Madden’s Attracts Good Crowd of Seaplane Owners Despite Rain

by Dave Weiman
Published in Midwest Flyer – August/September 2019 issue

Under the leadership of Steve Guetter, president of the Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association (MSPA), the organization’s annual safety seminar and fly-in, May 17 – 19, 2019 at Madden’s Resort on Gull Lake, Brainerd, Minnesota, was a success, despite rain and overcast skies. The seminar began with welcome messages from Guetter and event cosponsor, Cassandra Isackson, Director of the Minnesota Office of Aeronautics.

Safety seminars dominated the event, featuring Jeff Flynn from the Minnesota Office of Aeronautics, with his topic “Seaplane Flight Risk Assessment” on Friday evening.

On Saturday, Minnesota pilot, Dan Bass of Winona, Minnesota, told of his near fatal accident which occurred on February 2, 2017 on a night cross-country between Duluth and Winona in which he was overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning, and crash landed near Rochester when his Mooney ran out of fuel. He recommended that all pilots have at least one carbon monoxide detector in their aircraft to prevent such occurrences.

Dr. Brent Blue spoke on the topic of “Special Issuance Medicals.” Flight instructor and examiner, Woody Minar, covered “Risk Management: Identification, Management & Mitigation.” Flight instructor and 2019 Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame inductee, Brian Addis, spoke on the topic of “Flying Unconscious.” Jason Jensen of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources discussed “Invasive Species.” Allan P. Thilmany of the Federal Aviation Administration, reviewed “Regulations.” Former U.S. Air Force Thunderbird Leader, Richard McSpadden, now president of the AOPA Air Safety Institute, presented the “Top Ten Pilot Tips.” AOPA President Mark Baker shared what he has learned from buying and selling more than 100 airplanes, from floatplanes to jets.

Greg Herrick, owner of Golden Wings Museum at Anoka County-Blaine Airport in Blaine, Minnesota, and president of the Aviation Foundation of America, was the featured banquet speaker. Herrick shared his story in researching, locating and trying to retrieve a 1931 Sikorsky S-39 floatplane from the depths of a lake in Alaska. The aircraft sunk in 1958, and was found buried in thick glacial silt. While Herrick was unable to salvage the aircraft, his attempt resulted in a lifelong friendship with the pilot and former owner.

Whether seaplane rated or not, the annual MSPA safety seminar is worth attending, as much of the information presented can be applied to both floatplane flying and flying on wheels. Madden’s Resort operates Steamboat Bay Seaplane Base (M16) on Gull Lake, and East Gull Lake Airport (9Y2), located adjacent to the resort. Courtesy shuttle service is provided to pilots and their guests between the airport and the resort (

The Annual MSPA Pig Roast will be held August 11, 2019 at Surfside Seaplane Base in Lino Lakes, Minnesota. For details, refer to the MSPA website at or email

The purpose of the Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association is to promote seaplane flying and safety pertaining to seaplane operations in Minnesota; approach government officials as a group to educate them, the legislature and the public on seaplane operations; and create safe and compatible seaplane bases throughout the state.       

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