Fall flying is my favorite time of the year to fly and enjoy the view we see as we fly over beautiful Minnesota.
The air is crisp, the colors are amazing and I think we savor the moments we can spend at aviation events, such as pancake breakfasts, even more.
I recently had the opportunity to fly the Super Cub to New Ulm to take in their annual pancake breakfast fly-in and I am so happy I did!
This was a terrific event, strongly supported by the community as evidenced literally by hundreds of people from the community came out to support the New Ulm Lions (who sponsored the event) and the airport.
Young and old alike came out to enjoy each other's company but also to see airplanes along with the requisite fire trucks, police cars and air ambulance helicopters. I think this mix demonstrates the utility and need for airports in our rural communities, the importance of each of these in keeping our communities safe and good places to live.
Tony Effenberger, who grew up on a farm just south of the airport, was at the event. Tony is president of the Mankato EAA Chapter 642 and is a strong proponent of aviation. I had the pleasure of sharing a table with him as we enjoyed delicious pancakes and sausage. Tony and EAA 642 had just hosted a Young Eagles rally for the Boy Scouts of America the day before and he was sharing some of the experiences he had with that rally.
I asked Tony what, in particular, stood out to him and he said that he had given three girls a Young Eagle flight and he had a photo of these three youngsters standing in front of his aircraft with huge smiles on their faces.
He told me he had a huge chuckle from these girls as they discussed the need for each to have a "call sign" before they boarded the aircraft, reminiscent of Top Gun.
I think this is something I'll incorporate into future Young Eagle flights that I make!
I also had the pleasure of running into Minnesota Flyer Managing Editor Tim Hennagir at the fly-in. Seeing him running around the tarmac talking to people brought back memories of Charlotte Swanson doing the same a few years ago. Tim is following the footsteps of Charlotte, putting his fingers on the pulse of Minnesota aviation, while further improving this magazine. We are thankful for that.
It was a treat to see many children looking at airplanes, touching them (with great care), looking with amazement as the engines fired to life. Herein lies one of the most important outcomes of these events...getting future generations to experience and appreciate aviation. It is a treat to ask the parents if their child would like to sit in the pilot's seat, to lift them into place and see their smiles. This brings a warmth to this old aviator's heart.