Ask us: MSU student pilots could be the source of low-flying planes | Local news


Question: This site is very poorly done. This is not what I came to say here, but with the number of newspapers on the decline, you would think that one now understands the importance of an online presence.

Have you investigated why there are at least three planes in the sky over Mankato at any given time? Mankato wasn’t like that before. Why are they flying low to the ground in areas that are not even close to the hospital or that shameful thing they call an “airport”?

A: My, oh my, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed after a bad night’s sleep from the constant hum of low-flying planes.

But Ask Us Guy, although he suddenly feels a little depressed about being a member of a dying race and a resident of a city with a shameful airport, nonetheless tries to happily answer questions from grumpy, non-grumpy readers.

Unfortunately, he hasn’t had much success in finding an answer.

To be honest he has rolled his eyes a few times since this question arose and has never seen more than one plane. But that doesn’t mean they don’t zoom into other parts of Mankato. Two possible explanations happened to Ask Us Guy.

First, maybe Blue Earth County is updating their aerial photos, which are periodically taken by a private contractor of every piece of property in the county and attached to the ownership records for that parcel.

Second, Mankato City Council, when discussing the annual deer hunt in town a few years ago, asked staff to see if the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources would do a deer count – an operation carried out through aerial surveys.

Michael Stalberger, Director of Real Estate and Environmental Resources for Blue Earth County, rejected Theory # 1.

“It’s a good guess,” Stalberger said. “When we do aerial updates, it involves planes flying overhead. However, our next flights are not planned before spring 2022. “

After Stalberger wished Ask Us Guy luck in his quest, he reached out to Edell Fiedler about Theory # 2, which also failed to take off.

“The deer investigation was conducted in February 2020 and is not currently taking place,” replied Fiedler, director of communications and engagement for the city of Mankato.

Certain conditions must be met for these two aerial observations. With property tax photos, the trees should be leafless so that the structures and other features of each plot are visible. And the deer count can only be done when there is heavy snow cover in order to have a visible contrast between the deer and the surrounding landscape.

Either way, the only other explanation from Ask Us Guy for the cranky reader’s experience with low-flying planes is Minnesota State University’s aviation program. The popular and growing pilot training program now has over 450 students, and many of them end up taking much of the flight training. All of these practices, especially the repeated take-off and landing exercises, have made Mankato Airport the second busiest in the state in terms of operations.

Contact us at The Free Press, 418 S. Second St., Mankato, MN 56001. Call Mark Fischenich at 344-6321 or email your question to [email protected]; put Ask Us in the subject line.

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