by Dave Weiman
BLAINE, MINN. – There is so much happening at Anoka-County Blaine Airport/Jane’s Field (KANE) nowadays with over 400 based aircraft, more than a dozen air charter and aircraft maintenance businesses and flight schools, a world-class museum, and a restaurant and entertainment complex on the horizon, that its aviation story is worth sharing year after year at “Discover Aviation Days” (DAD). This year’s fly-in/airport open house was held May 31 and June 1, 2014.
Discover Aviation Days was open each day from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. There was no admission charge, but automobile parking donations were welcomed, and there was a raffle to raise additional capital.
At one point on Saturday morning, there was so much air traffic that the controllers at the contract tower could hardly keep up, and were turning away visitors to the tower.
DAD is hosted by a committee made up of pilots, airport tenants and business owners, coordinated by Craig Schiller, curator at the Golden Wings Museum, and the person spearheading the development of the restaurant and entertainment complex on the field (Flight Line Enterprise).
Golden Wings Museum owner, Greg Herrick, opens the doors to his private museum each year at no charge to the general public to promote aviation, and so people can learn something about America’s Golden Age of Aviation (1920s-1930s). The museum’s modern 45,000 square-foot hangar houses 36 rare vintage aircraft, some of which are one of a kind.
Rarities include NASA’s first aircraft, a stainless steel amphibian, the first airplane in which a pope ever flew, six trimotors – including a 1927 Ford Trimotor, America’s oldest existing airliner. Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart were among the many notable aviators who have flown some of these unique and rare aircraft.
Parked outside the museum on the ramp were examples of experimental, homebuilt, corporate, military and vintage aircraft. Like Herrick, the owners of these aircraft donated their time to the event. Local vintage and classic car enthusiasts also participated in DAD and held daily parades.
A pancake breakfast and noon lunch were held each day. A kids’ activity area included a playground and kiddie pedal-powered airplanes. Both fixed-wing and helicopter rides were also available.
The Saturday evening hangar dance at the Golden Wings Museum, featuring a 1940s swing band, had its largest turnout ever in the 14 years of Discover Aviation Days, with 1100 people participating.
Situated near the National Sports Center, Anoka County-Blaine Airport/Jane’s Field (KANE) continues to make improvements to accommodate a growing demand for general aviation in the northern suburbs. KANE is one of seven (7) airports operated by the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which include Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), surrounded by six (6) general aviation airports strategically located throughout the Twin Cities metro. All combined, MAC operates one of the largest and best airport systems in the nation!
KANE consists of 1800 acres, and features two runways: 9-27 (5,000 x 100 ft), and 18/36 (4,855 x 100 ft), a precision approach on Rwy 27, and a contract air traffic control tower. KANE supports more than 76,000 takeoffs and landings annually. There are 403-based aircraft. KANE is managed by Joe Harris.
For additional information on Discover Aviation Days, visit www.DiscoverAviationDays.org.