Assessment Tool (FRAT) is an essential item with which all pilots should be familiar, and is a required part of Safety Management...

  • MnDOT, NASA Move Forward With Collaboration

    Katie Gilmore, MnDOT Aeronautics UAS Program Manager|Sep 1, 2021

    In June, the Minnesota Department of Transportation's Aeronautics office announced that it had signed a Collaborative Partnership agreement with NASA's Advanced Air Mobility team to plan for the future of aviation. The partnership will support Minnesota's goals as the state plans for a future where advanced technology cargo aircraft and passenger air taxi services are integrated into Minnesota's multimodal transportation network. Minnesota is one of five government entities chosen to...

  • Hangar Loan Program Provides Aircraft Storage Funding

    Luke Bourassa, Region Development Engineer MnDOT Aeronautics|Sep 1, 2021

    Funding for airport projects in Minnesota comes from a variety of different sources. One of the more unique programs is Minnesota's Hangar Loan Program. Rather than force hangar projects to compete for grant dollars with other infrastructure needs, this program provides loans to publicly owned airports to construct revenue-generating hangar facilities and provides protection for the fleet of general aviation aircraft registered in Minnesota. The program was established by the Minnesota...

  • Helicopter Air Ambulances Are Key Aviation Players

    Mina Carlson, MnDOT Office of Aeronautics|Sep 1, 2021

    In my time as a pilot the air medical flying was never in my purview. It wasn't in alignment with any of my disciplines. Or, so I thought. As a pilot, each flight is mission-centric. Whether it be for training, traveling, or to do a bit of sunrise appreciation flying, there is a mission. My flights have not been medical related. I've been fortunate to enjoy the North Shore tourist sort of flying mostly. It wasn't until 2010 when a close family member hit a deer coming home from Mille Lacs Lake...

  • MnDOT Weather Computers Get An Update

    Mike Hartell, MnDOT Aeronautics Airport Operations Director|Sep 1, 2021

    Over the past 30 years, we have seen a lot of changes in our ability to gather and display weather information at Minnesota's local airports. MnDOT has a goal to make it as easy as possible for general aviation pilots to access last-minute weather and NOTAM information before departing, so they can make sound flying decisions with the best available information. To help with that goal, MnDOT's Aeronautics office has established weather computers at each public airport in the state. We refer to t...

  • Explore Minnesota By Air This Fall

    MnDOT Aeronautics|Sep 1, 2021

    Explore Minnesota is encouraging people to get out and explore the rainbow of colorful fall foliage in Minnesota. To find your True North visit: Minnesota Vacations & Travel Guide: Explore Minnesota at https://www.exploreminnesota.com/. Fly MN Airports! Passport program is sharing this opportunity to Explore MN by Air – Fall 2021 by encouraging you to get back into flying and visit unique places that are located near a Minnesota's public-use airport before Oct. 31, 2021. Just visit...

  • Air Mobility Strategic Plan Looks To Future

    Michael Johnson, MnDOT Aeronautics UAS Program Planner|Jun 1, 2021

    The Minnesota Department of Transportation's Office of Aeronautics is developing an air mobility strategic plan to prepare for Minnesota's future as aviation technology evolves. The new Air Mobility Strategic Plan will lay out a framework for open decision making that provides and supports coordination, collaboration and innovation, as well as ensures efficient and effective use of state resources. As part of creating this new strategic plan, MnDOT is forming an Air Transportation Workgroup. The...

  • Airport Maintenance From A Pilot's Perspective

    Chris Meyer, MnDOT Aeronautics|Jun 1, 2021

    As pilots, we have a lot to think about when preparing for a flight. In fact, we're legally obligated. The Federal Regulation regarding Preflight Action (91.103), says, "Each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight." Further, 14 CFR Part 91.3, Responsibility and authority of the pilot in command says, "The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to the operation of...

  • Bringing Clearance Delivery Into The 21st Century

    Kyle Sullivan, Airport Coordinator, MnDOT Office of Aeronautics|Jun 1, 2021

    For pilots – whether seasoned or novice – receiving an Instrument Flight Rules clearance is not a new concept. The delivery never varies from the standard C.R.A.F.T. format we've all been taught to love since flight school. Yet, the method of receiving those clearances from Air Traffic Control can wildly vary depending on your current location on deck within the airspace system. At a towered field, it's relatively easy – contact the clearance delivery controller as listed in the...

  • Improved Internet Coming To Minnesota Airports

    Kris Christenson, MnDOT Navigations Systems Radio Engineer|Jun 1, 2021

    MnDOT's Office of Aeronautics has been working on several programs to improve communication services at Minnesota's local general aviation airports. The first of these improvements – improved internet services – will be rolled out in the coming months. Currently, most internet connections at Minnesota's general aviation airports are served by conventional DSL lines with max speeds of 1.5 megabytes down/768k up. When you are used to home speeds of 150 meg down and 30 meg up and faster, it is...

  • What's a Hangar For, Anyway?

    Tim Jarvis, Minnesota Department of Transportation Aeronautics|Mar 1, 2021

    When asked recently to write about hangar usage, I immediately thought back to my manager days at a local FBO in the early 2000s. Even then, understanding what was allowed to be stored in a hangar, was a regular question raised by myself and others. To answer that question of proper and allowed hangar use, what I first needed to understand the rules that govern airports. What I discovered then – and still holds true today – is that if an airport is receiving federal funds, the airport manager must follow the FAA’s interpretation of what...

  • Happy Spring Minnesota Aviators!

    Josh Root|Mar 1, 2021

    As I write this, temperatures are far below zero and the decidedly non-gopher rodent in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania told me there are weeks of winter ahead. Still, I can’t help but think of spring, new flowers budding, birds chirping, and the smell of road construction in the morning. The warmer weather seems to also warm our Minnesota joy for all outdoor activities, and if this spring is anything like last year, the General Aviation community will again be busy learning to fly or renewing skills, buying gas, and putting more planes in the air...

  • Statewide Automatic Weather Observation Systems

    Michael Hartell, MnDOT Office of Aeronautics Navigation Systems Supervisor|Mar 1, 2021

    I started learning how to fly back in 1981–82. One of the things I remember most was trying to understand weather. I had to understand my personal limits and how weather could determine a decision to fly or not. I recall struggling with the weather information available during flight prep. Back in those days there were only a few FSS weather stations across the state of Minnesota. Pilots had widespread coverage gaps and had to guesstimate the weather conditions they were going to be flying through. Forty years ago, we had less than a...

  • Planning For Disaster: Take Action Through Local Zoning Ordinances

    John Fleming, Minnesota Department of Transportation Aeronautics|Mar 1, 2021

    The successful landing of an aircraft isn’t usually something to write about, but in December, Minneapolis pilot Craig Gifford made his most noteworthy touchdown. After an engine failure late on the night of Dec. 3, 2020, Gifford guided his Bellanca Viking down for an emergency landing on Interstate 35W. Luckily, no one was injured. Traffic cameras captured the event and Gifford received his 15 minutes of fame. While the interstate is not the best place to land, it certainly isn’t the worst. According to the NTSB database, 62% of general...

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