To serve you better and to control the look of our messaging more fully, we have changed over to this format of delivering news of our efforts right here on our site. Please take a look at all of the exciting things going on!
I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to switch frequencies from lockdown gloom over to an attitude of gratitude. While the light at the end of the tunnel is dim and arguably a ways off, it’s out there. Here at WOTN, our leadership team is busy getting back in the swing of being a relevant part of our local community and the midwest aviation scene. Plans are being laid down now for Warbird In Review, movie nights, open houses, new museum exhibits, photo days, plane cleaning, and of course AirExpo 2021! I’m excited about the energy surrounding our “coming back out” plans and I think you will be too. So take some time to find out what’s going on for this year and plan to get involved. Hanging around interesting and like-minded people is a great way to break the lockdown blues! See you soon.
Gratefully, Jack Larsen
On August 16, 1944 , then Lt. Ken Dahlberg took off in Shillelagh, a P-51B model Mustang and headed for Paris. On the way, his flight jumped over twenty enemy aircraft in a twisting dogfight. Lt Dahlberg managed to shoot down four aircraft before he himself was shot down. His plane crashed on a French estate and he escaped and eventually made his way back to his squadron to fly and fight again.WOTN, in collaboration with the Ken and Betty Dahlberg Foundation and Air Corps Aviation recovered what’s left of Shillelagh this past summer on the 76th anniversary of it being lost. Follow along with us to see more of the recovery, the complete restoration and ultimately the first flight of a beautifully restored Shillelagh. Watch for posts on our various social media and special emails from the Museum. And feel free to hit share! This will be a world-class aircraft and will take its place among the very few “B” models flying today. Special thanks go out to The Dahlberg Foundation for their generous financial support.
Volunteer Spotlight – Pete Bauer
This quarter, we are proud to feature Pete Bauer as one of our dedicated volunteers who is always available to support our aircraft operations activities.
Q: What do you do as a volunteer?
A: Aircraft/Hangar Operations, Crew Chief & AirExpo
Q: How did you first get involved?
A: I went to AirExpo2016 after my first museum/hangar tour in April, over at the old location across the field. After a long chat with John Sinclair (Chief Pilot), I started showing up and pushing a broom around. Then cleaning airplanes. Then after months of getting to know the people and process, and after a few doors started to open, I found my home. My position evolved over the next couple of years. And here I am!
Q: What keeps you coming back?
A: I like the people, connections, interactions. I like our mission of preserving and educating. I like being able to see/touch/smell/hear pieces of history.
Q: What’s your favorite volunteer story or memory?
A: Sitting in the Bush Stearman, on the taxiway, prior to AirExpo2018, watching an A10 doing a low approach as it came in. My first thought was “did that just happen?!” And second “that was AWESOME!”
Wings of the North Fundraising Sweepstakes
Our Sweepstakes 2020 was a big hit! The Cessna 150 Grand Prize winner was Jon Jackson of Chester, Maryland. Thank you for your generous support to our mission at Wings of the North. We are preparing to launch the 2021 Sweepstakes soon and plan to have a great lineup of prizes and a very special grand prize which we will reveal shortly.
John Bormes – Sweepstakes Chair
July 24th and 25th are the dates for this year so be sure to mark your calendars to attend this exciting airshow the whole family can enjoy. We will be showcasing a number of famous historical & contemporary aircraft as well as many interesting exhibits. There will be flight demonstrations, ground static displays, and you can talk to the pilots and crew about their experiences flying these impressive machines. The Yankee Air Museum’s B-17 “Yankee Lady” will be returning this year and we are waiting on confirmations from other warbirds and military aircraft from around the country. We also plan to teach our Aviation Merit Badge Classes as in previous years in conjunction with the AirExpo. We are hopeful the COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted by summer!
Greg Doeden – AirExpo Director
The Museum is open!
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 Brother’s first flight in 1903 and was built by Flight Expo, a nonprofit group in Princeton, which has loaned the replica to us for display. 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 web site at www.wotn.org/museum for more information. We hope to see you at the museum again soon.
Bob Jasperson – Museum Director
The Wings Restorations Crew is currently working on three projects. Two of them are nearing completion and the last one is in the startup phase.
Link Trainer Instructors Desk
The desk for the instructor that controls a link trainer has been refinished so that it can be displayed alongside the link trainer in the Museum. There are some remaining fittings that need to be constructed, but we look forward to putting it on display in the very near future.
Vultee BT-15 Valiant Restoration
BT-13 and BT-15 aircraft were the most-produced basic trainer during WWII, with both the Army Air Force and the Navy using variants. Our BT-15 spent time at Gunter Field in Alabama, where it was used for pilot training and also at Love Field in Texas at the Material Transfer Command.This has been a multi-year project that will culminate in this trainer’s first post-restoration flight this year. Progress slowed in 2020 because of the pandemic, but we are again ramping up restoration efforts. The cockpit instruments are being installed, along with the canopies and windscreen. The cowling is ready for paint. There are still numerous tasks remaining, including the baggage compartment and door, installation of the required modern radios/intercom/ADS-B/transponder/ELT, seatbelt installation, and the tail-cone repair.
Beech AT-11 Kansan Restoration
AT-11 type aircraft were also used by both the Army Air Force and the Navy. The aircraft is a derivative of the Beech 18, also known as a Twin Beech. It is notable for the Glass bombardier type nose with Norden bombsight and dual bomb bays where ten 100 lb practice bombs could be deployed. AT-11’s could also be equipped with top 30 cal gun turrets and handheld 30’s for gunnery training or 3 navigation stations for navigation training. Our AT-11 restoration will not begin in earnest until the BT-15 is completed. However, we have spent about 6 weeks rearranging the hangar and adding additional pallet racking to accommodate the AT-11 and its many spare parts. Over two weekends we relocated the fuselage from Aircorps Aviation in Bemidji to our hangar where it is currently awaiting the official start of the project. In the very near future, we will assemble a team to go back to AirCorps Aviation and pick up a semi load of spare parts to bring them back to be inventoried and stored onto the new shelving.
Greg Kaminski – Restorations Director
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.
- 1st Thursday of the month – Outreach Team Virtual Meeting (630pm) Contact [email protected]
- 3rd Thursday of the month – Air Expo Team Meeting (630pm) Contact [email protected]
- 4th Thursday of the month – Hangar Cleaning Night (600pm food/social; 630pm for cleaning) Contact [email protected]
- Movie Night will resume when COVID restrictions are lifted (every other month after Hangar Cleaning) Contact [email protected]
- Air Museum – Open Every Sat & Sun (1100am-300pm)
We plan to host these activities throughout the year. Please check www.wotn.org for additional information as it becomes available:
- 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 [email protected] for information and include your desired activity for involvement.