Past Events

Youth Aviation Adventure

On September 25, 2021, there was an exciting, fun day at the Minden-Tahoe Airport for 47 youth (and several scout masters and parents) who attended the Youth Aviation Adventure (YAA) program, sponsored by the Sports Aviation Foundation. The participants cycled through eight learning centers which introduced them to many aspects of aviation including flight principles, aircraft types, powerplants, instruments, careers, Minden soaring logistics and weather, and airport operations. A highlight of the day was watching the Nevada Army National Guard land their Blackhawk helicopter. They let all climb in their helicopter as they discussed helicopters and the Air Guard. Civil Air Patrol (CAP) discussed their program and plane components, aerodynamics and preflight procedures using the CAP plane. A few students now are considering joining CAP to further their education. In another center, by making and flying paper airplanes, students learned more about flight principles and controls. The career section helped them learn about various aviation careers as pilots as well as positions in support operations. The EAA Young Eagle program that helps youth experience flight was introduced. As Minden is a world-class soaring site, one center showed them how gliders worked and why Minden weather conditions result in record distance and altitude flights, all without a motor on the plane. Two classroom sessions, using well illustrated PowerPoint presentations, covered instruments and aircraft powerplants. At the end of this full day, all received a colorful YAA patch and completed the process necessary to obtain the Boy Scout aviation badge. Several were excited to earn this as their first merit badge! Though the program is free and open to all youth 12-18, the boy scouts accounted for all of this year’s attendees, represented 10 troops, two of which were girl troops. Some camped on the adjacent dirt lot before the event. This was the eighth year the Sports Aviation Foundation has run the program. It is based on and supported by a YAA program developed in Columbus, Ohio. A big thanks to them and to the 20 seasoned volunteers who spent over 200 hours to put on the program. The Nevada Army National Guard, Civil Air Patrol, Minden-Tahoe Airport, High Sierra Pilots and Soaring NV were other organizations that helped make the program possible. Sports Aviation Foundation is a non-profit which promotes aviation education, Minden-Tahoe Airport activities, and development of a complex on the eastside of the airport. The latter is intended for community events, education, build-a-plane program and soaring and sports aviation contests and activities. Fundraising is now in process for the site preparation of this complex. See the following website for more information.
Volunteers involved in this year’s program:
Kathy Bradford (overall program coordinator), Tammy Rodeback (boy scout registration), Don Dixon (event day coordinator, presenter, BSA reviewer), Jeff Whitaker (handbooks & workbooks, presenter, BSA reviewer), General volunteers (Linda Mae Hivert, Tina Belden, Fred LaSor), Other Presenters (Jim Nunnelee, Sandy Goetz, Laurie Harden Ricardi, Reba Coombs, Alan Coombs), Civil Air Patrol (Ed Anhalt, Jack Hempel, Mark Lewis), Nevada Army National Guard (Steve Minifie, John Koch), High Sierra Pilots/Soaring NV (Brian Stewart, Anders Clark), Airport staff (Chris Johnson, Frank Monack).


The whole Airbus Perlan Mission II team, associated schools, universities and our student interns wish you a wonderful holiday season.

One of the things for which we are thankful this year is your support and that of the Sports Aviation Foundation for the Perlan Project.  We deeply appreciate your commitment to providing INNOVATION, EXPLORATION and INSPIRATION.  Here is a summary of what all of us together have accomplished by the close of 2019 and our goal for 2020.

The Perlan 2 glider has been researching stratospheric waves up to 76,124 feet over Patagonia.  This exceeded the sub-sonic altitude record of the U-2.

Our goal for 2020 is to extend our exploration to 90,000 feet – the design limits of the aircraft.  This is higher than the SR-71 flew.  The SR-71 had engines powerful enough to propel the Queen Mary ocean liner.  If we explore above the SR-71’s altitude record with no engine, and become the highest, manned, wing-borne flight in history, it would be truly innovative and inspiring.

Thank you for helping to make it possible.

6th Grade Aviation Education Days –  May 2019

What’s it like to get inside the cockpit of a small plane? How do gliders fly without a motor?  What is an aileron? What happens to flight patterns if you remove an airplane rudder or adjust other components? How are drones used? What’s required to have a career in aviation?  How old do you need to be to fly? How do airports work? How is a tail dragger plane different from a tricycle gear plane? Why is Carson Valley weather so good for soaring?

These were just a few of the questions asked of 397 6th Grade students and teachers visiting the Minden-Tahoe Airport from Carson Valley Middle School and Pau Wa Lu Middle School over four mornings in May.

Over two hours, the students rotated through 7-8 education centers:  Balsa Glider Experiments, Glider Components and Logistics, Airport Operations, Aircraft Components, Careers, Drones, Weather, and Aircraft Displays of a Piper Arrow, Carbon Cub, and 1942 open cockpit N-3-N.  All of the sessions were held on the ramp in front of the airport administration building except on the last day when 4 centers moved indoors due to cold weather.

The program was coordinated by Kathy Bradford and Dave Benjamin and staffed by 20 other volunteers (210 volunteer hours), including five from Civil Air Patrol, eight from the Ninety-Nines International Organization of Women Pilots, and Chris Johnson, Airport Manager and Frank Monack, Airport Operations Supervisor.  High Sierra Pilots/Soaring NV opened up their hangar for the experiments station.  A big thanks to these entities plus all the volunteers. Volunteers not mentioned already:  Charlie Hatch, Reba Coombs, Alan Coombs, Mike Bradford, Laurie Ricardi, Elizabeth Tattersall, Jim Cramer, Tom O’Connor, Russ Smith, Ed AnHalt, Robert Williams, Fred LaSor, Kathy Walton, Mary Anne Read, Jan Gageby, Sandy Goetz, Gloria Whalen, Don Dixon, Jeff Whitaker, Bev Mc Mahon. Their enthusiasm and experience resulted in a very successful program.

Youth Aviation Adventure 2018

Youth Aviation Adventure Article

Youth Aviation Adventure 2016

yaa Great weather and a good turn-out made The 2016 Youth Aviation Adventure a resounding success. Over 70 Boy Scouts attended the event at the Minden/Tahoe Airport with the support of adult volunteers who worked with the scouts to teach and demonstrate aviation fundamentals.Many of the scouts were able to complete all the requirements for the Aviation merit badge.
Scouts enjoy sitting in a helicopter at the Youth Aviation Adventure
Scouts enjoy sitting in a helicopter at the Youth Aviation Adventure

6th Grade Aviation Education Days, 2016

The 6th grade aviation education days were held May 4, 5, 11, and 12. The purpose of the event is to encourage awareness and involvement in the learning and activities of Aviation. We invited all the 6th graders from Douglas County Elementary Schools to visit Minden Tahoe Airport to give a brief introduction to aviation and the airport and to encourage interested students to come back for more. Click HERE for more information. More pictures are available in our Photo Gallery.

Aviation Education Days for 2016
Aviation Education Days for 2016

2016 Annual Banquet a Success!

75 people attended the annual meeting and banquet hosted by SAF and Soaring NV with special guest speaker Sean D Tucker at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden, Nevada. Mike Bradford emceed the event with other guest speakers including Laurie Ricardi, Don Dixon, and a report from the Perlan Project.

Local Projects Supported by SAF


Minden Build-A-Plane Project

Visit the Minden Build-A-Plane Project to learn about a local youth program promoting aviation with hands on experience building a Murphy Elite kit airplane.

The Perlan Project

The Perlan 2, designed to fly to 90,000 feet
In January the Perlan Project hosted the Minden Build-A-Plane students to bring together students and cutting edge aviation technology. During the session the students and their parents were able to see the Perlan 2 and ask questions about the program and plane to one of the pilots who will take the plane to South America and up into the stratosphere.

2016 SAF and other Airport Events

Youth Aviation Adventure held on November 5th 2016 at the Minden/Tahoe Airport. The annual event attracted more than 70 Boy Scouts who participated in a series of classes focused on the fundamentals of aviation. The day culminated in most of the Boy Scouts earning the Aviation merit badge.

Scouts enjoy sitting in a helicopter at the Youth Aviation Adventure
Scouts enjoy sitting in a helicopter at the Youth Aviation Adventure

Working on a glider model
Working on a glider model

Aviation weather session
Aviation weather session

Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter at the Youth Aviation Adventure
Army National Guard Blackhawk helicopter at the Youth Aviation Adventure

A scout sitting in the copilot seat of an Army Blackhawk helicopter
A scout sitting in the copilot seat of an Army Blackhawk helicopter

Lessons on careers in aviation
Lessons on careers in aviation

Scouts get a lesson on aircraft instrumentation systems
Scouts get a lesson on aircraft instrumentation systems

Scouts are shown a Soaring NV glider
Scouts are shown a Soaring NV glider

Scouts outside of Soaring NV launch their model gliders
Scouts outside of Soaring NV launch their model gliders

2015 SAF and other Airport Events.

March 20 Sports Aviation Foundation Annual Banquet

96 folks attended SAF’s annual banquet at the Carson Valley Inn.  We were pleased to include pilots from all over who were attending Soaring NV’s Wave Camp as well as community members.  After SAF board members gave updates on SAF’s accomplishments and plans – including the upcoming Build-a-Plane project – Jim Payne gave an educational and interesting slide presentation on soaring in South America and the status and objectives of the Perlan Project which is attempting new high altitude records above the tip of South America.

 kids3-croppedMay 2015  Aviation Education Days for 6th graders

Douglas County Schools will have their 6th graders visit the airport over a 3 day period.

They will cycle through 10 aviation education centers including the science of flight, airport operations,  Civil Air Patrol and careers, weather, plane components and instruments, preflight, and a Black Hawk display.

Spring 2015 – 5th Grade Essay Contest

In conjunction with Douglas County School District, SAF is sponsoring an essay contest to select a 5th Grade to go on a Mission at the Challenger Learning Center in Reno.

June 1-3 Wings of Freedom Tour

The Collings Foundation — Wings of Freedom will return to the Minden-Tahoe Airport June 1-3 with its WWII vintage Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator, B-25 Mitchell and North American P-51 Mustang.  Rides will be available in these vintage aircraft.

"                               "June 15-19 Women’s Soaring Pilots Association Seminar

Women Soaring Pilots to attend seminar at Soaring NV this week to learn about all aspects of soaring, including cross-country soaring.

June 16-18 Cub Scout Camp

200-250 scouts will be visiting the airport to learn more about aviation and our local flying environment.

June 29-July10 1-26 National Glider Championships

Soaring pilots from all over the United States will come to MTA to compete in their 1-26 gliders.


August 22-23 Minden-Tahoe Airport Round–up

The 5th Annual Aviation Roundup featured the US Air Force Thunderbirds, Team Rocket, Bill Stein, Kyle Franklin, Matt Younkin, Manfred Radius and Dan Buchanan.  Gates opened at 10:00am and the show started at noon.


Fall 2015 Build-A-Plane Project

SAF has been donated a Murphy-Elite plane kit.  With the help of Douglas County School District and Minden-Tahoe Airport, a high school club is being formed to start building a plane at MTA.  This is a multi-year project which will allow youth to learn about airplanes as well as riveting and other construction techniques.

SAF Board Meetings

Meetings are held normally the second Monday of the month at 3PM at the MTA conference room.  All are welcome.  Meeting times can be confirmed by contacting the SAF board president.

Minden-Tahoe Airport Annual Round-up and Fly In – October 11, 2014,  Possible Pumpkin drop!

18 Meter Class Soaring Nationals – June 10 – 19, 2014,

Practice Days 8 & 9, Minden, Sponsored by Minden Soaring Club and Soaring NV

Soaring Society of America Convention 2014

The Sports Aviation Foundation participated at the National Soaring Society of America’s Convention in Reno, Nevada, February 26-March 1, 2014.  The SAF was represented to almost 1000 attendees in the exhibit hall and mentioned at the SSA Banquet of 300 attendees by speaker Jim Payne.

Attendees were interested to know about the International Soaring Complex and Heritage Display planned for the east side of the Minden-Tahoe Airport.  The non-profit status recently finalized by the IRS was a timely topic of conversation with the current press release.


Youth Aviation Adventure Program – March 22, 2014:

The Minden-Tahoe Airport has launched a new program to let kids take a test flight – of a career in aviation. It’s called Youth Aviation Adventure. More than two dozen youth got look  into the world of flight, as licensed pilots taught them about things like aerodynamics, preflight inspections and airport operations.

opening heli1 heli2 instrument

Minden Soaring Club Annual Membership Meeting – April 26, 2014  Contact Soaring NV for  more details

Sports Aviation Foundation’s Annual Membership Meeting and Dinner

Sports Aviation Foundation’s Annual Membership Meeting and Dinner was held on March 8, 2014 at the Carson Valley Inn.  Attendees enjoyed Greg Stanley, Corporate Director, Engineering Services; give vital information on the Sierra Nevada Corporation and the Dream Chaser, next generation shuttle to the Space Station.

In attendance were 65 members and guests who experienced aviation companionship and a delicious buffet dinner.  Raffle prizes included an N3N Ride, glider ride, room night and spa treatments. It was an enjoyable evening and aviation event.

Aviation  Education Days — April ???  –

SAF may be able to sponsor the bus for a Douglas County 3rd Grade Class to attend a Mission at the Challenger Learning Center in Sparks

18 Meter Class Soaring Nationals – June 10 – 19, 2014, Practice Days 8 & 9, Minden, Sponsored by Minden Soaring Club and Soaring NV

Minden-Tahoe Airport Annual Round-up and Fly In – October 11, 2014,  Possible Pumpkin drop!

Youth Aviation Adventure 2018

 Check out pictures from other Sports Aviation Foundation supported events  in our Photo Gallery

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