Letter from the Director

Greetings Airmen Members!   

It’s that time of year again!  I bet you can imagine what is on the mind of the Association staff and Board Members.  It’s the Great Alaska Aviation Gathering, of course!  The event is back in Palmer this year on May 6th and 7th and we are hard at work to make it bigger and better than ever.   

Some new things to experience include a STOL demo at the airport sponsored by the Valdez Fly-In to get you geared up for their big event the following weekend (May 12-14), Kids Drone Yoga with Advanced Aerial Education, and a chance to test your knot tying skills with the Safety Committee’s tiedown rope tester.   

Another new feature (we hope!) is less chaos!  With such amazing crowds attending at the Palmer venue, this year we are getting some help from the local Palmer High Moose Hockey team to keep things moving smoothly. As always, Alaska Airmen members get free VIP parking in the orange lot behind Raven Hall! See a map at www.alaskaairmen.org/greatgathering for details.  Just show your Member card or invite email (going out later this month) to get access. For general attendees parking in the red lot, contribute $5 (cash or credit) to the Hockey Team’s fundraiser and be directed to your spot. Prefer not to participate? No problem, Anchorage Trolley Tours are back!  A free shuttle sponsored by Cruz Construction runs throughout the event with multiple stops throughout Palmer! Two direct route trolleys provide a great way to get to and from the airport, as well.  Again, details and maps are available on our website.   

Some crowd favorites are returning, as well.  Heli Alaska will be offering helicopter rides around Pioneer Peak.  The Division of Forestry will demonstrate their mind-blowing water bombing again.  Skydivers are back and better than ever, free kids activities are expanded, the career fair is packed with eager employers, and Sutton Salvage is bringing the goods to the Fly Market!  There is just too much to mention!  And of course there are ways for you to participate.  Fly right in to the fairgrounds by signing up for the Show and Shine or expand your technical knowledge by joining us for the Aircraft Maintenance Workshop on Friday May 5th.  Or consider volunteering!  There is not a more fun way to spend an afternoon and earn the coveted Alaska Airmen orange volunteer hoodie.  Registration for all these events can be found at alaskaairmen.org/greatgathering.     

Also, the aircraft raffle fundraiser is coming to a close as we typically sell out in April but there is still time to get tickets for that beautiful Carbon Cub!   You can buy online at alaskaairmen.org/raffle, call us at 907-245-1251 or stop by Northern Lights Avionics in Anchorage to get your chance at winning the airplane and 9 other incredible prizes before its too late.    

Plus, there is more to life than just the Great Alaska Aviation Gathering (so they tell me!) so please check out some of the other terrific articles.  Adam White has made some significant progress recently on our Advocacy projects, scholarship award announcements are coming soon, and we have three new Board Members joining us this fall that are eager to get to work.  And, as always, members are sharing their stories about their passions and how they have been engaging with our Alaskan aviation community.  Please enjoy and I can’t wait to see you all in May!   

Abby Austin 

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