Published In Midwest Flyer Magazine Online October/November 2021 Issue
DULUTH, MINN. – The replica of the 1913 Lark of Duluth Benoist Type XIV flying boat was a featured attraction in the EAA Museum during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021, July 26 – August 1. The replica was exhibited with the 1903 Wright Flyer replica and Curtiss A-1 Pusher Sweetheart in the Pioneers of Flight area of the museum.
The Duluth Aviation Institute donated the 2013 replica to the EAA Aviation Foundation on December 3, 2020, to preserve and exhibit the aircraft for the public and in perpetuity.
The Lark of Duluth replica took nearly six years to build, under the leadership of Duluth’s aviation craftsman, Mark Marino, with volunteer labor contributions from institute trustees and local EAA members Tom Betts, Michael Gardonio, Michael Shannon, Jim Nelson, John Vanderhorn, Bob Parenteau, and Sandra Ettestad.
The original Lark of Duluth, was owned by two visionary Duluthians, Julius Barnes and W. D. Jones, who foresaw the advantages aviation could offer in service to society and toward economic development. The first “Lark” made the historic first commercial flight with one paying passenger across Tampa Bay, Florida on January 1, 1914.
The Lark of Duluth flying boat was featured during the summers of 1913 and 1914 at Lark O’ the Lake Carnival held by the Duluth Boat Club. For the centennial celebration, the Duluth Aviation Institute featured the replica at the Lark O’ the Lake Festival in July 2013 and EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in July 2014.
The Duluth Aviation Institute’s mission is to preserve Duluth’s local aviation history and to educate the community with this history and knowledge of aviation and aerospace.