Wings of the North is happy to be open to the public and Coming At You as we present AirExpo2021, July 24-25 at Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie, MN. Join us as we celebrate our aviation heritage at this great event! We have an outstanding lineup of 30-40 historical and contemporary aircraft from our partner museums, military supporters, and private aircraft enthusiasts. I’m sure we will have your favorite plane(s) for your whole family to see and appreciate.
Come see our unique lineup of aircraft from our partner organizations like the Yankee Air Force, the Dakota Territory Air Museum, Texas Aviation Academy, East Iowa Air Museum, our own Minnesota ANG 133rd Airlift Wing, and the Maryland ANG 104th Fighter Squadron.
You will have a rare opportunity to meet and talk to our local Minnesota war heroes, who served our country throughout our nation’s fight for freedom against tyranny and terrorism. Their captivating stories and feats of derring-do will send you back to those times, or inspire your future, as there is something for everyone.
You are invited to come see our action and experience our stories. Everything you need to know is found at AirExpo2021 Airshow (wotn.org).
See you there!
AirExpo2021 Highlights – Planes, Heroes, and Scouts
AirExpo2021 will have a different field layout from previous years. The map below illustrates the AirExpo2021 Entrance (Gate A), next to the Wings of the North Museum building located at 10100 Flying Cloud Drive.
Follow the signs and marshalls to the parking area. The JET LINX Hangar will house all the VIP/Hall of Heroes and Exhibitors, which are open to the public. Special Volunteer Areas will be for event staff Pancake Breakfast and Operations Center. All the featured aircraft listed below will be parked between the JET LINX Hangar and the East-West Runway.
The public will be able to walk among aircraft on display, talk to the pilots and crew, and take all the photos you want. Please follow the directions of WOTN Flight Line personnel who are there to ensure safety and keep a safe distance from operating aircraft. Aviation Merit Badge Class will be conducted in the WOTN Air Museum building near Gate A. Please enjoy our featured aircraft, come visit our Minnesota Heroes and VIPs, and get a good deal on your AirExpo2021 tickets when you enroll your scout for the Aviation Merit Badge Class.
Over the past two years, our team has worked hard with partner organizations and individuals, to bring a fabulous group of aircraft to AirExpo2021.
A sampling of aircraft include:
- P-40E Kittyhawk and SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber from the Erikson Aircraft Collection
- T-28A Trojan and BT-13 Valiant from the Texas Aviation Academy
- O-1D Bird Dog from Aviation Heritage Foundation
- P-51C Lope’s Hope, B-25 Betty’s Dream, Spitfire Mk IXc, P-51D Miss Kitty III from the Dakota Territory Air Museum
- A-1 Skyraider from the East Iowa Air Museum
- Sia-Marchetti S.211 Jet from the Victory Flight Training
- C-130 Hercules from our very own MANG 133rd Airlift Wing
- Pilatus P-3
- Aero Vodochody L-39 Jet from Bill Jansen
- De Havilland DHC1 Chipmunk from Mike Pope
- A-10 Thunderbolt II from the Maryland ANG 104th Fighter Squadron
…and from our own Wings of the North Air Museum
- P-51D Sierra Sue II
- F4U Corsair
- TBD-3E Avenger Torpedo Bomber
- AT-6D Texan
- N2S-1 Stearman from Wings of the North Air Museum
Hall of Heroes
A unique highlight of AirExpo is our Hall of Heroes featuring many aviation veterans. We’re proud to have hosted dozens of these amazing veterans throughout the past years and AirExpo2021 is no exception. We are thrilled to have several WWII veterans returning along with those who served in Korea, Vietnam and places all over the world.
The Hall of Heroes provides a great opportunity for the public to meet these men and women and hear their stories. We feature flyers from WWII through the present, from bomber, fighter, and helicopter crews to NASA astronauts and air show pilots.
To enjoy the full AirExpo2021 experience, we invite you to stop by the Jet Linx hangar to meet these aviation heroes.
We are proud to feature the following local heroes who will be on-hand to tell you stories of their service and answer your questions. Bring your kids and tell them what it was like and share some of your own stories to make new friends or renew old ones. You will not find a finer group of individuals anywhere!
- Curt Brown – NASA Astronaut/Challenger Commander
- John A Clark (Saturday) – B-17 pilot
- Ralph Delperdang – RF-4C WSO (weapons systems operator)
- Dick Donaldson – B-29 pilot
- Dan Farkas (Saturday) – Navy A-1 Skyraider pilot
- Jim Floring – Forward Air Controller
- Tom Harrison – F-16 pilot
- Mike Huttner – C-130 pilot
- Leonard Jankowski – Anti-submarine warfare
- Ronald Kelly – F-86 pilot
- Joe Latham – F-4 Phantom pilot, 1 MiG kill
- Dave Lundin – Anti-submarine warfare
- T.J. Mannion (Sunday) – Navy AD Skyraider pilot
- Jim McDougall (Saturday) – Black Cat PBY pilot
- Bruce Myers (Saturday) – USN F-14 RIO
- Lt Col Alex Plechash, USMC (Ret.) – F-4 Phantom pilot
- Kirk Ransom – USAF RF-4C pilot
- Mike Rehbein – C-130 flight engineer
- Jim Rasmussen – B-17 pilot
- Glen Sell – B-52 EWO
- Bruce Young – Forward Air Controller
Boy Scout Aviation Merit Badge Classes
Wings of the North, in partnership with the Northern Star Council of the Boy Scouts of America, will be offering Aviation Merit Badge Classes in conjunction with AirExpo2021. Your scout will take a morning class at the WOTN Air Museum and be able to spend the afternoon at the airshow with a discounted rate to include both the class, materials, and AirExpo21 tickets.
Parents, siblings, and chaperones of the scout must register with the Boy Scouts here.
The class is available on either Saturday and Sunday. Scouts must be there by 7:45am to check in. Upon successful completion of the class, your scout will receive; the Aviation Merit Badge, a Wings of the North Patch, and a model plane to take home.
WOTN Fundraising Sweepstakes
Wings of the North depends on folks like you to support our efforts to excite, inform and inspire people about what we all love: AVIATION!
By purchasing a ticket (or a dozen?), not only are you putting yourself in the running for great prizes, but you are helping to keep aloft Wings of the North as the premier flying museum of Minnesota. We appreciate that! Our grand prize this year is a 1941 Piper J5-A that is currently undergoing a major refresh with new coverings and a fresh coat of paint so that it will look as it did the day it rolled out of the factory. This follows another love of ours; bringing historical airplanes back to good as new! We’ll have updates on the plane’s progress but expect to view our sparkling “new” prize in May with the drawing for this final prize slated for September 18th, 2021.
To enter our sweepstakes, click here.
The History of the Piper Cub
by Danielle and Travis Hemmingsen
The Piper Cub is an American Light aircraft built between 1938 and 1947 by Piper Aircraft. It was the most produced model made by the company. The aircraft is a simple lightweight design which gave it good low speed handling with short-field performance. The Cub is a high-wing, strut braced monoplane which boasts a large rectangular wing. The fuselage is a welded steel frame covered in fabric. Most often the aircraft was powered by an air-cooled, flat 4 piston engine which drove a fixed-pitch propeller.
The Cub was produced primarily as a trainer airplane due to its flight characteristics. With the outbreak of WWII, the US knew they would eventually be pulled into the war overseas which led to the Civilian Pilot Training Program being established and all the pilots being trained to fly using a Piper Cub which was the primary training aircraft of the CPTP. By the end of WWII 80% of all US Military pilots received their initial flight training in a Piper Cub. For its active-duty configuration, the Piper Cub became known as an L-4 Grasshopper. They were used extensively for transporting supplies, medical evacuation of wounded soldiers, reconnaissance, and artillery spotting duties.
After the war many civilian pilots maintain and fly the Cub to this day as it is a cheap and reliable sport aircraft. By the end of its production run 19,888 planes were built and many are still flying today.
Wings of the North Air Museum Updates
We have a new member of our staff who brought their own wings! Buzz will represent Wings of the North for the younger folks at events and air displays. Look for him as he swoops in to our AirExpo2021 as well!
And if Buzz wasn’t enough for you, we have more to share…
The other big news at the museum is visitors and docents who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 no longer need to wear a facemask in the museum. Docents will have masks available so people who are not yet vaccinated are also welcome. Regular museum hours are Saturdays and Sundays 11am to 3pm, and we can do private tours and parties at other times for groups. We will continue to offer free admission on the second Sunday of each month for the rest of the summer.
Last but not least, the museum recently acquired two great artifacts for the hangar; both are target drones built by Beechcraft.
The MQM-61 Cardinal was a ground launched drone with a six-cylinder engine turning a front propeller. Takeoff was accomplished using a RATO (rocket assisted take off) system. Cruise speed was 350 miles per hour and early versions, like ours, were recovered after their flight using a parachute system. It served as a target for either ground gunners, fighter pilots, or it could tow other targets behind it that were carried to altitude under its wings.
The AQM-37 Jayhawk left the ground under the wing of a jet aircraft and were carried to altitude and then launched. The drone’s rocket motor could normally propel it to an altitude of 70,000 feet and a speed of Mach 2. A few were modified and actually reached 300,000 feet and Mach 4.7!
These drones were used in training exercises to simulate intercontinental ballistic missiles approaching the United States.
We look forward to seeing you at the museum, and remember; not only are we looking for new items for the museum, but we’re also in need of more for docents. Our museum just had one of the busiest months ever. In order to continue giving individual tours to museum visitors we need more volunteers. We’ll provide all the training you need to be comfortable before you lead any tours. Please let me know if you can help.
We hope to see you at the museum soon!
Bob Jasperson, Director, WOTN Air Museum
Personal Plane Portraits
Pair your dream machine with one of ours. Or maybe a family portrait is more to your liking. Either way, we are now offering the opportunity to support the museum by signing up for our Plane Portrait Program.
We held our first photo shoot the evening of June 16th and filled all the slots. Sierra Sue II greeted some with their favorite car, while others with their multi generation family. All of our guests had a great time being photographed with our historic warbird.
Given the reception we received was overwhelming, we have decided to schedule a second photo shoot for July 14th from 6:00 to 8:00pm. This time, we will feature our beautifully restored F4U Corsair.
In fact, the 7:00pm hour sold out in the first few hours, but we still have three 20 minute slots remaining between 6:00-7:00pm.
The rates are $50.00 with your guests taking the photos or $100.00 for a series of professional photos taken by our photographer; Max Haynes.
Volunteer Spotlight – Gary Applebaum
Q: What do you do as a volunteer?
My role at the Museum mostly relates to oversight; but I love showing up at the Museum hangar, or the restoration hangar, and spending time helping out, cleaning the airplanes, or just talking with the other volunteers. I’m also incredibly lucky to be able to fly the T6, TBM, and Stearman, on behalf of the Museum; to airshows, parades, and memorials.
Q: How did you first get involved?
I had been flying various warbirds at AirExpo events since around 2002, and was invited to join the Board of Directors in 2010. I became more involved operationally when the Museum took up residency at its current location.
Q: What keeps you coming back?
Beyond being able to spend time with the wonderful people at WotN, it has to be the planes. WotN has sitting in its hangar some of the finest examples of aircraft type in the world. It is a genuine honor to be able to not only help maintain and keep them clean, but to actually fly these historic aircraft. Sitting in the same seat that some 19-21 year old sat in, over 75 years ago, is an incredible experience and one that I’m very thankful for.
Q: What’s your favorite volunteer story or memory?
There are many memories related to the Museum that are very special to me, but the one that stands out is when we hosted Major Heather Penney for a weekend in 2018. Maj. Penney is an American hero who has the gift of being able to tell her incredible story in a way that is truly riveting. Seeing her talk to a group of young girls on Saturday morning is an image I’ll never forget. I feel it was the embodiment of the Museum’s mission.
Our normal volunteer ops tempo is reflected below. Please contact the POC by email if you have any questions and would like to join us.
- 1st Thursday of the month – Outreach Team Virtual Meeting (6:30pm) Contact Cary ([email protected])
- 2nd Thursday of the month – Flight Line Training (6:30pm) Open to anyone who wants to learn about flight line and marshalling aircraft. Contact Greg ([email protected])
- 3rd Thursday of the month – Air Expo Team Meeting (6:30pm) Contact Greg ([email protected])
- 4th Thursday of the month – Hangar Cleaning Night (6:00pm food/social; 630pm for cleaning) Contact Greg ([email protected])
- Movie Night will resume after Air Expo 2121. (Normally every other month after Hangar Cleaning) Contact Hannah ([email protected])
- Air Museum – Open Every Sat & Sun (11:00am-3:00pm)
- Super 2nd Sunday Special – Free Museum Admission
We plan to host these activities throughout the year. Please check www.wotn.org for additional information as it becomes available:
- July – Air Expo 2021 (7/24 & 25)
- September – Volunteer Appreciation Picnic (9/18, 11am-2pm)
- October – Restoration Workshop
Call for volunteers
We have many opportunities for people who would like to support our mission and get involved with our community of aviation-minded enthusiasts. Volunteer involvement in our Museum, AirExpo, Outreach & Communications, Restorations, and Programs.
Contact Brande ([email protected]) for information and include your desired activity for involvement.