We hope you have put Friday and Saturday, April 27-28, on your calendars so that you can plan to attend the 2018 Great Minnesota Aviation Gathering (GMAG). For those of you who have attended this event in the past you know that our event provides opportunities to learn more about many aspects of aviation, and to do so in the company of your fellow aviators.
The GMAG came about to address the need for an event at which aviation could be celebrated. We felt we needed a time, just before the flying season really busy, for us to renew friendships from pilots across the region and to build new friendships and relationships. We also wanted to provide each other with a choice to attend several presentations on all things aviation. Real life “webinars”, if you will. We also wanted to recognize aviation companies and organizations in our state.
One of the very important things we have been able to help with is recognition of those pilots who are recipients of the Orville and Wilbur Wright Master Pilots Award. This award, administered by the FAA, recognizes pilots who have had “smooth air” flying for at least 50 years. The Minnesota Pilots Association stepped up to the plate in a previous GMAG to recognize these special pilots, and it was such a pleasure to see the pride on the recipients faces, and on the faces of their families, as the awards were given. When it was learned that funding had been eliminated to give engraved plaques to these honorees the Minnesota Pilots Association Board of Directors decided the tradition should continue and we now fund the creation of these awards. This year we hope to make these presentations a really big deal and have worked with Kevin Morris, out-going leader of the FAAST program, to invite family members and friends of the recipients to attend the awards ceremony, to be held on the Saturday afternoon, April 28.
We have also helped foster a very healthy competition between EAA Young Eagle pilots and Chapters by giving recognition to the pilot who has given the most Young Eagle flights in 2017, and to the EAA Chapter that has given the most Young Eagle flights in that same year. The Minnesota Pilots Association has long been a promoter of the Young Eagles program, valuing the opportunities these flights give to introduce young people to the gift of flight. We are thankful to EAA members, and any of our members, for taking the time and making the effort to help us in this important mission.
The GMAG is truly your event. It is planned by our members, it is administered by our members and is funded by our members and by aviation companies and organizations. We hope to see you at the GMAG! Friday and Saturday, April 27-28. Please follow us on Facebook/Mnpilots or on our website http://www.mnpilots.org.