Minnesota Flyer - Serving Midwest Aviation Since 1960

Articles written by Tom Foster

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Airport of the Month – Thief River Falls

When the telegraph put the Pony Express out of business, Morse Code was the medium for transmitting electronic messages. Later it was used by ship's radio operators and then by aircraft. Until the ear...

 

Airport of the Month-Runway Development

Fertile Municipal Airport is built on the shore of one of the Earth's largest lakes. Unfortunately, the lake went away a few millennia ago. Lake Agassiz was formed by melting glaciers and the famous...

 

Airport of the Month-Operations Spotlight

Independent flight schools had their "golden age" in the 1960s and 70s when there were four training operations at Crystal and the sky all-around was never still. Two of those operations also had...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    July 1, 2021

DNR Stocking Effort Features Flying Fish

Humans have been "stocking" fish for a couple millennia. Chinese palaces often featured ponds inhabited by ornamental fish and archaeological evidence suggests several Mediterranean civilizations...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    July 1, 2021

Navigation History Reveals A Highly Human Touch

Once there were navigators. Not a touchscreen gizmo made by Garmin or the weirdly mutated creatures that got hyped up on drugs to guide the Spacing Guild ships in Frank Hebert's novel "Dune." Actual...

 

Airport of the Month - Project Spotlight

Many places have cold weather, but in International Falls it can be spectacular. Citizens of International Falls and Koochiching County embrace the climate, not just tolerate it. Winter gets cold,...

 

Airport of the Month - Project Spotlight

When Orville stepped off the Wright Flyer on Dec. 17, 1903, the first thing he said was, "Where's the bathroom?" Well, maybe not. But once flights got longer toilets became a high priority after...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    May 1, 2021

DNR Pilot Has Dual Vocational Title

Professional aviators frequently aspire to fly for an airline. Airlines are a big target, about 110,000 pilot positions exist in the United States. Some pilots want to be in corporate aviation, and ab...

 

Airport of the Month - Project Spotlight

A small investment can result in a big improvement. In 2020, a simple project at the Fergus Falls Municipal Airport added considerably to airport safety by relocating a taxiway. Coincidentally, this...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    April 1, 2021

Aviation Has Critical Wildfire Prevention Role

Smokey Bear's campaign started on Aug. 9, 1944 and is the longest running public service advertisement in U.S. history. Fire safety is just as important today as it was during World War II. The...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    March 1, 2021

Mission to MTU

In Upper Michigan there is a delightful place called the Keweenaw Peninsula. Keweenaw is a Native American word that roughly translates as "portage." Over 7,000 years ago the area became a source of...

 

Airport of the Month - Project Spotlight

"Blind luck will beat careful planning every time" might be a good theory for managing stuff like your finances. Thousands of authors have written millions of pages about financial planning, most of w...

 
 By Tom Foster    Cover    February 1, 2021

Minnesota DNR's First Use Of Helicopters Has a Unique History

If you can get past the fact that they have way too many moving parts, Helicopters are wonderful aircraft. Igor Sikorsky developed the first practical machine for the US Army called the R-4. About...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    February 1, 2021

'Honey Bun 7' Has New Home in Australia

David Berger is a District Medical Officer in Broome, Western Australia. There are nine regions in Western Australia. Broome is in the Kimberly region on the northwest coast. It's a fascinating...

 

Airport of the Month - Project Spotlight

Business and commercial flights to rural airports work best if take offs and landings can happen even if the weather's not so good. What does an airport owner do when some important users need lower...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    December 1, 2020

Martinus Stenseth

Nellis Air Force Base is a huge facility. It has two 10,000-foot-long runways and is home for more Air Force units than any other military installation. The base is located on the northeast side of La...

 

Airport of the Month - Project Spotlight

Lots of general aviation airports have only one runway. Some have two, and a few busy ones near urban areas might have three or even four. In many cases, the runway configuration is historic....

 
 By Tom Foster    News    November 1, 2020

"It's a Good Life.... Especially if you like the woods and outdoors."

Happiness is getting paid for what you love to do anyway. That's especially true if you're a flyer or nature lover. Lots of people spend plenty of money to go flying or get away from it all. Robert Ho...

 

Airport of the Month Project Spotlight

In the early 1800s a Catholic Priest mistook a lake for a something else and named a place in Minnesota using the French word "detroit" (that means straight or channel). Soon a village had sprung up...

 

Airport of the Month Project Spotlight

Park Point is one cool place. It's the world's longest freshwater sand spit and separates the Duluth Harbor from the rest of Lake Superior. Since the lake's water is usually about 45 degrees, nature...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    September 1, 2020

Honey Bun

John Parker was a pioneer. Growing up on a Southern Minnesota farm, he loved horses, but his fate took him to aviation and the use of aircraft for conservation and wildlife management. From 1949...

 

Airport of the Month project Spotlight

More than 375,000 passengers pass through Rochester International Airport in a year, second in Minnesota only to MSP. Lots of those passengers are heading for the famous Mayo Clinic. American, Delta...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    August 1, 2020

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Aviation Fleet

"Our mission is to conserve and manage the state's natural resources, to provide outdoor recreation opportunities, and to provide for commercial uses of natural resources in a way that creates a susta...

 

Airport of the Month - Project Spotlight

"Say It Ain't So..." (Chicago Tribune headline after Shoeless Joe Jackson was indicted for fixing the World Series). Non-Directional Beacons (NDB) are being shut off. What will flight instructors use...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    July 1, 2020

Air Freight

Back when "overnight delivery" was exotic, an interesting fleet of airplanes flew "time sensitive" stuff like legal papers and canceled checks. One such aircraft was the Beech 18. Originally a... Full story

 

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