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

Soaring to New Heights

Feb 28, 2022 | Wings Quarterly

Message from the Board

We hope your 2022 is off to a great start. At Wings of the North, there have been a number of things going on behind the scenes, and we are looking forward to another exciting year ahead.

While we search for a permanent facility at Flying Cloud Airport (FCM), WOTN has secured a storage hangar for our aircraft and museum artifacts. It’s located right next to our restoration hangar on the north-west side of the field.

Meanwhile, the team is already putting the pieces together for another great AirExpo. Be sure to check out the volunteer shifts for AirExpo2022, and other WOTN opportunities. This year, we are unvieling a new automated process that will make signing up even easier than before.

In addition to our AirExpo2022, WOTN, along with the Minnesota Pilots Association, will be hosting a couple of fly-in pancake breakfasts on May 7th, and September 10th. Specific times and locations are yet to be determined, and more details will be forthcoming as we get closer to those events.

Lastly, look for WOTN aircraft to attend the TBM Reunion in Peru, IL, the Fagen Airshow in Granite Falls, MN, and the Duluth Airshow in Duluth, MN. There will also be scheduled aircraft “fly days” on dates to be determined; stay tuned for more information on those specific dates and times.

See you all soon!

WOTN Board of Directors

AirExpo2022 tickets available.

We’re excited to be bringing you AirExpo2022 at Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie, MN. With record-breaking attendance last year, we anticipate a repeat performance, and are taking opportunities to make AirExpo2022 better than ever.

Ready for presale! AirExpo2022 Tickets

As in the past, the public will be able to walk among aircraft on display, talk to the pilots and crew, and take photos. Besides our featured aircraft, we are excited to bring you Minnesota Heroes and VIPs, along with the many vendors that make this one of the best events in the Twin Cities. If you didn’t get a chance to make it out last summer, here are a few of the highlights captured by Nick Halseth of Pulse Visuals.

Work has started to bring you AirExpo2022; which includes the effort to secure a number of aircraft. We look forward to many who will be making the trip again from last year, as well as a few newcomers to the show. It should prove to be another fabulous group of aircraft for AirExpo2022 including our very own planes from the Wings of the North Air Museum:

  • P-51D Sierra Sue II
  • F4U Corsair
  • TBM-3E Avenger Torpedo Bomber
  • AT-6D Texan
  • N2S-1 Stearman

The Yankee Air Museum will once again be offering rides at our AirExpo2022; and this year, they’re bringing two aircraft. The gorgeous and roaring “Yankee Lady” will be accompanied by the big and mighty “Hairless Joe”.

Be sure to book your seats for this incredible opportunity of a lifetime. Click to reserve your seats!

Our 2021 WOTN Fundraising Sweepstakes Winner

John Bormes, WOTN Sweepstakes Chair, along with Buzz selecting the Sweepstakes winner.
Buzz and John Bormes, WOTN Sweepstakes Chair holding the winning ticket.

Congratulations to Bruce Hanson of Wilmar, MN for winning the grand prize in our second annual Sweepstakes. We would like to thank everyone who made a contribution to Wings of the North by entering the contest! Wings of the North depends on folks like you to support our efforts to excite, inform, and inspire people about what we love: AVIATION!

We really appreciate that!

Piper Cub is an American Light aircraft built between 1938 and 1947 by Piper Aircraft.
Piper Cub is an American Light aircraft

James F. Dubay Scholarship

Each year we offer a scholarship to our aviation community. For 2022 we are pleased to continue James Dubay’s legacy, and look forward to awarding this to another deserving recipient!

Please share and help us spread the word! All applicants are welcome! Enter here and good luck!

Special Recognition – Greg & Mary Kaminski

Greg and Mary Kaminski Wings of the North recognition award
Greg and Mary Kaminski

Greg and Mary helped start Wings of the North, having been volunteers at the former Planes of Fame East museum on Flying Cloud Airport. They were very involved in the AirExpo with Greg being the Airshow Director for three years. He was also one of the leaders in the ongoing Wings Restoration projects and was honored as the Volunteer of the Year in 2009. Greg and Mary are the only married couple to both serve on the WOTN Board of Directors (not at the same time) and be WOTN Presidents. They certainly will be missed, and we wish them the best in Colorado.

Bob Jasperson, Director of WOTN Air Museum

Volunteer Spotlight – Mike Cagley

Bob Jasperson (left) presenting the award to Mike Cagley (right)
Bob Jasperson (left) presenting the award to Mike Cagley (right)

Q: What do you do as a volunteer?

The short answer is that I do a little bit of everything. I am a volunteer at AirExpo, I work on the restoration of the Vultee BT-15, and I am a senior docent at the WOTN Air Museum.

Q: How did you first get involved?

My first awareness of WOTN started with AirExpo over 20 years ago. After a few years I decided to look into getting more deeply involved, and I started volunteering at AirExpo. I loved the experience and looked forward to it each year. It was at the Show that I first saw the BT-15 restoration. I have some experience with tools and thought that helping to restoring a rare piece of aviation history would be very rewarding. It is slow, methodical work but the time has been well worth it. As I became more deeply involved I heard they were looking for a few more docents at the museum. I was well aware of the magnificent warbirds in WOTN’s care. I enjoyed studying history, so the museum gives me a great opportunity to share the history of these planes, and the other artifacts, with people who are curious about them. 

Q: What keeps you coming back?

The answer to this question is both simple and complex. My interest in aviation is both hereditary and improbable but that is another story. I like the great variety of the activities, the fellow volunteers who share my interests, the amazing VIPs I have meet over the years, and the ability to meet the public and educate them on subjects they never learned in school. As a child of “the greatest generation” I feel it is vital that future generations never forget what they did.

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

The answer to this question is like trying to say if you have a favorite child. Meeting and talking to Dick Cole and Tom Griffin (Doolittle Raiders) certainly has to be on this list. A few years ago at the museum I met an elderly man who was using a walker. It was a Sunday afternoon and the last day of the show at Oshkosh. He said he wanted to see our F4U Corsair. I felt bad telling him that the Corsair was at Oshkosh but that it should be on its way back now, and if he could wait I would try to find out when it was due. He said he wanted to wait. We got word from the tower when our P-51 Sierra Sue II and Corsair were about 10 miles out. He was thrilled. We made our way out of the museum hangar and watched as these two gorgeous planes made low passes over the field. As they did so it seemed as if 70 years melted from his face. He told me he had flown a Corsair in WWII. When the planes pulled up to the hangar he hurried as fast as he could to the Corsair. I don’t know who was more excited, the elderly man talking to our pilot or our pilot talking to the Corsair veteran.

Featured Story

Recent Experience with the C-17 Globemaster

By Cary D. Pao

My first encounter with the C-17 Transport Aircraft was in 1987 as a Program Manager developing the aircraft’s Warning and Caution System. Our Annunciator Display Panel was in the overhead cockpit consisting of a Red-Yellow-Green display powered by two Mil-Std 1750 computers providing the crew with an immediate warning of any aircraft malfunctions. Our customer, Douglas Aircraft, wined and dined me, and their other suppliers, at their corporate entertainment house in Long Beach for briefings of the C-17 Program. On top of the very lavish evening, they provided us literature and souvenirs and encouraged us to lobby our congressional representatives to support the program. This was part of the Douglas’ strategy to politically diversify their supplier base in as many states as possible to support and guard against any budget cuts by the administration. It’s interesting to see how sophisticated the program was in the continued lobbying for the program.

U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers seated in a C-17
Approximately 92 U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division paratroopers seated in a C-17 as it maneuvers to a drop zone for a mass-attack airdrop during exercises at Pope AFB.

C-17 Development

The C-17 aircraft began development in the 1970s intended to replace the C-130 Hercules tactical cargo aircraft and the C-141 Starlifter cargo plane to fulfill the United States Air Force (USAF) requirements for the newly defined rapid-deployment airlift mission. In a competitive bid process that spanned from 1979 to 1981, McDonnell Douglas was selected over Boeing and Lockheed with the C-17 winning design. The development program encountered many engineering and production challenges, resulting in numerous contact changes and production lot quantity buys, that resulted in significant cost and schedule increases. During development, McDonnell Douglas merged with its domestic competitor, Boeing, and produced a total of 224 aircraft for the USAF. The USAF attempted to shut down the C-17 production line after it had the quantity of planes they needed, but Congress reinstated production and added additional units to the production. This example was a testament to Boeing’s lobbying power with Congress. The DoD ultimately decided to replace all the C-141 Starlifter aircraft with the C-17 Globemaster but retain the C-130 Hercules aircraft to operate in forward locations using its rugged unimproved field capability.

U.S. Air Force C-17 transporting a Dutch PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer to Afghanistan, circa 2006
U.S. Air Force C-17 transporting a Dutch PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer to Afghanistan, circa 2006

Marketing the C-17

Boeing went on to market the C-17 aircraft to several foreign governments to include the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the United Kingdom who leased four C-17 aircraft with options to buy. The UK ultimately purchased nine C-17 aircraft. The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) purchased eight aircraft and participated in Boeing’s “virtual fleet” C-17 sustainment program receiving the same upgrades as the USAF fleet. Providing fleet sustainment was a big advantage assuring continued parts availability at the lowest prices. The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) purchased five aircraft. At the Farnborough Airshow in 2006, a number of NATO Member nations agreed to jointly purchase a number of C-17s within the Strategic Airlift Capability member countries consisting of Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, the U.S., along with two Partnership for Peace countries Finland and Sweden. The Indian Air Force (IAF) purchased eleven C-17s. Other C-17 sales were made to Qatar for eight aircraft; United Arab Emirates purchased eleven C-17s; Kuwait purchase two C-17s. Boeing was able to creatively leverage these foreign military sales with the large C-17 “virtual fleet” and beat out several competitor transport aircraft suppliers’ offers to these governments.

A C-17 evacuating 823 passengers out of Kabul on 15 Aug 2021.
A C-17 evacuating 823 passengers out of Kabul on 15 Aug 2021.

The C-17 Globemaster aircraft is considerably larger and more capable than the C-141 Starlifter: Strategic Airlift Transport, which was the workhorse of the USAF Military Airlift Command. The following table compares the two aircraft with the C-17 III incorporating more modern technology. You’ll see the C-17 had enormous advantages with significant performance improvements in power plant and avionics.

Boeing C17 Globemaster versus Lockhead C141 Starlifter specifications comparison chart
Boeing C17 Globemaster versus Lockhead C141 Starlifter specifications comparison chart
A Boeing C-17 creates a visible vortex while using thrust reversal
A C-17 creates a visible vortex while using thrust reversal to push the aircraft backwards on a runway.

A visit to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickman AFB

Recently, I visited my friend Capt. Justin Shimasaki, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam AFB to tour his 204th Airlift Squadron. He arranged to have an aircraft powered up for a special tour for my wife and me.

Cary and his wife standing in front of the C-17
For size comparison, my wife and I pose in front of the forward crew stairs.

We were briefed that the C-17 flies the full range of missions from long distance airlift missions with air-to-air refueling to tactical missions where they extract cargo from the rear using a parachute deployment system.

A C-17 performs a combat off-load of pallets in Afghanistan, June 2009.
A C-17 performs a combat off-load of pallets in Afghanistan, June 2009.

The C-17 is highly maneuverable and can be flown to an overhead pattern when necessary to minimize hostile ground fire at forward operating locations. The aircraft has an autopilot that can fly in close formation with other aircraft completely hands-off using radar proximity sensors. This just blew me away as someone who taught USAF undergraduate pilot training flying 2 and 4-ship formations in the T-38 trainer. The most impressive fact they said is how this aircraft can land and stop in 3,500 ft of runway at 585,000 lbs max gross weight using its thrust reversers, which can be used to taxi backwards. Both pilots have their own Heads-Up Display (HUC) and control the aircraft with a stick vs the traditional control wheel and yoke used on transport planes. The odd thing was the Pilot-in-Command in the left seat had a left-handed stick as you can see in the photo.

It feels good to be in the left seat. My Warning and Caution Annunciator Panel
It feels good to be in the left seat again. Too bad it\’s just a ground photo op. The picture on the right is my Warning and Caution Annunciator Panel displaying all systems Green in center overhead panel.

A bonus for me was seeing the Warning and Caution Annunciator Panel, that I managed years ago. You can see that all aircraft systems were Green in the right upper corner of the photo.

After the tour, I realized that this aircraft’s mission is way more interesting than the old C-141 when I was in the USAF. This aircraft has a significant “cool” factor that comes closer to rivaling the B-1 Bomber.

Events Calendar

Monthly WOTN meetings to restart – EVERYONE IS WELCOME!!!

Every month on the first Thursday (starting March 3rd) there will be a General Meeting of Wings of the North. The meetings will start at 6:30pm in the Restoration Hangar on Sierra Lane just inside Gate H on the northwest corner of Flying Cloud Airport. Select “GUEST” and then “WOTN Restore” on the call box at the gate, and we will buzz you in. Parking is on the west side of the hangar by the WOTN trailer.

The meetings are open to anyone interested in WOTN, not just active volunteers. Representatives from each of our projects will give a brief update on their activities, future plans, and volunteer needs. Areas to be covered include:

  • Museum site search
  • Gift shop sales and new items
  • AirExpo updates
  • Restoration progress
  • Sweepstakes airplane search/sales
  • Outreach committee products and input needs
  • Special events/pancake breakfasts/flying days/etc.

After the meeting everyone is welcome to stay for some social time. Prospective volunteers can talk to the activity leaders and hopefully find an area where they would like to help. Current volunteers can coordinate with those in other activities. We hope that this will make our overall operation run more smoothly and be more welcoming to new volunteers. Plus it will be FUN to see everyone! Please join us starting March 3rd.

WOTN Merch

Did you know? Besides the shop on our WOTN website, we’ve also started a new storefront on eBay. Click the link below to check it out.

WOTN eBay shop

Call for Volunteers

The process to sign-up as a volunteer is a bit different now as we have now automated our volunteer process at Wings of the North with a new system called InItLive. This will greatly improve our volunteer communications and coordination, as you will be able to view all our active opportunities in one location, as well as manage your volunteer shifts.

To sign-up, please click the following link to our website ( and follow the instructions to enroll in InItLive. We’d also recommend downloading the InItLive Mobile App as it will be the easiest place for you to interact with the system. Don’t forget to allow notifications during install so you receive reminders and information.This is a feature to have, especially for those of you who plan to volunteer for AirExpo2022, as you can receive real-time updates before, during, and after your shift.

Once you are logged in, you can view all our available volunteer opportunities. When you find the opportunity you want, please register for that first and then register for your preferred shift.

If you need assistance or have any difficulties, please email Brande ([email protected]).

Thanks for your interest, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

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