Having a 2017 Cirrus SR22T G6 aircraft in the banquet room is a sure-fire way to let people know this event is all about general aviation.
The Southeast Minnesota Flying Club, EAA Chapter 100, the Rochester Airport, and Cirrus Aircraft combined efforts to bring people together January 28 at the Rochester International Event Center to generate conversations about flying.
Cirrus Regional Sales Director, Gary Black presented a brief and entertaining history of the development of Cirrus aircraft from the VK30 to the SF50.
Keynote speaker at the banquet, Cirrus Senior Vice President of Business Development, Lt Col Ravi Dharnidharka USMCR kept the audience spellbound with his presentation, "Pilot Situational Awareness and Escape from the Taj Hotel Siege."
Treasurer of the Southeast Minnesota Flying Club, EAA Chapter 100, and member of the General Aviation Action Team in Rochester, John Gressett said gathering the aviation community together encourages camaraderie and support between aviators.
Gressett has over 1,500 hours total Pilot in Command time. When the retired IBM executive reached a point that flying began losing its appeal, the club purchased a 2005 Cirrus SR22.
"I have to tell you, I've completely fallen in love with flying again," said Gressett who is also an instructor, author, speaker, volunteer, and airport council general aviation representative at the Rochester International Airport.
Gressett and Beth, his wife have flown the club Cirrus to Costa Rica, Cuba, Guatemala, and Puerto Rico. At the time of the banquet, they were planning a trip to the Dominican Republic, Turks and Caicos, British Virgin Islands, Antigua, and the Grenadines with the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association (COPA).
"What's really interesting about it is, not only do you get to see these beautiful, gorgeous places, but also, flying with these other pilots is so much fun," said Gressett. "We all bond almost immediately."
"I love it," said Beth Gressett. "We go places I never would have dreamed, and have freedom I never would have expected. It is very cool. Places you would have never gone, you all of a sudden can go."