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Aviation’s Spirit Alive and Well in Minnesota

August 26, 2015 - Staff members from EAA headquarters made their way up to Minnesota for the AOPA fly-in on August 22 at Anoka County-Blaine Airport. Charlie Becker, Jim Busha, Kevin Loppnow, Jack Pelton, Tricia Rathermel, Amy Reese, and Kyle Voltz had a chance to meet face-to-face with existing members from the Minneapolis region, as well as other attendees to expose them to the benefits of EAA.

The day included a pancake breakfast, an ice cream social sponsored by Sporty’s Pilot Shop, and—of course—aircraft. The event used Greg Harrick’s Golden Wings Museum as the main hall, showcasing his amazing collection of golden-age airplanes, including three Ford Tri-Motors. EAA’s One Week Wonder was also on hand.

AOPA President Jim Baker was on hand for the event, which was largely put together with the help of volunteers from EAA Chapters 237 and 25, many of whom are also AOPA members.

EAA Chairman of the Board Jack J. Pelton said the dedication shown by volunteers and the encouragement of community members to join EAA and experience aviation year round makes AOPA events feel like a mini Oshkosh.

“The EAA chapters are responsible for the lion’s share of the work: setting up, cooking, parking cars and airplanes,” Pelton said. “It’s truly the heart of the volunteers that shine through and make these events a very inviting atmosphere for aviation enthusiasts, who showcase what can be accomplished and welcome all who love aviation to become a member of EAA.”

The event went beyond being just a fun way for chapters to volunteer their time; the pancake breakfast also benefitted the chapter and EAA’s goals of spreading the spirit of aviation.

“For every pancake breakfast we serve we earn $1, which goes to our Young Eagles program, our education programs that we do a lot with our local schools to help introduce youth into aviation,” said Kirk Fjetland, Chapter 237 events and communication officer in charge.

Chapter 237 President Bob Heavirland emphasized the welcoming and inclusive spirit of the aviation community: “We welcome all comers, whether or not you’re a pilot or just enthusiasts. The only requirement is the love of aviation-period.”      

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