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Minnesota 99s shine on Minnesota at section meeting

n addition to the business of aviation, home chapter shows off Minnesota

It's a rare business meeting that is described as fun, but where the Minnesota Chapter of the Ninety-Nines, international organization of women pilots is concerned, that branding is an absolute must. The weekend of September 25-27 the North Central Section Meeting was based at Anoka-Blaine Airport. Chairperson of the Minnesota Chapter of the 99s, Patti Sandusky and the chapter's members had a three-fold purpose, conduct a motivating meeting, have fun, and show off Minnesota.

"It was spectacular!" said Sandusky. "A few people flew in a little early to attend the Twins/Cleveland Indians game on Thursday. It was a real blast because Cleveland is in the North Central section so we had some Cleveland people there.

"Cleveland won the game. It was hilarious because they never let us forget it. It was an ongoing joke through the whole weekend. It was so much fun."

Friday's activities included dinner at Gabe's Restaurant at the Four Seasons Curling Club at Fogerty Arena in Blaine where Olympic teams train. Yes, after watching an introductory video and listening to a brief presentation of the history of the game, some of the women ended up curling.

"We got two sheets (a curling term for two lanes of ice) so we broke up into four teams," said Sandusky, "once we got the feel of the ice we started playing matches. It was wonderful."

Saturday morning business was conducted, after which the group split up, some doing a three-hour Segway Tour of Historic Minneapolis.

"It was really a blast," said Sandusky. "It was so funny because you go in a single line behind the tour guide. We looked like a mother duck with all her little ducklings following. Within about ten minutes we were starting to race and dodge each other.

Other attendees stationed themselves at Anoka Airport to view a static display of aircraft ranging from military to light sport, take a tour of the tower, listen to Mark Schreier's humorous presentation on the experiences of an air traffic controller, and to visit Liz Strohfus, a WWII WASP and fellow 99s member. Terry Baker from the American Aviation Heritage Foundation invited visitors to see the progress being made on the BT-13 the group is restoring for presentation to the National WWII WASP Museum in Sweetwater, Texas.

"That whole day was followed by our banquet at the Golden Wings Museum," said Sandusky. "It was an incredibly successful event. It had a theme of four seasons that Minnesota provides. Our featured speaker was Liz Strohfus. People said they had so much fun. They just loved it!

"We really wanted to tailor this to Minnesota, hence the curling. There aren't many other places in the United States where you can do curling. Although other places have Segways, we have our unique historic area of Minneapolis with the milling history. We were really gearing our whole theme to Minnesota."

The weekend gathering was much appreciated by attendees.

Sandusky said one of the women from the chapter who are hosting the meeting two years from now commented, "I don't know how we can top this."

Membership of the 99s ranges from student to professional pilots. For more information Friend the 99s on Facebook, follow them on Twitter or visit their website at


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