Event Summary

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COME SEE THE ACTION & EXPERIENCE OUR STORIES

Wings of the North is pleased to announce our event calendar for 2020.  You are cordially invited to visit our Air Museum at Flying Cloud Airport and take in the following events:

AirExpo “The Fighters”

Our annual AirExpo this year “THE FIGHTERS” will feature German and British fighters of the “Battle of Britain” fame.  Aircraft coming to AirExpo 2020 will include the German Focke-Wolf FW-190 A-8 (depicted above) and the Messerschmitt ME-109 from the Erickson Aircraft Collection.  The Dakota Territory Museum’s Supermarine Spitfire Mk IXc and Hawker Hurricane currently finishing restoration will be here to give us a taste of what it was like during the Battle of Britain.  The Collings Foundation will bring their Wings of Freedom Tour with several aircraft to include the North American B-25 Mitchell medium bomber.  This aircraft was made famous by Colonel Jimmy Doolittle who led the raid on Japan from the aircraft carrier Hornet.  The Consolidated B-24 J Liberator bomber and the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk will also be on display.  There will be many other aircraft flying and on display from warbirds to Vietnam veterans to the latest in today’s military and civilian aircraft and helicopters, plus our very private collection of warbirds.  We will be posting additional aircraft coming to AirExpo on Facebook and Instagram.  Please follow us to get the latest updates!

Checkout our full lineup of aircraft & get your tickets early and save at www.wotn.org/AirExpo/

Aviation Merit Badge Classes

The Aviation Merit Badge classes will be offered at AirExpo by Wings of the North staff in partnership with Northern Star Scouting – Boy Scouts of America.  Earn your Aviation Merit Badge in the morning and attend the AirExpo for an activity double header!  Scouts and family registered with Norther Star Council will also receive discounted tickets for attending AirExpo. 

One-Day classes will be held on each of the 18th and 19th at the Wings of the North Museum at 10100 Flying Cloud Drive (near the base of the Control Tower).  Parking for the merit badge class is available in front of the museum.  Please check-in with the reception desk by no later than 7:45 am since classes will start promptly at 8:00 am and conclude at 12:00 pm so you can enjoy the AirExpo for the remainder of the day.

Scouts and family members must register with Northern Star Scouting for the Aviation Merit Badge Class and discounted AirExpo tickets.  Additional instructions and registration details can be found at www.northernstar.org/

BT-15 Aircraft Restoration Tours

We are now offering tours of our Restoration Facility where our staff will provide you a unique look at the inner workings of how our World War II BT-15 Trainer aircraft is being restored.  Our staff will brief you on the history of this aircraft, describe the restoration process, see the work in progress on the hangar floor, and talk with the people who will get this plane flying by summer. Please arrive promptly at 10:45 am at 10100 Flying Cloud Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55347.  Our docent will meet you and escort you to the Restoration Hanger across the Flying Cloud Airport. The tour will begin at 11:00 am and will last about an hour. Please see the event list for upcoming tour dates: https://wotn.org/event-list

Plane Talk Series

We are also offering a Plane Talk series featuring the flying aircraft in our WOTN collection.  These talks will be given by the pilots and crew chiefs who fly and maintain these planes.  They will brief you on the history of not only this type of aircraft during its day but also the story of how this specific aircraft was restored and came to be in our collection.  You will hear about its handling qualities, first hand flying stories, and gain first hand insight into critical aircraft systems, the maintenance these aircraft require to stay flight worthy, and a demonstration of the walk around inspection.  Come ask questions and find out everything you always wanted to know about these great warbirds.

The aircraft in our collection include:

  • Boeing N2S-1 Stearman Kaydet:  This aircraft was flown by President George HW Bush while he was an aviation cadet in Minneapolis.
  • Vultee BT-15 Valiant:  This Basic Trainer aircraft was the second aircraft in the training program used by the US Army Air Forces during WWII.  Currently undergoing final restoration for flight this year.
  • North American AT-6D Texan:  This aircraft was the advanced trainer in the US Army Flight Training Program.
  • General Motors TBM-3E Avenger Torpedo Bomber:  This is a huge aircraft that was a carrier based torpedo bomber used in the Pacific.
  • Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair:  This carrier based aircraft was a top performer in the Pacific Theater and served into the Korean War.  It had the last of the powerful radial engines. 
  • North American P-51D Mustang named Sierra Sue II:  This aircraft was the front line Fighter that served in both the Pacific and the European Theaters during WWII.  Its long range and performance allowed the US forces to achieve absolute air superiority protecting our bombers to win the war.  Sierra Sue II has quite a storied past and you’ll want to hear about how it came to be in our collection.

Plane Talks will be conducted in the Air Museum Hangar at 11:15 am. Please arrive by 11:00 am.

Note:  Specific aircraft may be changed in the event of unscheduled maintenance. Please see the events list for scheduled Plane Talks: https://wotn.org/event-list

Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame Annual Inductees

7 November (1-3PM):  Plaque Unveiling s for this year’s Inductees in the WOTN Museum Hall.  Advanced reservations required due to limited space available.  Contact the Wings of the North at 952-746-6100.

7 November (4:45 pm):  MAHOF Banquet at the Intercontinental Hotel at MSP Airport.  Register at www.mnaviationhalloffame.org

9 May (8:00am-11:00am):  Pancake Breakfast.  Come enjoy a great breakfast and catchup with your friends!

Minnesota Aviation Pioneers and Technology Series

Our guest speaker series this year focuses on the individual and corporate aviation pioneers that have contributed much to Minnesota’s place in aerospace.  Our series will walk you through the years from pre-war days to the present highlighting today’s technology so vital to our commerce and defense.  We will conclude this series with a glimpse on the family side of one of our most courageous pioneers. 

TBD (11:15 am):  “CG-4A Troop Glider” Presentation by Jim Johns who also built a replica of the CG-4A Troop Glider, now on display at the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum in Granite Falls.  Jim’s presentation will discuss the origins and advantages of using gliders to carry troops and vehicles to get them to the battle field together.  It will include many stories back in the day of the design and production along with photos of Minnesotans involved.  This unique aircraft was constructed of wood, fabric covered, and steel.  It was towed to the combat zone by a C-47 transport aircraft carrying its own complement of troops and equipment.  Villiaume Industries, a Minnesota lumber and paper company in St Paul, sponsored the building of Jim’s replica and was a subcontractor to Northwestern Aeronautical Company of St Paul, Minnesota, who built over 1500 gliders for the war effort.   Hear about the story of how this aircraft came into being and the challenges that Minnesotans had to overcome to make this aircraft real. 

16 May (11:15 am):  “What’s Next in Space” Presentation by Lincoln Hudson and Jim Zdrazil of Honeywell Aerospace, based in Minneapolis.  Hear about the US Space Program from the early days when America’s response to Russia’s Sputnik satellite was John F Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade to the accomplishments of Mercury, Apollo, Space Shuttle, Mars Rovers, Space X, and the current crop of space entrepreneurs as told by a person intimately involved working at Honeywell Aerospace.

13 June (11:15 am):  “Ring Laser Gyro Development” Panel Discussion and Presentation by the original team that designed and brought into production the Honeywell Ring Laser Gyro Precision Navigation System.  The panel members feature Joe Killpatrick, Inventor of the Ring Laser Gyro and Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame Member; Ted Pedgorski, who developed the technology required to produce a production capable laser gyroscope; Mike Swenson, who developed the tooling and production processes required to meet quality and cost requirements to make the Ring Laser Gyro a viable product; and Mel McIntyre, who was an important member of the Boeing Team, who revolutionized the commercial airline market by adopting the Ring Laser Gyro in its new 757 and 767 aircraft; and Armand Peterson, panel moderator and project historian who received two grants from the Minnesota Historical Society to study the Ring Laser Gyro.  You will not want to miss this team talk about their challenges and successes in making an incredible instrument that is used in virtually all commercial aircraft, ships, submarines, and spacecraft.

8 August (11:15 am):  “GPS and Space Systems” Presentation by Bernie Gruber of Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems on the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) System and the application of this amazing technology in today’s smart weapons and in satellite systems.  You will not want to miss this talk.

12 September (11:15 am):  “Doolittle Family” A Very Special Presentation by Jonna Doolittle, granddaughter of the famed Jimmy Doolittle, who led the courageous raid of Japan during WWII flying B-25 bombers off the aircraft carrier, Hornet.  Hear her stories about who her grandparents were as people, kids, young marrieds, parents, grandparents, and patriots, and what it was like growing up.  What a unique opportunity!