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The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Antique Airplane Association Fly-In Part of Northern Midwest Road Trip

By Mark Nankivil

Fellow The Aero Experience Contributor Fred Harl and I made a Labor Day road trip to Iowa to visit the Mt. Pleasant Thresher Reunion (fascinating but no aircraft!) and the Antique Airplane Association Fly-In at the Airpower Museum near Blakesburg, Iowa.  We spent Friday at the AAA Fly In and later realized we were there for what turned out to be the best day of the weekend.  Weather through lower Iowa was quite wet that week with Thursday seeing over 3" of rain falling on the airfield, not a good thing considering the use of grass runways.  Friday morning provided clear skies and great weather until later in the afternoon when the skies darkened off to the southwest and clouds started crowding into the area. 

By Fred Harl
I had been to the APM airfield back in the early '90s for a series of R/C sailplane contests hosted by the Eastern Iowa Soaring Society.  The airfield was a great place to hold a soaring contest, and with the nice camping facilities on site (my wife always loves camping with hot showers and clean bathroom facilities!), I always looked forward to the next year's contest and the trip to Iowa.
This year's Fly-In featured Interstate and Great Lakes aircraft along with a theme of "Stars of the Sky & Screen" highlighting aircraft that appeared in the movies.  The weather impacted the runways such that the larger aircraft were unable to fly in but the Interstate Cadets and Great Lakes types were well represented. 

The Airpower Museum itself is well worth visiting, with a wonderful collection of general aviation mixed in with a little bit here and there of military items.  One in particular that caught my eye was a Westinghouse J30 engine, used in the McDonnell FH-1 Phantom. The gift shop had me digging through many back issues of various aviation magazines and journals, looking for issues to plug holes in my own collection.  There's also a large home on the airfield dedicated to a book collection with numerous artifacts and artwork displayed throughout the library. 

As you'll see in the photos, the variety of aircraft and the ease of capturing them flying, taxiing or parked on the grass made for an enjoyable day for Fred and myself at the Fly-In.  We are planning to return next year.  For more on the Antique Airplane Association and the Airpower Museum, check out their website, "Antique Airfield."    

The following photo presentation groups the vintage aircraft roughly by manufacturer:








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