Thunderbird Aviation Hosts Minnesota Trades Annual Membership Meeting

Published in Midwest Flyer – Oct/Nov 2016

EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. – Thunderbird Aviation at Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie, Minn., hosted the annual meeting of the Minnesota Aviation Trades Association (MATA), August 18, 2016. MATA Treasurer Nancy Grazzini-Olson, President & CEO of Thunderbird Aviation and Academy College, welcomed members and invited guests. MATA Secretary Dave Weiman of Midwest Flyer Magazine chaired the meeting on behalf of MATA President Greg Reigel who was unable to attend. Other board members present included MATA Vice President Alison Wynne of Hays Companies, Minneapolis, Minn.; Dick Cross of Cirrus FBO, Anoka County – Blaine Airport, Blaine, Minn.; Butch Detjen of Airways Aviation Center, Grand Rapids, Minn.; and Doug Evink of Tanis Aircraft Products, Blaine, Minn.

Special guests included Cassandra Isackson, Rick Braunig and Kathy Vesely of the Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics; Gary Schmidt and other officials of the Metropolitan Airports Commission; and Gordon Hoff of the Minnesota Business Aviation Association.

Association accomplishments over the past year included holding bimonthly board meetings via teleconferencing, which has enabled all directors to participate, regardless of their location and business schedules.

The MATA Advocacy Committee has worked at both the state and federal levels in a joint effort with the Minnesota Business Aviation Association (MBAA) and Minnesota Council of Airports (MCOA). Such efforts included a delegation that traveled to Washington, D.C. on February 2-3, 2016, to discussed current issues facing general aviation with members of Congress. The three organizations then led a statewide effort to meet with state legislators at  “Minnesota Aviation Day At The Capitol” on March 16 to brief them on issues facing general aviation closer to home. Further advocacy efforts included quarterly meetings with representatives of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) to learn of MAC initiatives and address MATA member concerns.

Other MATA initiatives during the past year have included redesigning the MATA website and Facebook Page, promotion of MATA’s scholarship program, and supporting FAA Authorization and the Pilots Bill of Rights II.

Alison Wynne, chairman of the MATA Scholarship Committee, presented this year’s $2,000.00 scholarship to Andrew Schmidt of Grand Rapids, Minn. Schmidt has been working as a wildland firefighter for multiple state and federal agencies across the U.S. He has been inspired by the work being done by firefighter and emergency search and rescue pilots, and plans to pursue a career as a flight instructor to encourage young people to pursue those professions.

While in high school and as an exchange student in Norway, Schmidt volunteered with the Norwegian Red Cross as an avalanche patroller, and upon returning to the U.S., volunteered  with a local first responder group.

Schmidt holds a degree in Forestry Management from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and has now become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), and a first aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) instructor.

“As an EMT, ski patroller, and member of a search and rescue team, I have witnessed how emergency personnel can be repelled from a helicopter, and how patients can be flown from rugged, remote locations to hospitals for treatment,” said Schmidt. “I have also seen how fixed-wing aircraft are used as air ambulances in rural communities.” Schmidt has recently returned to Minnesota and continues to work as a wildland firefighter, and member of the Civil Air Patrol.

Dave Weiman presented MATA’s “Meritorious Service Award” to Darrell Eugene Bolduc of Bolduc Aviation Specialized Services, and acknowledged his contributions to MATA as a past officer and board member, and to the aviation community. Bolduc and his wife, Devra, have recently sold the business, located at Anoka County – Blaine Airport in the Twin Cities, to long-time employees, Kevin Dunrud and Tim Hied.

Weiman said that the name “Bolduc” resonates throughout the aviation community as a quality aircraft engine rebuilding company, and will for many years to come, thanks to the expertise of technicians Bolduc has mentored.

Bolduc has been in business for 37 years beginning in 1979 when he purchased an aircraft engine rebuilding business from Jack Sandberg, which at the time was located near Minneapolis-Crystal Airport. After four years, Bolduc moved to his present location at Anoka County – Blaine Airport in 1983.

Bolduc Aviation Specialized Services include, but are not limited to, engine rebuilding and repair to factory zero-time specifications; precision electronic crankshaft balancing; cylinder overhaul and repair; Continental starter adapter overhaul; cleaning of all engine parts; engine balancing; cylinder grinding (.010, .015); rebush and line boring of counterweight bushing; rebush and boring of connecting rods and rocker arms; overhaul of magnetos, starters, float-type carburetors and turbo controllers; magnaflux and zyglo inspection of parts; and ultrasonic inspection of Continental crankshafts (

Gordon Hoff of the Minnesota Business Aviation Association emphasized the importance of “Aviation Day At The State Capitol,” even at a time when there are no pressing issues.

Hoff noted that 10 percent of the legislature will be new in 2017, and it is important to remind new members of the role general aviation plays in the state.

Hoff also discussed the need for a GA Caucus in Minnesota, and stressed the importance of all three professional state aviation organizations to show unity and to speak as one voice.

Other speakers at the annual meeting included Cassandra Isackson of the MNDOT Office of Aeronautics, and Gary Schmidt of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC). Isackson said that her office has returned to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh with a booth and forum presentation, and welcomed the participation of airport managers from throughout the state to help man the booth.

When asked if there would be any MAC reliever airports available to aircraft not equipped with ADS-B out after 2020 when the FAA equipment mandate goes into effect, Schmidt believed that both Airlake and Lake Elmo airports would be available, but hoped that the mandate will not be a problem for aircraft owners and aviation businesses at MAC airports.

The MATA Nomination Committee chaired by Olson presented a slate of three candidates to fill three board positions including Mike Beard, Greg Reigel and Dave Weiman.  A voice vote was taken, and all nominees were unanimously elected for three-year terms.

Doug Evink moved to adjourn the meeting. Seconded by Bill Mavencamp.  Motion carried.

MATA strives to be the voice of the Minnesota aviation industry. Through its nine-member board of directors, MATA assists members in building ethical, strong, and competitive aviation businesses. MATA scholarships help create tomorrow’s aviation professionals. Above all else, MATA works to grow general aviation – locally, statewide, and nationally (

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