Minnesota Flyer - Serving Midwest Aviation Since 1960

By Darlene Dahlseide
MnDOT Aeronautics 

Your Fly Minnesota Airports Passport Adventure Awaits You!

 

September 1, 2020

Flying is fun for aviators. The freedom experienced when you fly is little short of absolutely marvelous. And now and then something comes along that makes flying even more fun, or even makes it like a new adventure!

One of those things is the "Fly Minnesota Airports Passport" program. The program started in 2008, and to date, 46 pilots have qualified to receive a Fly Minnesota Airports leather flight jacket by visiting at least 130 of Minnesota's 133 public airports, six aviation museums and six FAA safety seminars.

Any FAA licensed pilot from any state can participate in the program. After receiving their Fly Minnesota Airports Passport (registration takes about one minute), pilots can earn "stamps" in their FMA Passport each time they visit a Minnesota public airport, attend an FAA safety seminar, or visit Minnesota's aviation museums.

The 46 pilots who currently wear a Fly Minnesota Airports leather jacket also earned a cap and flight bag while earning stamps during their skill-building and educational adventures. Hundreds of other pilots are currently working to fill their Fly Minnesota Airports Passport.

The program promotes general aviation safety and education in Minnesota, and is sponsored by the Minnesota Council of Airports and administered by MnDOT Aeronautics. At its most practical level, the program encourages pilots to practice approaches and landings in many different environments. It's also a great way to support general aviation airports, local businesses, and tourism.

Now is the perfect time to get flying toward your leather jacket for the fall

This year MnDOT Aeronautics updated the Fly Minnesota Airports Passport program. The entire process is now online. To register and receive your Fly Minnesota Airports Passport, visit the registration webpage, answer a few questions, and a passport will be sent to you within a week. After that, just begin flying and fill your passport with stamps. Registering online will validate your program participation and allow you to receive updates on any changes to the program.

To register, visit the Fly Minnesota Airports Passport homepage (mndot.gov/aero/aviationeducation/aviationpassport/passportwelcome.html).

When you receive your Fly Minnesota Airports Passport, fill in the page at the front to personalize it with your name and contact information. Whenever you visit a public use airport in Minnesota, an aviation attraction or participate in any FAA safety seminar, have your passport stamped or signed in the appropriate space.

Pilots may attend FAA safety seminars online or in person. If a course is taken online, fill in the course name, date, and instructor's name in the appropriate block. You may also be asked to provide a copy of your FAA Safety Team Accredited Activity history. We encourage you to attend FAA safety seminars in person when it is safe to do so and the FAA will have stamps available at qualifying events. To find events, stay informed, register and login to FAA training events visit http://www.faasafety.gov or contact your FAA Flight Standards District Office for more information.

The Fly Minnesota Airports Passport program has three award levels. The Bronze level awards a hat and pin to acknowledge visiting 34 airports, two aviation attractions, and two FAA safety seminars. The Silver level awards a flight bag to pilots who visit 68 airports, four aviation attractions, and four FAA safety seminars. And the Gold level awards an aviator's leather jacket to pilots who visit 130 airports, six aviation attractions and six FAA safety seminars.

Upon completion of any level, the Fly Minnesota Airports Passport and your logbook must be submitted to MnDOT Aeronautics. Once a passport has been submitted and the award is received, the passport and logbook will be returned so pilots can continue to the next level. There is no deadline for completing the passport program as long as the program remains in operation.

We always encourage you to fly safe! Always conduct adequate pre-flight activities to ensure your flight can be conducted safely and always check NOTAMS.

Make your adventure last longer

Some airports have vehicles to borrow so pilots and passengers can explore the community. Check with the airport manager about availability. Also, consult http://www.exploreminnesota.com or call 888-VISITMN to get help from experts to plan your adventure. You may want to make a note of the date of your flight, weather conditions, and any other memorable details of your flight in your passport booklet in the correct airport box.

Below are some comments received from award winners about their Fly Minnesota Airports Passport adventures:

Rushford Municipal Airport – Robert W Bunke Field – was ranked by several pilots as the most beautiful Minnesota Airport. It also has the best classic/collector courtesy car – you have to stop by and see it for yourself.

"Piney-Pinecreek Border Airport is the only airport owned by the State of Minnesota and is co-located in Minnesota and Manitoba, Canada."

"I had been practicing my emergency take-off and landings and they paid off during a challenging landing at the Grand Marais –Cook County Airport due to the windy conditions off of Lake Superior."

"My most memorable flights were in Northern Minnesota in the fall. They are just beautiful with all the fall colors, crisp air, and great engine performance."

What's next for Fly Minnesota Airports Passport?

MnDOT Aeronautics is looking forward to another great year for all Fly Minnesota Airports Passport participants. The office hopes to create a new program for those who already completed the current Fly Minnesota Airports Passport program. If you have any ideas for "Passport 2.0," please forward them to Darlene Dahlseide at darlene.dahlseide@state.mn.us.

Happy Flyin' and Landin'!

 

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