Chapter 78 Practice/Playday Results

By Aaron McCartan, IAC 433420

I know we're all pontificating on the best course of membership and concerns with demotivation among members.  Here's a little summary to inspire some hope for the future of our club.
I had sent out an invite to Chapter 78, the Minnesota chapter of the IAC for a potential critique session on June 27th, this past Saturday.  The day of the event we had one participant cancel yet managed a gathering of seven aircraft flown by sight pilots in categories from Primary through Unlimited.  Two members/competitors who are presently without aircraft due to maintenance drove to the event, one brought his wife who is a member and non-flying volunteer.  Some of the non-flying volunteers who are non-members of the club, but aware of us took time out of their Saturday to show support and learn more about the sport.  This is one of the biggest play-days our club has hosted in YEARS.  Typical critique sessions have been one or two of the upper category pilots, a couple in Intermediate and maybe a Sportsman pilot.
We enjoyed participation of two NEW members, one had actually received his IAC membership card just a couple days before this gathering.  Both are hoping that our contest continues (Shameless Plug:  August 8th and 9th, Spencer Iowa...BE THERE!!!).  This would be both pilots' first competition.  In an effort to assist these individuals, both Craig Gifford and Myself provided safety pilot duties during the course of the day so our new members could get some hands-on one-on-one instruction with an 'out' should something go astray.  All were welcome, all participated.  As the box closed and the day came to a conclusion, we even gave one ride to a non-member student pilot who has volunteered at our Contest and is now committing to join the IAC.
People wanted to get out and network a bit.  We did our best to ensure a healthy environment was available, precautions encouraged; yadda yadda.  You've all read CDC guidelines.  It's worth noting that some visitors were in attendance from the local community who kept social distance yet expressed gratitude for the unusual entertainment lighting up their skies.
There is a lot of outreach to be shared and if we conduct ourselves professionally while still maintaining a fun-factor, engaging members/drawing people is surmountable.  We've heard about costs of entry (true concern), insurance (also a problem) and so many more topics in the election threads both here and on Facebook.  Yet if we keep the flying 'pure' and our experienced members make themselves available, interested parties will find a way.
Aaron McCartan

Northern Planes Aerosport, LLC.

northernplanes [at]

Visit IAC Chapter 78’s website:

IAC Chapter 78 Facebook page:


PRACTICE DAY GUIDELINES - read more about having a practice day here:

Chapter Practice Days