2016 T-Shirts

The latest version of the Brodhead Airport shirt is ready! The design celebrates the 70th anniversary of Brodhead Airport and features Bill Knight’s 1946 Taylorcraft, which has spent it’s entire life at Brodhead. The design is available on heather grey T-shirts ($15), sweatshirts ($20) and hoodies ($25).

Order online HERE or pick one up at the next chapter meeting or fly-in.

Hoodie Logo2016 Hoodie2016 Sweatshirt


Pancake Breakfast – What a Day!

First, a little perspective on our Community Pancake Breakfast.

The event has been steadily growing over the past few several years and has turned into a popular local event and kick off to the summer fly-in season. Last year (2015), we had a tremendous crowd despite marginal flying weather and served a record breaking 502 people.

A Waco UPF-7 is an early arrival.

A Waco UPF-7 is an early arrival. Photo courtesy of Doug Tomas.

This year, we knew the weather was going to be perfect, plus we had great publicity in the weeks beforehand. The Green County Veterans’ Huey was confirmed, MedFlight was confirmed, we had good advance registration for Young Eagles, the two original aircraft from Bill’s Air Park were confirmed and the Kelch Aviation Museum display would be big. We had a long radio interview a few days before and good local newspaper coverage. Fliers went out to all airports in a 100 mile radius. We were braced for a record crowd once again and bought enough food for 750 people. With all the prep work, we figured we would be in good shape for the day.

University Hospital's MedFlight helicopter lands for display.

University Hospital’s MedFlight helicopter lands for display. Photo courtesy of Doug Tomas.

Then the figurative flood gates opened.

Airplanes were landing at 6:30 a.m., 30 minutes before we opened. By 7:30, our usual aircraft parking area was overflowing and a few of our Aviation Explorer Scouts were pressed into emergency parking duty. By 9:00 a.m., it was clear we wouldn’t have enough food. The folks at EAA Chapter 22 at Cottonwood Airport flew in food supplies leftover from their pancake breakfast the previous week. (Try getting frozen sausage delivered by air anywhere else!) By 9:30, the line for food stretched to the parking lot gate. We kept the line moving steadily and for the most part, we handled the massive crowd, but it was clear we had entered a new era in pancake breakfasts.

A Piper Super Cub on amphibious floats lands in the grass at Brodhead Airport.

A Piper Super Cub on amphibious floats lands in the grass at Brodhead Airport. Photo courtesy of Doug Tomas.

The final tally…872 people served.

Of course, we had our celebration of the 70th anniversary of Brodhead Airport as well, with a Taylorcraft BC-12D and an Ercoupe 415-C on hand that were both sold new on the airport in 1946 by Bill Earleywine. Many from the Earleywine family were on hand to reminisce Bill’s Air Park, the original name for Brodhead Airport.

Darren Spiegel and son Dylan with their 1946 Ercoupe, flown in from Schaumburg, Illinois. This airplane was sold new at Brodhead Airport in 1946.

Darren Spiegel and son Dylan with their 1946 Ercoupe, flown in from Schaumburg, Illinois. This airplane was sold new at Brodhead Airport in 1946.

Debbie, Brady and Scott Bruns with their 1946 Taylorcraft. This airplane was also sold new at Brodhead Airport in 1946 and has remained on the field almost its entire life.

A very rare 1932 Franklin Sport biplane (back) and a 1928 Stearman C3B on display at the temporary home of the Kelch Aviation Museum at Brodhead Airport.

A very rare 1932 Franklin Sport biplane (back) and a 1928 Stearman C3B on display at the temporary home of the Kelch Aviation Museum at Brodhead Airport. Photo courtesy of Doug Tomas.

So, a big thank you goes out to all who came out to our big event, especially those who waited in the long food line. We are already planning how to make next year better. Thanks also to the UW MedFlight crew, Green County Veterans Memorial Park, Todd Arnsmeier Trucking, Darren Spiegel, and all of the Chapter 431 volunteers!

Community Pancake Breakfast To Mark 70th Anniversary of Brodhead Airport

EAA Chapter 431 will host the annual Community Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, May 22, 2016 at the airport from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This year marks the 70th anniversary of Brodhead Airport, which was founded in 1946 by Bill Earleywine and called “Bill’s Air Park.” Two aircraft that were sold new by Mr. Earleywine’s Taylorcraft and Ercoupe dealerships in 1946 will be in attendance at the Pancake Breakfast to mark the occasion.

UW Meflight Helicopter at the 2014 Community Pancake Breakfast.

UW Meflight Helicopter at the 2014 Community Pancake Breakfast.

UW Hospital’s MedFlight helicopter will be on display, arriving at 8:30 a.m., weather and duty requirements permitting. Also, the Green County Veterans Memorial Park group will display their newly acquired Vietnam-era UH-1M “Huey” helicopter. Young Eagle rides will be available to kids age 8-17, weather permitting, from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Registration is required for Young Eagle rides; e-mail events431@eaa431.org.

The community is invited to Brodhead Airport on May 22 to experience “Grassroots Aviation” and enjoy breakfast served by Chapter 431 volunteers. Tickets are $6.00 for adults and $4.00 for kids under 10. The airport is located 1 mile south of Brodhead at N2443 Airport Road.

For scenes from past Pancake Breakfasts, click here.

Aircraft and Airport Familiarization for Brodhead FD

A big thanks goes out to the 29 members of the Brodhead Fire Department, Police Dept. and EMS service who came out to Brodhead Airport last night for our Aircraft and Airport Familiarization training. We did another hour long slide show with details on the airport and all the activities put on throughout the year by EAA Chapter 431. Then, several local pilots volunteered their airplanes for “show and tell” to describe the fuel and electrical systems in different types of aircraft.

We hope to never see you guys when the red lights are flashing, but thank you for all you do to keep us safe and stop out any time to play airplanes with us.


Hand Propping Demonstration at May 3 Meeting

The guest speaker at our regular members meeting on Tuesday, May 3rd will be Greg Heckman, who will give demonstration on hand propping techniques and safety. Greg is an A&P Mechanic instructor at Rock Valley College and gives this seminar each year at EAA Oshkosh at the Vintage Aircraft headquarters.

Anybody involved with hand propping airplanes will want to attend to get instruction or a brush up. The meeting starts at 7:00 p.m. at the chapter 431 clubhouse at Brodhead Airport.

UPDATE: We had a great turnout of 32 people for the seminar. Thanks Greg and Cindy!


April Meeting – FAA Speaker

Don’t forget that our regular member meetings have switched to Tuesday evenings for the summer months.

The April 5, 2016 meeting will feature a guest speaker from the FAA. Jurg Grossenbacher from the Milwaukee FSDO office will speak on the “New FAA Compliance Philosophy and its Impact on the Pilots and Mechanics.” Please join us at 7:00 p.m. at the chapter building on Brodhead Airport for a short business meeting followed by Jurg’s presentation.

Bill Knight

Bill Knight, a founding member of EAA Chapter 431 and a venerable presence at Brodhead Airport, passed away March 17, 2016 at age 68. A visitation will be held Thursday, March 24, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Brodhead with a service to follow. An obituary can be read HERE.

Bill Knight with his Waco UPF-7. Photo courtesy of Gene Calkins

Over the years, Bill served as president and vice president of Chapter 431. He was instrumental in the chapter purchasing Brodhead Airport in 1973 and in the expansion that followed. He was a founding member of Midwest Antique Airplane Association and along with his wife Sue, personally hosted the annual MAAC “Grassroots” fly-in at Brodhead Airport from 1980 to 1990 until Chapter 431 took it over.

Bill Knight was a charter member of EAA Chapter 431 and served as vice president in its first year, later serving as president.

Bill Knight was a charter member of EAA Chapter 431 and served as vice president in its first year, later serving as president. Courtesy of Brodhead Historical Society.

Bill owned many airplanes over the years, starting with a 1946 Taylorcraft BC-12D that he purchased with Ed Disch and Kent Joranlien. He regularly flew his Waco UPF-7, Waco RNF and Cessna 180 and owned Bernard Pietenpol’s “Last Original” Corvair powered Pietenpol.

Bill Knight’s 1946 Taylorcraft BC-12D at the 2015 Brodhead Chili Ski Fly-In. This aircraft has been at Brodhead Airport since it was new.

Clipping from the Brodhead Independent-Register showing Bill’s restored Taylorcraft after a string of “Best of Type” awards at Oshkosh in the late 1970s. Courtesy of Brodhead Historical Society.

Bill built a Model A powered Pietenpol Aircamper in 1983 and flew it regularly. It is regarded as one of the best built Piets around and was his favorite airplane to fly.

Bill Knight Pietenpol

Bill Knight in his Pietenpol Aircamper project, early 1980s. Photo courtesy of Forrest Lovely.

Bill and Sue with their Pietenpol in 1984.

32 years after it first flew, Bill’s Pietenpol flies at the Brodhead Pietenpol Reunion, July 2015. It is still one of the finest examples around.

Bill’s Waco UPF-7 (back), Waco RNF (foreground) and his 1929 Packard. Photo by Bill Weeden

Bill and his partner Linda Kernen at the 2011 Waco Reunion. Photo courtesy of Scott Bruns.

Our sympathies go out to Bill’s partner Linda Kernen and his children Sarah and Eric.

Ron Zweifel Completes His Zenith 701

Ron Zweifel, an active member of EAA Chapter 431, recently completed his Zenith 701 project after nearly 12 years of work.

Completed 701

Ron’s Zenith has a Subaru EA-81 engine with a 1.7:1 reduction drive, which allows normal operating RPM around 5,000. The EA-81 is a flat 4-cylinder engine that develops 100 horsepower and has a custom air intake, ignition system and carburetor.

Ron bought a 701 fuselage as a project from a guy in Arizona back in 2004, but it needed to be completely rebuilt. He picked away at it over the years, but really started working in earnest after retirement in 2012.

Elevator Const 3Fuselage Const 1

Ron says the construction is pretty straightforward and he encountered no significant problems. The FAA inspection last December went well and the 701 is ready to fly. Ron is waiting to complete an aircraft familiarization class at the Zenith factory in Mexico, MO to satisfy insurance requirements. He already has his private pilot certificate with instrument rating. Chapter members Mike Weeden and Gene Calkins assisted as technical advisors on the project.

Fuselage Const 3Instrument Panel 3

11 Airplanes at Ski Fly-In

A great crowd for our Groundhog Chili Ski Fly-In, especially considering the lack of snow and skis. 11 airplanes attended (if you count the one low pass that didn’t land!) and a whole bunch of people kept the chapter building bustling with activity and the fire pit nice and warm.

Here are some pictures from the day. Thanks to all who took the time to come out.





Field Condition for Ski Fly-In

Field Condition Report – Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, 1:00 p.m.

Brodhead Airport completely missed this week’s blizz-mageddon-apocolypse and instead of a nice snow dump that we needed, received only sleet and rain. What little snow that was on the ground melted with the rainfall and created large areas of standing water on the runways. Most of the water has now frozen solid but there are still areas, particularly at the intersection of runways 3-21 and 15-33 that are wet underneath a thin ice crust. Runway 9-27 appears to be ok except the far west end.

There is not enough snow for ski operations at Brodhead Airport. Wheeled operations, as always, are at your own risk.

Of course, our Groundhog Chili Ski Fly-In will go on as planned, so if you can’t fly to Brodhead, drive in instead and enjoy some chili and flying fellowship. 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016 at Brodhead Airport.

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