Wings of the North Air Mail Newsletter Header
Wings of the North Air Mail Newsletter Header
Wings of the North Air Mail Newsletter Header

Back In The Skies

Apr 28, 2021 | Wings Quarterly

Presidents Message:

As Minnesota and our nation continue to receive vaccine treatments, our Governor is carefully relaxing restrictions on public activity while being cautiously optimistic to return to a new normal.  Our volunteer staff continue to press forward with incrementally expanding our museum activities with the rollout of our new Wings of the North Website.

We are moving forward with AirExpo2021 this July with expectations that restrictions will continue to be relaxed.  Check out the link below and see what’s in the works!

We are also pleased to announce our Super Second Sunday Special featuring free admission on the 2nd Sunday of every month.  While you’re here, be sure to visit the WOTN Library for historically significant works as well as our Gift Shop.

Please enjoy this issue and thank you for your continued support to our mission.

Jack Larsen

Shillelagh Project

Wings of the North is pleased to announce the beginning of our Shillelagh Project.  This unique project will include classic storytelling on multiple fronts as we start with the excavation and reconstruction of a historic veteran P-51B Mustang aircraft named Shillelagh, gain insights into the 354th Fighter Group and the missions they flew escorting B-17 bombers into the heart of Nazi Germany, see the personal stories and insights into the men and women who prosecuted the air war over Europe, and pay tribute to one of our own native Minnesota-Son, Ken Dahlberg – Fighter Ace, who evaded capture and made lifelong friends with the French family on who’s property he landed after bailing out from his damaged aircraft.  Over the next two years, we will share our efforts, the stories, and exhibits that we will be creating for display at the Wings of the North Air Museum.  We invite you to stay tuned and come visit our air museum!

2021 Dubay Scholarship Winner – Alyssa Voit

Wings of the North is pleased to announce Alyssa Voit as the 2021 Dubay Scholarship winner!  Alyssa was selected from among over 30 applicants to receive this $2,000 scholarship to pursue her aviation studies.  Congratulations Alyssa!  We wish you all the best in your pursuit of our shared aviation passion!

 The James F. Dubay Memorial Scholarship is for US residents over the age of 18 who wish to pursue aviation studies, including but not limited to flight school, flight hours, aviation history, military history, and aeronautical studies. Applicants must demonstrate, through the online application process, their ability to have a positive influence on the lives of those around them.

About the WOTN Dubay Scholarship

The James F. Dubay Memorial Scholarship was born out of a desire to encourage those who dream of flight to find their wings.

 Jim Dubay dedicated many hours to learning everything he could about planes and history, especially about WWII. He was a founder and board member of Wings of the North. Hardworking and dedicated, the greatest lesson he taught his family and others was that one could survive the rat race if they were pursuing a passion. Throughout his life, Jim touched the hearts of many people by making them laugh or listening to their stories, sharing his knowledge or lending a hand when work needed to be done. “That Works for Me!” was a favorite retort.

 In Jim’s memory, his family and Wings of the North have established a scholarship fund to allow others the chance to learn and grow in the aviation field. This scholarship is designed to encourage adults to pursue their dreams of flight while dealing with the day-to-day obstacles of work and family.

AirExpo 2021

We are a go for AirExpo 2021 will once more thrill aviation fans with a grand show of exotic warbirds from across the country! Head over to AirExpo 2021 for all of the details as they emerge. It’s going to be a great show and we hope you’ll plan to attend. Tickets for the show and for rides in some warbirds will be offered soon.

Volunteer Spotlight – Dan Brooks

Q: What do you do as a volunteer?  

I recruit and on-board new Museum volunteers, and maintain the work schedule for Museum docents.  I also work in various roles at AirExpos.

Q: How did you first get involved?

Driving home from work, the day before the 2003 AirExpo, I was attracted by all the activity at Flying Cloud Airport.  I stopped to check it out and Roy Burns, the volunteer coordinator filled me in on what sounded like a lot of fun.  That was when I got involved, and have been ever since!

Q: What keeps you coming back?

WOTN provides the chance to give back, honor veterans, educate guests (especially youngsters) about aviation; and to work with a great group of volunteers.

Q: What’s your favorite volunteer story or memory?

At the 2018 AirExpo Roy Burns gathered his family behind Doolittle Raiders legend Dick Cole for a group photo.  Roy knew this may be the last chance to get his out-of-town family members in a photo with Dick (then age 102).  Roy kneeled next to Dick, with family members standing behind them.  When Roy, who was in his mid-80’s, began to stand up Dick leaned over and asked, “You need help there sonny?”

WOTN Fundraising Sweepstakes

We have launched our 2021 Fundraising Sweepstakes and have a number of great prizes lined up!  This will be our second Sweepstakes and we are hoping to meet, or even exceed, the success of last year! Check it out at Sweepstakes 2021.

Museum News

In accordance with the most recent Covid-19 guidelines, the Air Museum is once again open to the public.  Regular hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm.  Face masks and social distancing are required but we are thrilled to be able to show off our great museum again! 

About a month before the most recent shut down we were fortunate to acquire a full-size replica of the Wright Flyer which is now on display.   This replica was commissioned by the State of Minnesota to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first flight in 1903 and was built by Flight Expo, a nonprofit group in Princeton, which has loaned the replica to us for display. Read more about the Wright Flyer and the Spirit of St. Louis replicas in our Featured Story below.

Our museum is also the home to five fully restored and airworthy World War II airplanes in addition to hundreds of other aviation artifacts, pieces of art, and memorabilia.  We have a free aviation lending library with over two thousand books and we are also the home of the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame.

We are currently taking reservations for times to take high school graduation photos next to our airplanes.  Please contact us at either [email protected] or 962-746-6100 for costs and available time periods.  Congratulations to the Class of 2021! Please visit our website at for more information. We hope to see you at the museum again soon.

Bob Jasperson – Museum Director

Featured Story  

The Wright Flyer and The Spirit of St. Louis

By Danielle and Travis Hemmingsen

Two very interesting historical replicas the Wings of the North Museum has in their possession are The Wright Flyer and The Spirit of St. Louis.

The Wright Flyer

The Wright Flyer often referred to as “Flyer I” or the “1903 Flyer” was built by Orville and Wilbur Wright as the first successful heavier-than-air powered aircraft that was flown on December 17, 1903 south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  The aircraft was built with a spruce framework covered with a cotton fabric.  It was powered by a 12-horsepower aluminum gasoline engine driving a sprocket chain drive to turn dual propellers.

As with previously designed gliders, the pilot flew lying on their stomach on the lower wing with their head towards the front of the plane.  Steering was accomplished by using a cradle that was attached to their hips. The Wright brothers took turns flying the airplane on the 17th of December with Wilbur’s last flight lasting 59 seconds and lasting a distance of 852 feet which unfortunately damaged the Flyer on landing as it broke the front elevator.  It was never flown again as soon after landing the aircraft was damaged beyond repair by a gust of wind

The replica aircraft on display at the museum was commissioned by the State of Minnesota to celebrate the centennial of the Wright brother’s first flight in 2003.  It was built by Flight Expo, Inc. which is a volunteer nonprofit group based in Princeton, Minnesota and they have loaned this aircraft to the museum for display.

The Spirit of St. Louis

The second replica the Wings of the North Museum has in their possession is The Spirit of St. Louis.  Formally known as the “Ryan NYP” (for New York to Paris), it was a custom built single-engine, single seat, high-wing monoplane that was piloted by Charles A. Lindbergh on its first solo nonstop flight from Long Island, New York to Paris, France.  Lindbergh made the transatlantic flight in 33 hours, 30 minutes, and an approximate distance of 3,600 miles to win the $25,000.00 Orteig Prize.  The Spirit was built by Ryan Airlines in San Diego, California in 60 days to make the deadline to enter the race.  The cost to build the Spirit was $10,580.00 of which Lindbergh contributed $2,000.00 of his own money as a U.S. Air Mail pilot.  The Spirit was flown on promotional and goodwill tours by Lindbergh the year following his record setting flight, and was presented to the Smithsonian Institution on April 28, 1927 and it has remained there ever since.

The replica aircraft on display at the museum is a non-flying stage prop replica that was made for the 1957 movie called “The Spirit of St. Louis” starring James Stewart. Bob and Judy Jasperson at The Wings of the North Museum were able to obtain this amazing replica after the Metropolitan Airport Commission (MAC) in Minneapolis removed it from their main terminal and had nowhere to store it but in a warehouse.  In 2020 Bob and Judy convinced the MAC to officially donate the replica to the museum; they agreed, and the museum took ownership.

Please visit the Wings of the North Museum to see these amazing replicas and other historical items of interest.

Events Calendar

Our normal volunteer ops tempo is reflected below but COVID restrictions have impacted these events.  Please contact the POC by email if you have any questions and would like to join us.

Monthly Activities

  • 1st Thursday of the month – Outreach Team Virtual Meeting (630pm) Contact Cary ([email protected])
  • 2nd Thursday of the month – Flight Line Training (630pm) 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 (630pm) Contact Greg ([email protected])
  • 4th Thursday of the month – Hangar Cleaning Night (600pm food/social; 630pm for cleaning) Contact Greg ([email protected])
  • Movie Night will resume when COVID restrictions are lifted (every other month after Hangar Cleaning) Contact Hannah ([email protected])
  • Air Museum – Open Every Sat & Sun (1100am-300pm) 
  • Super 2nd Sunday Special – Free Museum Admission

Looking Ahead

We plan to host these activities throughout the year.  Please check for additional information as it becomes available:

  • April – Museum Open
  • May – Warbird Photography Day
  • June – Warbird in Review
  • July – Air Expo 2021 (7/24 & 25)
  • August – Warbird in Review
  • September – Museum Open House
  • 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 Cary ([email protected]) for information and include your desired activity for involvement.

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