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.


Bill Knight — 22 Comments

  1. My sincere sympathy to Linda, Sarah, Eric, Chapter 431 and the city of Brodhead. Bill contributed so much to our lives in so many ways. He will be missed~

  2. Our sincere sympathy to Linda,Eric,Sarah. you will be missed by all at the Brodhead Airport. I will deeply miss our visits at the hanger. Fly high my friend…

  3. Great write-up and photos. Bill was a great friend and partner. He will be missed by so many of us. Way too young. Our deepest condolences to Sarah, Eric, and Linda.

  4. Blue skies and may you fly forever and you will be greatly missed by sooo many…….a life cut way to short for you and Sue!!!!!!!!! Our sincere and heartfelt condolences to Sarah,Eric,Linda and your whole family!!!!

  5. In years past, after Oshkosh, I would visit dick and Jeanne hill, and we would go over to Brodhead and tour the hangars, I had the pleasure of meeting bill at one of the grassroots fly ins years ago. He shall be sorely missed as he has now flown west, he was one of those people that really made brodhead what it is, pure magic.

  6. Rest in Peace Bill. My thoughts to Linda, Eric and Sarah. Bill was such a gentleman to me to all my visits to Brodhead. He always took time to recognize Carlene and I. Cheers

  7. Our sincere sympathy to Linda, Eric and Sarah. Bill will be missed by many people. So long to an old boss but more importantly to a good friend.

  8. RIP Bill, very sorry to hear, always a friendly welcome from Bill and Sue at Brodhead, great people. Blue skies.

  9. So sorry to hear of Bills passing. He will be missed by many.
    Condolences to Eric and Sarah, at least he can be with Sue again.

  10. Last month my old friend Stan Sweikar and this month Bill Knight. Both much too young. Bill always had time for me and my T-Craft. He will be missed.

    Jim hall

  11. So sorry to hear about Bill. We first met Bill and Sue at the Blakesburg flyin in 1982. Too soon for both of them. Bill let me fly his newly restored Waco with John Hatz at Haymeadow airfield several years ago. A memory I treasure. He will be sorely missed. Condolences to the family and Brodhead friends. M&M McMahan

  12. Bill, Sue, Field Morey, and I spoke before the Wisconsin Legislature in the early 1980s to try and get legislation passed to give private airports open to the public tax relief. We may have lost that battle, but we gained lifelong friendships. Thanks for all you did for grassroots aviation, Bill. Peggy and I will miss your flybys at Storytown Airfield.

  13. Too soon for both Sue and Bill. They were an integral part of the Brodhead tradition and legacy, especially for the Pietenpol people. But their influence was widespread. Always a “hello” and a smile and “Glad you could make it here.” Bill flew a number of my extended family in the New Standard, the only legacy flying any of them ever did, and Bill was a large part of it.

  14. My dear friend thanks for all you did to keep our BIRD flying, and for all your selfless interest in our family. I will miss you a lot.

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