Minnesota Flyer - Serving Midwest Aviation Since 1960

Articles written by Tom Foster

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Airport Of The Month – International Falls

Charles Lindbergh was an environmentalist. After his many accomplishments in aviation, he became an enthusiastic steward of the planet. In 1969 the proposed Voyagers National Park had his attention an...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    May 1, 2022

Travel Experience Uncovers Aviation Connection

People used to call all facial tissue "Kleenex" because the product invented by Kimberly-Clark was so ubiquitous that the name became generic. Pilots did the same thing with flight simulators calling...

 

Airport Of The Month – Fergus Falls

Much of the wisdom imparted by the Federal Aviation Administration is contained in publications called "Advisory Circulars" or ACs. Both thorough and interesting, they cover a variety of subjects...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    May 1, 2022

Minnesota DNR Aviation Celebrates 75 Years

By any measure 1947 was an auspicious year. Yes, that was 75 years ago and included some very interesting and historic events. The Brooklyn Dodgers acquired Jackie Robinson, the first African...

 

Airport Of The Month – Duluth International

In 1929 the city of Duluth purchased 640 acres to build an airport. It opened in 1930 with two, 2,650-foot-long turf runways. Scheduled airline service to Duluth started in 1940. After the beginning...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    April 1, 2022

Former DNR Chief Pilot Was Avionics Use Pioneer

Forty some years ago an aviation revolution was occurring, one of the biggest changes since Jimmy Doolittle flew without seeing outside the airplane. Point-to-point navigation using VORs and NDBs was...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    April 1, 2022

Minnesota Musician-Aviator Served in South Pacific

Guadalcanal is not a waterway like "Panama Canal." In Arabic the name means "Valley of Stalls," or "Markets." It's also the name of a city in the Spanish region of Andalusia, and thanks to a homesick...

 

Airport Of The Month – Winsted

When runways were invented, they were mostly grass, at least in Minnesota. A strip of land was graded and rolled until it was fairly smooth and flat, then grass was planted and a turf runway came...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    March 1, 2022

Flight Experience Includes Marinated Meat

In the 1960s having a "draft card" was a mixed blessing for human males in the United States. The Vietnam War was escalating to a crescendo meaning you were likely to be conscripted by the so-called...

 

Airport Of The Month – Two Harbors

There are two Two Harbors. One is an unincorporated village on Catalina Island, the other is a major city on the north shore of Lake Superior. Catalina Island is an enclave of the rich, famous and tho...

 

Airports Of The Month – Carlton County

Carlton County is a great place no matter what you like. There's plenty of public land for outdoor recreation including the spectacular Jay Cook State Park. Less strenuous recreation is available at...

 

Airport Of The Month – Little Falls

Little Falls/Morrison County-Lindbergh Field is exactly what a General Aviation facility ought to be. Runway 13/31 is 4,000 feet long with all modern lighting systems and the customary RNAV...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    November 1, 2021

Minnesota B-17 Pilot Had Unique War History

Frank Valesh had a career in military aviation that was brief, interesting, and frequently violent. From September 1943 until August 1944 Valesh flew B-17s for the U.S. Army's Eighth Air Force in Grea...

 

Airport Of The Month – Mora

Swedes are famous for being persistent. That's a trait that comes in handy with airports and revolutions. Emigrants from Sweden were the earliest settlers around Mora, Minnesota. Folks there are proud...

 

Airport of the Month – Moorhead

Downtown Moorhead is having a renaissance. It's a welcoming place featuring some great artwork. The Ace Hardware Store on Main has added to the ambiance by sponsoring a mural of Florence Klingensmith....

 
 By Tom Foster    News    October 1, 2021

Minnesota DNR Aviation's 'Go-To Guy' Retires

John Heineman retired from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Enforcement Division's Aviation Unit in early July. His next move was to go fishing. Since that outdoors season is when DNR...

 
 By Tom Foster    News    October 1, 2021

DNR's First Female Pilot Has Historical Counterpart

Cora Fuller trained in a Stinson "Detroiter" to become the first Minnesota woman to receive a pilot's certificate after 30 hours of instruction at the Fairmont Airport. The Detroiter was a rather...

 

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...

 

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