The Beacon April 10, 2024

The Beacon

April 11, 2024

This is the semimonthly email newsletter from the Experimental Aircraft Association of Lake Elmo, MN.  If you have difficulty reading this information, view it on the chapter website.

Accident substantially damages RV-12
EAAAn RV-12iS, formerly based at Lake Elmo Airport was substantially damaged during a training flight on Friday April 5 when it went off the runway and its front landing gear collapsed. The plane, N245EM, was used for flight training by Both Wings Inc., which is now based at Fleming Field in South St. Paul. The incident happened just before 3 p.m., according to the National Transportation Safety Board report. The circumstances surrounding the event are presently unknown; the weather was perfect, and the winds were light at the time.

MAC reliever boss brings positive vibe to chapter

Joe Harris, MAC's director of reliever airports, speaks at the chapter monthly meeting on April 8 2024

Joe Harris, the head of reliever airports for the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) gave an upbeat report on the area's airport situation during the regular monthly meeting of EAA Chapter 54 on April 8, 2024. It was a relatively sparsely attended gathering, possibly owing the solar eclipse earlier in the day. Chief among the positive vibes was the fact that, at least for storage tenants a Lake Elmo Airport, MAC fees are going down.

"The last time we looked at our rates and charges for our reliever reports was 2014," he told the group. "From about 2000 to 2014, we adjusted rates and charges every other year.  We're lowering the annual escalator from how it's written into the ordinance today. So that's a good message because that represents about 95% of my audience and when I say that I'm expecting the public hearing not to go too bad. Now they might still say, 'hey, they're high.' Okay, fair. We're not cheap. We get it but what we hope and what we offer to you and services is unmatched, the reality is as all six of our reliever reports today." Read more about the meeting >>

First Young Eagles rally scheduled
The cub pilot in a Cub airplane
Registration has just opened for the first Chapter 54 Young Eagles Day of the summer. Slots are very limited as the day depends on having enough volunteers. At the April 8 meeting, Young Eagles coordinator Dale Seitzer reported that all 36 slots filled up in less than a week from the time reservations were opened.  We're always looking for pilot volunteers and ground support personnel. Chapter members can find the requirements here.

Saturday morning safety seminars
On an as-able basis (basically, Saturdays when the Twins don't play a day game nor a Young Eagles Day), EAA Chapter 54 invites its members and visitors to stop by the Chapter House for a cup of coffee and the Saturday Morning Coffee and Wings Seminar.  Although these seminars are eligible for Wings credit, we're unable to provide the credit because we don't have a FAAS team representative to monitor attendance. If you register separately, you will not be able to obtain Wings credit unless you log in separately and the chapter house WiFi cannot handle the additional bandwidth at this time. See schedule >>

April Board of Directors Meeting
The April meeting of the EAA Chapter 54 Board of Directors was held on Monday April 1 with eight of 13 directors attending, enough for a quorum. Directors discussed planning for the August pancake fly-in and got their first look at the chapter survey, which revealed - among other things - that most of you aren't reading this. Thirty-five  members  clicked the link to take the survey, which will be used to align the chapter's focus to their desires. The survey will be discussed at the May regular chapter meeting.  See the minutes >>

St. Paul tower controllers seek to reduce air conflicts
Downtown St. Paul tower controller Keith Thompson shows what his radar screen looks like during a safety seminar on March 30, 2024Meeting with area pilots, including several chapter members,  at South St. Paul's Fleming Field, two tower controllers from downtown St. Paul Airport sought to enlist help in reducing the number of traffic conflicts between pilots arriving and leaving South St. Paul and air traffic -- mostly jets -- arriving downtown. To be sure, the controllers noted that conflicts have been substantially reduced over the last few years in the East Metro because of increased emphasis on "hot zones" by ATC and the FAA. Read more >>

Chapter banners added

EAA Chapter 54 banners

We now have two new marketing banners available for use. A previous Young Eagles banner disappeared about a year ago. We've replaced that one and added a chapter banner. These should be used for branding in the event you attend an aviation-related event as a representative of the chapter. They'll also be used  at Young Eagles rallies, of course.  You will find them rolled up and stored on top of the treasurer's file cabinet in the "office". Please do not use the Gold Chapter banner that hangs in the entryway.

Van: ''I'm back, baby!"
A few years ago, Richard VanGrunsven tried to step away from the iconic homebuilding company he created. His employees got a piece of the action. Then COVID came along with all its headaches, the company made questionable business decisions and last year Van's Aircraft filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Now it's becoming clearer how the company emerges from the proceeding. Van is getting equity in the company in exchange for the millions he's put into it since the filing, and the employee stock plan is kaput. The creditors will get 55 cents on the dollar. But customer deposits will not be affected. Here's the pdf copy of the filing. In late March, Greg Hughes of Van's issued a video update on the situation. Watch video >>

The Cooperstown of RV Builders
If there were such a thing as a Cooperstown for RV Builders, Chapter 54 member Doug Weiler's hangar (which he shares with Paul Hove)  at Lake Elmo Airport would be the place, at least on Saturday when he hosted the Twin Cities RV Builders Group (which he chairs) for an RVbuilding roundtable. There were some real Hall of Famers there. Watch the video >>

Jeff Dale

May 11 Meeting
To really be valuable to a pilot, a flight simulator program has to be realistic. Flight simulator programs themselves have become fantastic at presenting flight realism but who flies from a desk chair. EAA Chapter 54 member Jeff Dale builds "simpits", cockpits used with flight simulator programs to replicate the true feeling of flight. Learn more about Jeff and his interest in flight simulation in the April 2023 edition of The Beacon. The Cinema 54 showing in May is "Sully." Showtime is 5:05 p.m.


The E-Beacon is a semimonthly newsletter highlighting news items from Chapter 54. If you no longer wish to receive the email, you can unsubscribe by sending an mail to

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