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GMAG 2017 moves to Saturday/Sunday time frame

Look for a few changes in the Fourth Annual Great Minnesota Aviation Gathering (GMAG) coming April 29-30 to the Anoka County Blaine Airport (KANE).

"Something new this year is, we are holding it on a Saturday and Sunday instead of a Friday/Saturday format," said President of the Minnesota Pilots Association Randy Corfman. "Everyone is looking forward to that."

While the event has grown from 600 to 900 visitors on the strength of the educational presentations, networking opportunities, and offerings from vendors, Corfman said changing the time frame is likely to increase attendance even more this year.

Corfman said GMAG was initiated in 2014 by the Minnesota Pilots Association to provide an opportunity for aviation enthusiasts to get to know one other, promote general aviation, and to have educational sessions to help inform pilots about different safety and social aspects of flying.

"We have Hangar Flying sessions whereby the broad spectrum of aviation related subjects are discussed, including antique airplanes, medical aspects of flying, flying techniques, and safety procedures," said Corfman. "We have 24 presentation slots filled by people who are chosen to speak because they are excellent communicator.

"This year, one of the subjects we'll cover is drones. Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) will be discussed in detail. We will have some ideas presented to bring UAS into our circle with the intention to communicate to help make this growing industry a safe one for them and for us.

Vendors are also scheduled to attend.

"We also have between 40 and 50 exhibitors who come to share their wares and show their support for aviation in Minnesota," said Corfman.

Another new aspect of this year's GMAG is the addition of the Boy Scouts of America whose attendance and participation will assist in attainment of an Aviation Merit Badge.

There are also favorite networking groups that will continue to build on the foundation laid in past GMAG events.

"We are also hosting, for the third consecutive year, the Minnesota EAA Leadership Summit," said Corfman, "We bring together leaders of EAA Chapters across the state to get to know each other better, and to discover what sort of activities they are engaging in. We found that EAA Chapters didn't really know each other very well. When we bring them together, they are able to share ideas promoting aviation and building airplanes."


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