Chapter Explores Opportunity for Improved Facilities

The Alfred and Lois Kelch Aviation Museum, Inc. is developing a plan to move their antique airplane and artifact collection from the south side of the Brodhead Airport to a more accessible location for viewing. Their new museum plan proposes purchasing the Stenson property which is road accessible and bordered on three sides by the airport. Earlier this year the Museum approached Chapter 431 about the possibility of leasing space on the new museum property. The initial offer is attractive and the chapter directors are gathering information to bring to the membership for consideration.

The Chapter has begun investigating a relocation of some of our activities to the planned new Kelch Aviation Museum

The Chapter has begun investigating a relocation of some of our activities to the planned new Kelch Aviation Museum

Last year Chapter 431 accepted a substantial gift from the Alfred and Lois Kelch Charitable Trust to our already appreciating facilities fund and we have been anxious to put the donations to work benefitting all who participate in airport activities. The Kelch offer is for indoor space within the new museum complex leased to EAA Chapter 431 for membership use ostensibly for meetings and activities and would include new restrooms in a comfortable year-round accessible setting. Activities could include outdoor use of the property.

To weigh-in and follow the progress of this development please attend the regular monthly meetings this spring and watch for major changes on the property this year. Stay tuned.

Good Weather for Chili Fly-In

Nearly a dozen ski-planes participated in the festivities February 7th at the annual Brodhead Airport Groundhog Chili Ski Fly-in. The sunny morning quickly burnt off the overnight fog making for a well-attended event. Bob Pokorney captured some of the activities on the ground, and in the air thanks to pilot Scott Bruns.

The full photo gallery from the day is HERE.

 

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Ski Fly-In Field Condition Report

Mother Nature delivered some much needed snow cover this week to Brodhead Airport, and just in time too. Our annual Groundhog Chili Ski Fly-In is Saturday, February 7th and the field is now suitable for ski equipped aircraft. The field is NOT suitable for wheeled aircraft.

8″ to 10″ of light snow has fallen in the past three days and the depth on the airport varies from 2″-14″ due to wind drifting. See pictures below and keep in mind that an additional 2-3″ has fallen since they were taken on Monday, Feb. 2. Temperatures look to remain below freezing for the rest of the week.

Brodhead Airport, Monday, Feb 2, 2014. 2-3" of additional snow has fallen since this picture was taken.

Brodhead Airport, Monday, Feb 2, 2014. 2-3″ of additional snow has fallen since this picture was taken.

Brodhead Airport, Monday, Feb 2, 2014. 2-3" of additional snow has fallen since this picture was taken.

Brodhead Airport, Monday, Feb 2, 2014. 2-3″ of additional snow has fallen since this picture was taken.

Brodhead Airport, Monday, Feb 2, 2014. 2-3" of additional snow has fallen since this picture was taken.

Brodhead Airport, Monday, Feb 2, 2014. 2-3″ of additional snow has fallen since this picture was taken.

Groundhog Chili Ski Fly-In – Saturday Feb. 7

EAA Chapter 431’s annual Groundhog Chili Ski Fly-In is set for Saturday, February 7, 2014 from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Brodhead Airport. As always, fly in, drive in or walk in for a mid-winter break and join us for some winter flying. Chili and all the fixins’ will be available in the Chapter Building for a free-will donation.

Chapter 431 has long hosted an annual skiplane fly-in in the middle of the long, cold Wisconsin winters to get local pilots out of their hibernation and join us for some homemade chili and hangar flying, and for those properly dressed, some chatting and commiseration around the fire pit. The event usually falls around Groundhog Day, so the name has sort of stuck.

A field condition report will be posted here as the event nears. Let’s hope for a little more snow!

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2013 Groundhog Chili Ski Fly-In

2013 Groundhog Chili Ski Fly-In

2013 Groundhog Chili Ski Fly-In

2013 Groundhog Chili Ski Fly-In

2013 Groundhog Chili Ski Fly-In

2014 Year in Review

Cheeseland Chapter EAA #431 continues to promote aviation and the Brodhead Airport through informative presentations and educational activities along with sponsoring several fly-in events at the airport. During the EAA Chapter scheduled work days at the airport we continue to improve the Chapter facilities and assist with the maintenance of the Brodhead Airport.

We are beginning to see the benefits of our 501(c)(3) public charity as donations have been generously given to our Education Center & Facilities and Historic Restoration categories in support of our education center building project and restoration of the US Air Mail Beacon Tower Memorial.

Following are some of the activities and functions that we supported this year at the Brodhead Airport:

We continued to improve the Chapter Hangar by finishing the wall covering and insulating the gable ends and side walls to complete the insulation of the chapter hangar.

The Brodhead Airport is now the home of a US Air Mail Beacon Tower Memorial. This was accomplished through the sponsorship of the Brodhead EAA Chapter 431 and three local Eagle Scout Candidates working on various phases of the US Air Mail Beacon Tower Memorial project. The concrete was poured, the tower was erected and the generator shed was constructed. The tower stood tall during the Grassroots MAAC Fly-In and final memorial/landscaping is planned with a dedication in the spring.

Doug Tomas-presentation on his great-uncle, who was a flight engineer on a B-24, shot down over northern Italy in WWII. His research turned up some unexpected surprises along the way, corresponding with surviving crew members, a special connection with a B-24 in the National Museum of the US Air Force, leading up to a trip to Italy for a special dedication in 2011

Pat Ripp – “Aircraft Maintenance, What Can I Do?”

Chapter member Bill Bell lead an expanded round of first responder rescue training midyear with 5 airplanes and 7 presenters with the 23 Brodhead Fire Department attendees.

Frank Baker’s – “Piper Cub Tales” and his adventures flying a J-3 Cub all around the country.

Jeff Taylor – Wisconsin Department of Transportation- Unmanned Aerial Systems in public airspace.

John Jorgensen – Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources – Aviation activities and initiatives.

Our Young Eagles rally introduced 24 Young Eagles to Aviation thanks to the ground crew of Ben and Brian and Pilots Betty Abraham, Ben Johnson, Neil Robinson, Jeff Skiles, & Mike Weeden.

Our Fly-In/Drive-In’s start early in the year with our Ground Hog Chili Ski Fly-in/Drive-In in February with 4” of fresh snow and 9 ski planes, many drive-ins, a large campfire and all the chili consumed again!

Our annual community pancake breakfast fly-in/drive-in set new records with over 500 served and even though we lost count, we estimate around 75 airplanes that flew in from around the region to enjoy the great flying weather and community at Brodhead Airport.

The Pietenpol/Hatz fly-in was another successful one, with nearly 20 Pietenpols from all around the country and even one from Winnipeg, Canada. We counted 11 Hatz Biplanes, which is about double from last year. The Bleriot group also displayed and had a gathering too. For the 4th year, the Brodhead High School has had a fundraising event by providing the Pork Chop Dinner during the MAAC Fly-In. This year’s group at the High School was the Year Book Committee.

The 2014 Midwest Antique Airplane Association “Grassroots” fly-in was another well-attended event, helped out by fantastic weather on Saturday and Sunday. Friday’s clouds and rain never quite got out of the way for early arrivals but the weekend more than made up for it. We’re estimating around 170 airplanes flew in and the RV and car parking lots were pretty full on Saturday as well. The usual Sunday morning exodus for home was even delayed with the perfect weather keeping a dozen or more planes on the field by mid-Sunday afternoon.

Our Annual picnic included many dishes to pass, brats, hot dogs, and chicken with chips and drinks. We observed the progress on the US Air Mail Beacon Tower, reviewed our fly-in/drive-in season along with our other projects and adventures too.

Now that we are through with the fly-in season, we plan to continue our rib stitching and sheet metal projects all while we are working on our own projects like Dave and Roy are:

Dave Waller’s Pietenpol Project is making great progress

And Roy Spach is airborne and flies every day possible.

We are also sponsoring a Learning for Life Aviation Explorer Post to encourage area youth to pursue a career in an aviation related profession or industry. This post has had planning meetings and kickoff was December 7th, 2014. It’s never too late to get involved! The next meeting is January 4th at 1:00 p.m.

As you can see, Cheeseland Chapter EAA 431 offers about every kind of opportunity to release your passion for Aviation and to serve our mission “To Promote Aviation in the Brodhead Area”.

What does your membership in the Brodhead EAA Chapter 431 provide? Opportunities for, Leadership, Group projects, Education, Volunteerism, Food, and Fellowship as we build and fly airplanes! Your membership key provides you with 24x7x365 facility access and equipment check in/out too. Work days, fly-ins, forums, seminars, and manufacturing & museum tours provide aviation related education opportunities and involvement locally to improve your aviation building and flying knowledge. Joining/renewing your chapter membership provides you with the opportunity to organize, interact, and manage aviation related activities and events and grow your aviation experience.

We look forward to seeing all of you pursue our mission at the Brodhead Airport in 2015!

Don Harrington

We received word that Don Harrington has passed away. Don was an active member of Chapter 431 along with his dog Shotze, and was building an Acro Sport II. Don showed off his project to chapter members last year and all were very impressed with his quality workmanship.

Don’s obituary can be read HERE and pictures of his Acro Sport II project are in our gallery section HERE.

Don-Harrington

 

 

Beacon Tower and Shed Erected by Eagle Scouts

Saturday, September 6th saw the completion of a year-long project by a pair of local Eagle Scouts to restore a vintage airway beacon tower at Brodhead Airport, and build a replica generator shed.

Crane Lifts the Beacon Tower

Several years ago, EAA Chapter 431 acquired an original airway beacon from member Chris Price. These airway beacons were used in the 1920’s and 30’s as a primitive but effective navigation aid to pilots on the fledgling air mail and airline routes of the day. Typically placed at the top of a 51 ft. tower at intervals of approximately 20 miles, pilots would follow these beacons between major cities. One of these beacons was just north of Brodhead in Decatur township, on the Chicago to St. Paul route. Local farmers recall firing up the generator and lighting the beacon every night and also mowing the grass runway at “Government Airfield”.

An original, decommissioned tower for our beacon was obtained from an airport in the region, and local Eagle Scout candidate Sebastian Adams set out to restore and put up the tower as part of a new airport memorial. Another Eagle Scout candidate, Holden Whitledge planned to build a replica generator shed to house a historical display and other artifacts for the airway beacon.

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On Saturday, August 23rd, the generator shed was put up by Whitledge and a team of scouts. The previous week, Alpine Ready-Mix of Brodhead donated the concrete foundations. The weekend of the MAAC Grassroots fly-in, the restored tower was erected by a team of scouts and generous crane services donation by Carter Machine of Monroe.

Beacon Tower

Front row, Todd Staffon, Mike Fitters,  Mike Visger, Bailey Hawkins, Sebastian Adams and Bryce Hammon. Back row: Bob Hawkins, Brian Law,  John Adams and Levi Visger.

Front row, Todd Staffon, Mike Fitters, Mike Visger, Bailey Hawkins, Sebastian Adams and Bryce Hammon. Back row: Bob Hawkins, Brian Law, John Adams and Levi Visger.

In the spring, landscaping will be completed and a memorial to Brodhead Airport members will be dedicated.

Here’s a timelapse video of the tower work on Sept. 6th:

Beacon Moonrise

Annual EAA Cheeseland Chapter 431 Picnic – Sept. 21

The annual EAA Chapter 431 picnic will be Sunday, September 21st, 2014, from noon until whenever in the Chapter Pavillion. We will once again have brats, hot dogs, and chicken breasts for sandwiches along with chips and drinks. Please bring a dish to pass to complete our menu.

Take the time out to attend our chapter picnic, see the progress on the beacon tower and review our fly-in season along with our other projects and share your flying adventures too! We still need your input and observations on the latest illustrations of the planned new chapter building.

I thank all of YOU that volunteered at the Pietenpol and MAAC fly-ins. Many attendees expressed their appreciation and gratitude to our organization for making the fly-ins happen. I received nothing but praise for the volunteers. Your volunteerism is a major component of EAA 431’s successful mission!

Come and enjoy the picnic at C37!

Mike Weeden/EAA 431 President

Grassroots Fly-In Pictures

The 2014 Midwest Antique Airplane Association “Grassroots” fly-in was another well-attended event, helped out by fantastic weather on Saturday and Sunday. Friday’s clouds and rain never quite got out of the way for early arrivals but the weekend more than made up for it.

We’re estimating around 170 airplanes flew in and the RV and car parking lots were pretty full on Saturday as well. The usual Sunday morning exodus for home was even delayed with the perfect weather keeping a dozen or more planes on the field by mid-Sunday afternoon.

Grassroots 2014 Aerial

Check out these picture galleries, first from Michael Kokott:
http://www.eaa431.org/gallery/index.php/Grassroots-Fly-Ins/Grassroots-2014

…and a second gallery from Doug Tomas:
https://plus.google.com/photos/114254867555286352886/albums/6056811782575422241?authkey=CKLxztfa3NTWVA

UPDATE: Another nice set of photos was sent to us by Allan Blunt:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/a-blunt/sets/72157647713276721/

 

Airway Beacon Tower Update

On Saturday, August 15th, a team of Boy Scouts and airport volunteers poured the cement foundations for the airway beacon tower and nearby equipment shed. The shed will be used for a memorial and interpretive display of the beacon tower. The first section of the tower structure is in place and the upper sections are nearly ready to go up.