Today we held an Open House at the local airport for the residents in the Lake City and Red Wing, Minnesota community. It was a beautiful flight down the river to the airport. In our years of having the Stearman flying, we have flown over some gorgeous scenery, but our favorite place to fly is still over the lush green fields and winding rivers in Minnesota. Matt and I stopped into the Stanton Municipal Airport for an ice cream cone and an old fashioned soda along the way.
Stanton Airfield was built in WWII for flight training and is a really small, quaint, airport with two grass runways. The Stearman looked at home on the soft green grass and Matt’s landing was so great I didn’t even realize we had touched down.
When we arrived in Red Wing, we had a surprise welcoming committee. Betty and Earle Duggan (my wonderful pseudo-grandparents), family friend Mark Lutjen, and my mom Nola Nilsson were all jumping up and down when we landed. We arrived in Red Wing an hour before the Open House was scheduled to start so we had time to give a few quick rides. Matt took both Mark and Earle up for flights over the Mississippi River. When they came back, Mark had a huge grin on his face and said that his flight was “the thrill of a lifetime.” Being able to share the history of the plane and create a memorable experience in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen is so much fun for Matt and me.
That evening, Matt gave a presentation to the local Civil Air Patrol (CAP) unit. He spoke about his positive experiences in the CAP as a young cadet, careers in the U.S. Air Force, and of course the Tuskegee Airmen.
To end the day, Matt and I went for an evening/sunset flight in the Stearman for a photo shoot with aviation photographer Ray Pittman. Ray was in a Cessna and we flew formation on his wing. He was able to capture some fantastic pictures of Matt and I over my hometown of Lake City and beautiful Lake Pepin.