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Like a Good Neighbor


Just like a good neighbor, Minnesota pilots are there.

This modified insurance company jingle came to mind recently when Minnesota pilots were asked to “show some love” for a small airstrip in northern Wisconsin.

The Cornucopia airstrip (WI23), located on the south shore of Lake Superior just southwest of Madeline Island, has been in existence for many years, but was somewhat forgotten until recently. Members from the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF), led by Jeff Russell, adopted the airport and offered some significant improvements. Funds were obtained from the RAF and many hours were donated by RAF members and people from the Cornucopia area to do things like constructing a pilot briefing shelter on the airstrip and clearing the area to make it an appealing place to conduct grass airport operations. Bicycles were made available for making the short trip (a mile) into the village. Port-a-Potties were put in place.

Just before the 2019 Great MN Aviation Gathering (GMAG) an announcement was made that a “Cornucopia Fly In” was to be held the weekend of June 21-23 and flyers for the event were distributed at the GMAG. Jeff wanted to ask Minnesota pilots to consider flying in for the weekend to celebrate the revitalized airstrip, and his efforts paid off handsomely when many of us decided to make the flight to see what this venue had to offer and to enjoy the company of fellow aviators. My wife and I decided to fly the Cub there and we are so happy that we did!

First, the efforts of the residents of the small village of Cornucopia were outstanding. There are options there for lodging in very nice cabins, and there is a brand-spanking new hostel in place for those who choose not to camp under the wing of their airplanes. The community center welcomed us to a fish fry on Friday evening, and we were welcomed to great food there and at local businesses, ranging from delicious hamburgers to bbq’d ribs to a nice coffee shop. When we walked into the general store it was like walking back in time 60 years ago. There was a kayak shop there for easy access to paddling Lake Superior and taking in the sea caves for which the area is well-known.

The township also prepared a wonderful fire pit for us to have a bonfire, and we sat around enjoying the beautiful weather as we told our usual aviation tall tales. Many of the locals came out to admire the collection of airplanes that had been flown in to “their airport.” It was a wonderful time.

I was so proud to see several of our fellow MN pilots come in to support what we hope will become a destination airport for those who want an easy adventure, replete with lodging, food and things to do.

How blessed we are to have the privilege of flight, as well as organizations like the RAF, to promote aviation in our region. Happy Flying!


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