See you at GMAG 2019


I have taken time to begin reading Robin Olds “Fighter Pilot” and found a quotation that I feel certainly applies to my experiences with aviation people. He wrote “The brotherhood of pilots impressed me as much as the thrill of flying itself”.

It is with this in mind that we prepare for the 6th Annual Great Minnesota Aviation Gathering (GMAG) to be held on Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27, at the Buffalo Municipal Airport (KCFE). This preparation centers around the brotherhood and sisterhood that we enjoy as pilots in a state in which there is much aviation activity. Our Hangar Flying sessions focus on bringing in speakers who not only have mastered their subject matter, but who also have demonstrated that they are excellent communicators. We strive to offer a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience on topics which holds appeal to pilots and aviation enthusiasts ranging from a person who flies hundreds of hours each year to those who don’t fly but who are enthralled by flight. We also strive to provide an incubator in which we get to know each other, in which we can develop new friendships through our mutual interests in aviation. We, like Robin Olds, feel that it isn’t just about the airplanes, it is about the people who share our interests.

We are also in a sad position to have lost a terrific supporter of aviation in Minnesota, Charlotte Swanson, Editor-in-Chief of the Minnesota Flyer magazine. She went West with very little notice, very little warning, and we recognize the critical role she played in the success of the Minnesota Pilots Association and the GMAG. Teaming up with Tim Franklin, she was remarkable in coming up to speed very quickly with all things aviation in our state. She was in her glory years as an accomplished writer, with very little knowledge of aviation, when she was blessed with a pivotal role in leading the Minnesota Flyer magazine. In reflecting on her last journalism assignment as Editor-in-Chief I came to know that she and Robin Olds were similarly impressed with the mindset that we share as pilots. Certainly not a pilot herself, she was remarkably successful in transcending from her rudimentary understanding of aviation to an understanding of many aspects of aviation. She did so not by studying flight manuals, not by gaining her pilots license, but rather by putting her boots, so to speak, on the ground and attending many, many aviation functions. These functions ranged from the MN Aviation Hall of Fame to pancake breakfasts and ski plane flyins and GMAGs. She became an astute student of aviation people, and she was able to put her fingers on the pulse of aviation more clearly than anyone I can recall writing for the Minnesota Flyer.

Charlotte reveled in the aviation friendships that she witnessed at each and every GMAG, as one could tell by the coverage she provided. Her energy was abundant, her enthusiasm infectious. She will be sorely missed at this year’s GMAG, but we hope you will be able to attend our celebration of all things aviation.


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