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Please Join the South Dakota Pilots Association

We invite you to join the SDPA so that we can have a stronger voice in general aviation issues in South Dakota. It is easy to join – just click on the link below to the Application form. After filling out the simple application form, just enclose a check made out to “SDPA” for $20 for General Membership, $300 for LifeTime membership, or $10 for Student Membership (full-time in high school, college, or technical school) and mail the form to us. There are no restrictions on who can become a member of SDPA.

The members of the SDPA are dedicated to promoting general aviation in South Dakota. Pilots in each state must look out for general aviation issues in their state, and in South Dakota the organization that is doing that is the SDPA. Our Officers and Directors are South Dakota pilots first and foremost – with the best interest of general aviation in South Dakota in mind. The SDPA Officers and Directors depend on our members to alert us to concerns about general aviation in South Dakota. Our newsletter is a strong voice for communicating important aviation issues to our members.

Membership includes:

  • Full voting rights at membership meetings.
  • Eligibility to serve as a SDPA officer.
  • Annual subscription to bi-monthly "SDPA News" newsletter – the ONLY statewide, general aviation newsletter in South Dakota.
  • Bi-monthly meetings around the state to discuss aviation issues in South Dakota.
  • SDPA patch for your cap or jacket (heat-activated glue backing).
  • SDPA decal for display.
  • SDPA member merchandise.
  • SDPA sponsored aviation safety seminars.
  • Eligibility to nominate worthy people for the Becker-Hansen Memorial Scholarship.

New Pilots get One-Year Free Membership

The SDPA is promoting general aviation and camaraderie among pilots and aviation enthusiasts in South Dakota by giving a one-year FREE membership to NEW PILOTS who are residents in SD.  By NEW pilot we mean that they have passed their check ride for private, glider, sport, recreational or balloon certificates (but NOT for a new rating such as instrument or advanced certificates such as commercial or ATP) within 12 months of submitting an application for a free membership.  This free membership program was initiated on March 22, 2008, at the SDPA meeting in Pierre.  All the new pilot has to do is complete a membership application and mail it to SDPA, 307 W. Blaine, Gettysburg, SD 57442.  We have mailed “new pilot” applications to the designated pilot examiners in South Dakota to give to new pilots passing their check ride.  However, if you know of a new pilot who is a resident of SD and took their check ride outside of SD, i.e., in a surrounding state like IA, MN, ND, WY, or NE, please let us know and we will mail them an application (contact Steve Hamilton at 605-665-8448 or email at

New Pilot Membership application (PDF)

LifeTime Membership

The SDPA approved a LifeTime membership at the SDPA meeting on June 8, 2013, in Winner, SD. After discussion and evaluation of lifetime membership dues and policies of other organizations, the SDPA voted to make the lifetime membership dues 15 times the annual rate ($300).

The following policy was adopted:

  1. Lifetime membership dues are $300, and are not refundable or proratable or transferable.
  2. The Lifetime member will be acknowledged in the Jan-Feb issue of the SDPA News annually.
  3. The Lifetime member will be contacted annually to confirm they have not moved and want to continue receiving the newsletter.
  4. The Lifetime member will receive a framed certificate acknowledging their lifetime membership in SDPA.
  5. “Life” will be added to the member’s mailing label.
  6. Lifetime membership is for the life of the member or until the SDPA becomes inactive.
  7. Lifetime membership includes all the same benefits as a regular member, i.e., receive newsletter, participation in meetings and programs, etc.

LifeTime Members:

Barry Bibler (Spearfish): September 2013.
Lonnie Burnham
(Rapid City):  September 2014.
Steve Hamilton
(Yankton): Honorary LifeTime Membership voted by the SDPA officers,
    September 2013 – For Dedicated & Outstanding Service 1993-2013.
Ted Miller (Spearfish):  September 2014.
Bobbie Potts
(Gettysburg): Honorary LifeTime Membership voted at the SDPA in Winner,
    SD, on June 8, 2013 – For Dedicated & Outstanding Service 1993-2013.
Mary Carol Potts (Gettysburg): Honorary LifeTime Membership voted at the SDPA in
    Winner, SD, on June 8, 2013 – For Dedicated & Outstanding Service 1993-2013.
Grove Rathbun (Rapid City): April 2014.
Burdette “Ben” Thompson (Spearfish):  Honorary LifeTime Membership voted by the SDPA officers, September 2014 – For Outstanding Scholarship Support.
Wade Wulf (Wright, WY): November 2014.

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