EAA Chapter 54

St. Paul, MN. (Lake Elmo)

News Archive

Annual chapter survey underway

(Nov. 18) - Chapter members should have received an email announce the annual EAA survey of chapter members.

It's a chance to help align the local chapter with your desires. After the survey has closed, the folks in Oshkosh will break out the Chapter 54 component and we can get a great sense of what you're looking for with your chapter membership. And I presume we'll talk about it at a meeting in the spring (when the results are expected). The survey closes on December 31.

It doesn't take very long (3 minutes) to answer all the questions; they're not hard. You can either put your name to it or answer anonymously. Last year, only 23 members took the survey and while the results were interesting, it didn't constitute a big enough sample to draw any conclusions.

This year we're hoping for a big participation so big things can happen over the next two years. Thank you for helping to make EAA Chapter 54 better.

Take the survey.

December chapter video magazine

(Nov. 15) -- In the latest episode of Charlie Becker's video, he discusses the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which was held recently and included the posthumous induction of Neal Loving in the homebuilders category. EAA Homebuilders week and the organization's anniversary are coming up. Six webinars a day will be presented for a week in January on the subject of building your own airplane. It runs January 22-26. If you are at all interested in building an airplane, you need to check out the lineup when it is released. "Fundamentally, EAA was formed around the subject of homebuilt airplanes," he noted. Becker also discussed name tags, indicating that Chapter 1095 is now making larger name tags available with the heritage logo and they're making them available to other chapters.  And a chapter survey was sent to four officers of each chapter, according to Becker.  The survey provides Oshkosh with feedback on how individual chapters are doing and he urged officers to make that available to all chapter members. And, finally, Becker reminded chapters that renewal is due by the end of the year.

Transition to new chapter leadership underway

Incoming president Marlon Gunderson and his predecessor, Leif Erickson, prepare to end a chapter meeting on November 13, 2023.(Nov. 14) - Members of Chapter 54 unanimously approved a new slate of officers on Monday night, ushering in a new era of chapter leadership with plenty of challenges ahead. In so doing, the chapter bid adieu to outgoing officers with a bottle of hooch and thanks for a job well done. 

Outgoing President Leif Erickson completed an extended two-term stay in the position after agreeing to take it on several years ago because nobody else wanted it. He led the chapter through the difficult  COVID years, which curtailed most fundraising activity. At the same time, however, the chapter increased its commitment to a mission of education, focusing primarily on scholarships for young people learning to fly and providing an exposure to aviation through the Young Eagles program.

"I've had a wonderful working relationship with Leif," recalled outgoing vice president Robyn Stoller, who set a high bar in her own right, producing the monthly chapter speaker series, which chapter members rated among the primary reasons for their membership.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Erickson handed a gavel to new president Marlon Gunderson, who aced his first task: calling for a motion to end the meeting.

Gunderson stepped forward to assume the chapter leadership in much the same way and for the same reasons Erickson did: he wanted the chapter to continue.

His email on Tuesday outlined his themes:

My chapter goals are simple and unambitious:

  • Don't bankrupt the chapter.  Keep up with our expenses through dues and fundraising.
  • Maintain the clubhouse -- support our housing director with volunteers and funds, maybe target a portion of our savings as a clubhouse reserve with a timeline for expected expenses.
  • Deliver programs that draw member attendance.
  • Foster friendship and community.
    • Be inviting to members and visitors at our meetings and events
    • Encourage members to consider presenting a program of their choice
    • Encourage members to consider Oshkosh work parties, Airventure group camps, Chapter Flyouts
  • Support our outreach programs and our coordinators who are leading those (YE, Education, Scholarships, Fundraisers).
  • Make our directors and volunteers feel appreciated for their efforts.
  • And for me personally: enjoy our community, time with our leadership team, and time together in our volunteer efforts
I'm not evangelical about aviation. I just want to provide a way for those with similar interests to plug-in to a community they can learn and grow with.

I'm not going to be enthusiastic about rewriting bylaws, crafting vision statements, doing surveys, and creating 5 year plans for doubling our membership.  I don't like doing that stuff and last time I checked I'm not getting paid to do so.  I retired from a corporation for a reason.

I've found there is no shortage of unsolicited advise on what other people should do. You will hear lots of "why aren't we... or "somebody should... type statements without a commitment to be part of, or leading, an effort to accomplish that advice.  The shortage tends to be in people with available time and desire to contribute.

For those of you with a greater ambition, vision, or commitment to EAA or what a chapter can be, I'll invite you to volunteer to lead the chapter in that direction when you have the opportunity to take the presidency in a future term.
Emma Gaustad

The transition to new leadership will continue over the next month as email accounts are transferred to new recipients and outgoing leaders teach processes to the leaders. Gunderson plans to gather his new Board of Directors soon to discuss the upcoming two years. He also intends to plan the chapter's traditional holiday party, which takes the place of the regular December meeting.

 The new team: Marlon Gunderson is taking on the presidency, assisted by Jay Schrankler as vice president. New members of the Board of Directors include Emma Gaustad (pictured) as treasurer, taking over from Tom Gibbons, and Jeff Dale as education director, taking over from Gregg Adler. Dale Seitzer replaces Vicky Moore as director of the chapter's robust Young Eagles program.  Scott Hanson is the chapter's new membership director. Meet the new leadership team here.

Harry Holmberg's Bellanca featured at November meeting
Harry Holmberg speaks about the restoration of his airplane during a chapter meeting in November 13,2023.

It's not every day a Reserve Grand Champion Lindy walks in the door of the Chapter 54 headquarters, but, then again, it's not every day someone so beautifully restores a vintage aircraft, as chapter member Harry Holmberg did. He brought the trophy, symbolic of building excellence as honored by judges at AirVenture in Oshkosh in 2023, and provided the program for the November chapter meeting, describing the acquisition and painstaking restoration of the Bellanca.

Harry Holmberg discusses his Bellanca restoration during the November 2023 meeting at Chapter 54 .

Chapter House repainting begins

Entrance with new paint scheme design
During the winter, there'll be changes made inside the EAA chapter house. Work has already begun to transform the entrance area. The interior will be repainted (Sherwin Williams' Amazing Gray). The coat rack will be moved to the opposite wall and the newly painted wall will host an exhibit of Chapter 54's history. Many of the items currently hung on the walls in the main area will be moved to this area.  This work area will likely not be done before the November meeting. After that meeting the painting will conclude in the entrance area, and painting will begin on the west and north wall in the main meeting area. The pictures of member airplanes will be removed.  It's hoped this section will be completed before the December meeting.  

Work on the East and South Wall will begin after the December meeting. During this time the monitor, soundbar, and shelves will be removed. The plan is to have this section painted by the January meeting.  

Eventually, it's hoped to replace the "colorful", but uncomfortable folding chairs with uniform padded folding chairs. Longer term, it would be nice to remove the desk and bookcases to create a smaller "conversation spot" along the west wall.

Designer's suggestion for conversation area

The ideas stem from an interior designer's assessment of the space last winter who set as a project goal "to update current classroom space to better facilitate learning and provide an updated, comfortable atmosphere for EAA chapter meetings and events, as well as encourage and increase new chapter membership."

Meet the (likely) new leadership team

The annual election of officers for Chapter 54 will be held at the conclusion of the regular monthly meeting on Monday November 13. Unless there are surprise candidates (which would be a heck of a surprise), the field is set with Marlon Gunderson taking on the presidency, assisted by Jay Schrankler as vice president. New members of the Board of Directors include Emma Gaustad as treasurer, taking over from Tom Gibbons, and Jeff Dale as education director. Dale Seitzer will assume directorship of the chapter's robust Young Eagles program. 

Weather talk tops October meeting

Brian Hubbard

October's regular meeting featured Brian Hubbard, shown above sporting his new Chapter 54 and there's one photo of him with his newly acquired Ch.54 hat. 

Marlon Gunderson provides this summary of the meeting:

Brian is originally from New Brighton, and is currently back living there (and recently became a parent), working as a CFI for Cadotte Aero (Fleming Field), recently relocated from Two Harbors, and also was a former resident of Northfield, MN and Alaska.

Brian is a CFI and holds tailwheel and seaplane ratings as well as multi-engine land commercial and instrument ratings and is an MSP FAA Safety Team rep.

Brian applied for and was accepted to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Officer Training Program, which will bring him to Connecticut and then Lakeland Florida for training. NOAA flies 10 aircraft total, 8 out of Lakeland and 2 out of Chanhassen, MN, of 4 different models: Twin Otter, King Air, P3, and a Citation. The Lakeland aircraft work hurricane tracking and support various ocean research programs. Much of the Chanhassen work is focused on snow cover surveys. Brian reviewed the mission of the NOAA and then discussed the various online resources available for doing preflight weather briefing.

(Select the drop-down menu on the left to see EAA chapter video and meeting minutes)

Gunderson to lead Chapter 54

Marlon GundersonLongtime EAA Chapter 54 member Marlon Gunderson had a good reason for stepping forward to serve as president of the chapter. "I didn't want it to fold," he told the chapter's Board of Directors on Monday night. The Board will send his name to the full membership at the November membership meeting. His move averts a potential crisis for the chapter which had faced the prospect of having no chapter senior leaders to present to members at November's annual election.

The chapter is still looking for someone to take on the vice president's role, whose main duty is organizing the monthly programs and filling in when the president is unavailable.

The membership coordinator position is also vacant although outgoing president Leif Erickson said he would put his name in for consideration if no one else stepped forward. "I'd like to remain involved in the chapter," he told the board.

Those are the only remaining positions for which no candidates emerged.  Pending the outcome of voting in November, Ed Trudeau has volunteered to continue as chapter secretary. Dale Seitzer will assume the role of Young Eagles coordinator, Jeff Dale, who joined the chapter in 2023 and was profiled in the April issue of The Beacon, will likely become the education coordinator, replacing Gregg Adler; and Emma Gaustad will become the chapter treasurer, taking over from Tom Gibbons.

Chapter 54's Ray Scholar is now a pilot

Mathew Lynes, EAA Chapter 54's first Ray Scholarship winner, poses with his plane after passing a checkride

(October 1) - The first Ray Scholarship recipient in the history of Chapter 54 has completed his flight training and checkride and is now a newly minted private pilot. Matt Lynes completed his checkride on Saturday Sept. 30, capping about an 8-month effort. His first solo occurred in May 2023. 

 Once a chapter is approved for the program, it nominates the chosen scholar for EAA’s final review. Many chapters are granted the full $11,000 for their selected scholar, but some chapters have committed 25 percent of the award to secure their slot in the program. All EAA and divisional chapters in the United States and Canada are eligible for a grant up to $11,000.

Volunteers gussy up chapter house landscape

EAA 54 members volunteered to clean up the landscaping around the clubhouse foundations on September 30, 2023.

(September 30) -  Leif Erickson, Bruce Olson, Dale Seitzer, and Gordon Duke showed up to help clean up the landscaping around the chapter clubhouse after weeds and overgrowth made it "embarrassing".  The clubhouse maintenance person has been in Boston since August taking care of his sister.  "We got most of the weeds pulled and the shrubs along the ramp leading up to the front door trimmed," said Leif Eriickson, outgoing president of Chapter 54. Now the shrubs are not encroaching on the walkway. We'll leave the weeds under the deck for a few shots of Roundup."  Erickson said the weather cooperated despite the forecast. "My rain gauge showed 3 inches of rain in Stillwater on Friday and early Saturday," he said.

See more photos

New leaders stepping up

When: Elections will occur at a Special Membership Meeting called at the conclusion of the November 13th Member Gathering.

Membership Meeting Agenda items:

·         Open meeting.
·         Present candidates.
·         Open nominations from the floor.
·         Close nominations from the floor.
·         Vote will be by
o   voice vote, or
o   paper ballot, if more than one candidate per office.
·         Adjourn



President – Open
Vice President – Open
Secretary – Ed Trudeau (incumbent)
Treasurer – Emma Gaustad

Class III Directors and Coordinators

Young Eagles Coordinator – Dale Seitzer
Education Director – Jeff Dale
Membership Coordinator – Open

Terms of Office:

Two Years. Commences at the close of the 2023 Membership Meeting. Expires at the close of the 2025 Membership Meeting.

Officer Duties:

Thanks to Web Editor Bob Collins for providing a chapter website plea for members to step up to the challenge of chapter leadership. EAA Chapter 54. Scroll down to find “Wanted: Leaders” Also click on “the amount of support” to obtain a detailed list of Officer duties as listed in the Chapter Handbook.

Membership Coordinator

·         Maintain the chapter membership roster.
·         Welcome and greet guests at Member Gatherings.
·         Develop strategies to recruit new members.
·         Recommend candidates for membership classifications; Regular, Family, Honorary/Complimentary, and Special status.

Education Director

·         Organize Farnsworth Hangar Tour.
·         Organize Young Eagles Workshop.
·         Promote EAA AeroEducate programs.

Young Eagles Coordinator

·         Facilitates and promotes Young Eagles Rallies.
·         Facilitates and promotes Eagles Flights.
·         Recruit and facilitate AirAcademy Scholarship candidates.

How to become a candidate for an Open Position:

Please email Leif  or Robyn.

The reward of service

My favorite phrase for organizations like Chapter 54 is “everyone takes a turn”. If you have already served your term, thank you for your service. If you have not, ask yourself the questions; “Why not?”, “What can I contribute?”, “How can I make a difference?”. This is your opportunity to contribute to an organization that promotes general and sport aviation to our local community. Something we are all passionate about. It's a topic that matters to us. Your input matters. Your service matters. It’s time to “take your turn” … now. -- President Leif

A 100LL shortage may be looming

A Facebook post by South St. Paul's airport manager is raising the specter of either a shortage of 100LL fuel or a significant  spike in its cost. According to the Fleming Field manager,  Andrew Wall, the Pine Bend refinery has decided to discontinue blending 100LL at its facility, just southeast of Fleming. The only source of the critical supply would be Chicago.

Here's the message he posted:

Good Afternoon,

Yesterday we received the official word that the Pine Bend Refinery in Rosemount has stopped producing 100LL and no longer has any on hand. We found this out the hard way at Fleming Field last week when we ordered and it took 6 days to get here from Chicago which forced us to shut down our pumps for 2 days because we were out of fuel. For many airports in the state, 100LL is the lifeblood of the airport and this disruption will be felt across the region. I spoke with our distributer, World Fuel/Phillips 66 and they were completely unaware of the 100LL supply issues. They are working diligently to come up with a long term solution but for now it sounds like our 100LL options are Chicago or Winnipeg. Both of these locations come with higher transportation costs which will in turn be passed on to the consumers. One potential solution we talked about was transporting Avgas in railcars to a storage tank at the refinery but many moving parts have to align for this to work correctly. I have also put the word out to the other airport managers in the state so we can collectively come up with solutions to this problem.   

I have placed several calls in to Pine Bend in an effort to understand the stop in production but have yet to receive a call back. Please understand that this is going to be a bit of a learning curve for us when it comes to ordering our Avgas, but Collin and I will do everything we can to minimize the disruption in our fuel supply here at Fleming Field.  

Thank you for your patience and cooperation. 

 October Chapter Video Magazine Posted

In this month's chapter video, Charlie Becker gets you up to date on EAA happenings: 1.) EAA AeroEducate for Chapters 2.) Solid Edge 3.) Chapter Elections 4.) Chapter Leadership Academy 5.) Chapter Leadership Bootcamp. Watch the video.

Fly-Out to Granite Falls Scheduled
The only planned fly-out I have on the agenda this year is out to Granite Falls to the Fagen Fighters Museum. It will be on Saturday October 14th. The museum is open 10:00-4:00, and is about 116 Miles to the west. We'd leave about 9:00 or 9:30, and get there about an hour later. They should have most of their fleet back as the airshow circuit is winding down. I'd think we'd stay 3-4 Hours. Let me know if you are interested in going out. Depending on who's going, we should have some seats available. I can manage that the closer we get to the date and try to coordinate this.

Bill Schanks

Chapter 54 at Open House

Marlon Gunderson and Scott Hutchinson
EAA Chapter 54 members staffed an exhibit table at Lake Elmo Aero's Open House on Saturday September 16, 2023.  Marlon Gunderson, Bill Schanks Sr., and Jr., and Robyn Stoller were among the luminaries representing the chapter and talking to several people interested in aviation and the work of our chapter. You can find more photos on the chapter photo page.

Road Trip to New Richmond

It's like the Wizard of Oz

(September 11) Members of EAA chapter 54 experience what Dorothy must have experienced when she finally reached the Emerald City. The chapter held its September meeting in a hangar at New Richmond Airport on Monday September 11th.   Thanks to Jay Schrankler for setting it up and thank you to Robyn Stoller and Marlon Gunderson for providing the images, all of which you can find here. Warning: there actually are better places than home.

Volunteer shortage scuttles Young Eagles Day

The September Young Eagles rally on September 9 was cancelled due to a maintenance issue and a shortage of pilots and ground personnel to safely handle several dozen scheduled flights. The lack of volunteers was highlighted in a midsummer plea to members to support the signature program of the chapter but has, thus far, not yielded the response necessary to guarantee the program's future.

The next Young Eagles event is scheduled for October 14.

Time to step up 

We are approaching the end of the chapter's administrative year and the end of the terms of the chapter leadership. It's time for people to step forward to volunteer and keep the chapter alive. This is not an easy task; people are busy and the natural inclination is to let someone else step forward. And that's all well and good unless everyone else has the same thought. Then nobody steps forward. 

This is a critical time in Chapter 54's 60+ year history. The most active members are getting older and the chapter needs the next generation of leaders to step forward. Perhaps you've had a few thoughts over the last few years about things you wish the chapter would do to make it more relevant to you. This is your opportunity to help provide that change.

The good news is that never has the amount of support available to help you been better. 

Here are the opportunities:


    • Leads the chapter
    • Primary point of contact with EAA HQ
    • Appoints chairmen and committees
    • Presides over chapter functions

Vice President
    • Performs the duties of President when President is unavailable

     • Records and publishes minutes of business meeting
     • Maintains a permanent file of key documents

     • Maintains chapter finances
    • Receives and deposits all funds o Issues checks (as per the bylaws)
    • Balances checkbook • Maintains financial books and records
    • Files IRS 990N annually
    • If a charity, issues receipts for donation

There are, of course, even more opportunities.

Nominations are now being accepted. Please contact President Leif Erickson to put your name in.

August Young Eagles Rally

Emma with John Schmidt

Your chapter web editor has been driving to Boston to take care of his ailing sister and apologizes for the delay in posting this month's Young Eagles photos but they are now available here. All the smiles packed into a few pages. Find them here.

FAA considers expanding flight privileges with MOSAIC

The FAA, in mid-July, publicly released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the long-awaited MOSAIC package of aircraft certification. MOSAIC, or Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certificates, would expand the utility of light sport aircraft and opportunities for sport pilots. Comments on the NPRM will be open for 90 days after the official date of publication in the Federal Register, which is expected later this week or early next.

In brief, the proposed rule would increase most current regulatory parameters on Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA). This includes the replacement of today’s arbitrary weight limit with a flexible approach that primarily utilizes stall speed, with the FAA’s stated goal to allow for larger, easy to fly aircraft of up to approximately 3000 pounds. (See chart that compares with present status with proposed status)

For fixed-wing airplanes, the new definition specifies a “clean” stall speed (VS1) of 54 knots calibrated airspeed, a maximum level flight speed (VH) of 250 knots, and a maximum seating capacity of four occupants – all of which are increases over the current rule – are the only regulatory definitions given for LSA. All else will be governed by industry consensus standards, as is the case today. Read more >>

EAA 54 at AirVenture
EAA Chapter 54 was well represented at Oshkosh in July. The group camping area worked out well, Gregg Adler reports, with some flexibility:

"While our campsite was half as wide as the ones across the street and everywhere else due to the South Africans being afforded road access on both the west and the east of there expansive space, it was only about 4.5 x 2 blocks from the main gate.  After driving courtesy carts in the far south Red camping (North and South).  It must be a mile and a half for some of those people.  Chapter preferential camping is a great benefit to being part of the chapter."

"Despite parking our rigs on or over the east and west boundaries we were pretty tight.  Pat Moore and my awnings overlapping we were so close, but it made for great shade.  Everyone fit and we had a great time.   The tight quarters also made it hard to find space for my two dogs.  Thanks for putting up with dogs that were regularly entangling their leashes in tables and chairs, exploring food smells of others, requesting food samples, and barking at suspicious pedestrians and the occasional dog walker."

The neighbors, Chapter 1641 (Bloomsburg, PA.), provided some artwork

A greeting from EAA 1641

At the annual breakfast of chapter leaders on the last Saturday of AirVenture, Jim Pearsall picked up the chapter's award for best website.

The chapter's September program will feature members' reflections of this year's event.

MOSAIC Takes Significant Step Forward

The FAA this week publicly released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) for the long-awaited MOSAIC package of aircraft certification. MOSAIC, or Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certificates, would expand the utility of light sport aircraft and opportunities for sport pilots. Comments on the NPRM will be open for 90 days after the official date of publication in the Federal Register, which is expected later this week or early next. Readmore›

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