The Minden-Tahoe Airport

Minden-Tahoe Airport is a 990-acre general aviation Airport, including full aircraft services, located at the foothills of the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains in the Carson Valley area of Douglas County and just minutes from the pristine alpine waters of Lake Tahoe. Built in 1942 as a military training base, Douglas County operates the Airport to serve diverse aviation uses, including sport aviation, emergency services and corporate flying. The area is recognized as one of the best locations in the world for soaring and is home to approximately 18 businesses, 250 based aircraft and an estimated economic impact of $47 million and 130 jobs.

Heritage Display and Learning Center

Planning is underway for the Sports Aviation Heritage Display Complex on the Minden-Tahoe Airport. Abundant space will be dedicated educational facilities and displays, an aviation heritage display, and an international soaring complex.

This Complex will include an educational heritage display with classrooms and learning centers, displays and kiosk, meeting space for public use, an airport viewing area, office space, gift shop and snack bar.

Memorial Garden

Within the six acre complex a memorial garden will be developed to honor the aviators that have helped to promote soaring and sport aviation activities throughout the world.

In the immediate area of the Sports Aviation Foundation will be international soaring compound. Flight training, ground school, weather briefings and pilot and crew socializing will be some of the many activities. Both thermal and cross country soaring will take advantage of the world class soaring weather in the area. Adding to the adventure visitors can enjoy the beautiful Carson Valley and world renowned Lake Tahoe outdoor activities.

International Soaring Complex

Minden is known worldwide for exceptional year-round soaring conditions.
Mountain wave in the winter and thermal activity in the spring and summer attract soaring pilots from around the globe.  We believe that learning flight in its pure form—a  glider– makes pilots safer in the skies and on the ramp, even if their dream ship has an engine.  Given that nature has provided the geography and the weather to create great soaring conditions, SAF is moving toward constructing a world renowned soaring facility.


Founding Members

Lifetime Members

Jacqueline & Daniel Aynesworth Sam Whiteside
Marion Barritt Carolyn Dianne Akopian
Reba & Alan Coombs Bertea Foundation
Barry Danieli Mike & Kathy Bradford
Tom Hall Howard Charney
Edward Hayes Bob and Ginny Cook
Karol Hines Roger and Linda Mae Hivert
Thomas and Edith Johnson Laurie & Silvio Ricardi
Cathie & Kelly Kite Don Thaw
Terry LaLonde Jeff L. Whitaker
Fred LaSor
Donna Leveck
Jay Mazure
Nancy McDermid
Jim & Jackie Payne
William Reuland
Bob Semans
Frances F. Strubeck
Bobbi Thompson
Michael Turney
John Van Dien
Sam Whiteside


Carson Valley’s Rich Aviation History

The Sports Aviation Foundation was created in November of 2011 as the Minden-Tahoe Airport’s segment of the Douglas Economic Vitality Program.  We are a 501(c) 3 non-profit Foundation; a very young organization, still evolving at the Airport and in the Community.   There are three main components of the Foundation to enhance safety, economic vitality, aviation heritage, and excite our youth in the fields of math and science.  These three main areas are the International Soaring Complex, the Aviation Heritage Display and Memorial Garden, and the Annual Minden-Tahoe Airport Fly In and Round-Up.
The Board of the Sports Aviation Foundation understands the rich heritage and history of aviation in the Carson Valley. In a much focused effort to preserve the history and promote flying with youth and others the concept of this development project was born.  As one of the top three locations in the world for amazing and record setting glider flights the Minden-Tahoe Airport is the best location to construct this facility. Sport flying continues to grow throughout the country and this Heritage Display complex will be one of the first to showcase their contribution to the aviation industry.  The unique 80,000 square foot environmentally sensitive structure will include training areas, classrooms, offices, gift shop and snack bar. Outside a memorial garden will be developed providing honor and recognition to the pioneers and leaders within soaring and sport aviation activities. Douglas County has embraced this project and will allow it to reside on the airport for all interested persons to enjoy for years to come. Many leaders within the community have publicly stated their strong support and recognize the international scope of the project.

Special thanks to our major contributors:

Big George Ventures, LLC

General Electric Company