History

The Palmyra Flying Club

 

                Established in 1945, the Palmyra Flying Club has had an active presence at the Palmyra Municipal Airport for more than 60 years.  Harvey Peckham called 
the first meeting to order on October 18th, 1945.  The meeting was short with an election of officers including Ed Calkins as President, Tony Weiler as Vice-President,
and Laverne Kelch as Secretary/Treasurer. There was a talk by Dale Crites of Spring City Flying Service, Waukesha, on the history of their flying club.  The invitation 
to affiliate with the Wisconsin Civil Air Corps was discussed and a By-Laws Committee was appointed, with Forrest Reed and Haden Krause on the committee. The 
meeting was then adjourned.  That was the start of the Palmyra Flying Club.

           The club lost no time in setting an annual membership fee of $5.00 at the second meeting, which also included a membership in the Wisconsin Civil Air Corps.
There was a discussion of Dale Crites holding 'night school 'classes.

            The club was gaining momentum with 8 new members on board at the third club meeting, held on December 6th, 1945. The membership apparently liked the
idea of night school classes and resolved that classes would be six to eight nights. 

            After discussions with the Palmyra Town Board, the club was granted permission to rent  the air strip on the Calkins property.  The Town Board also granted
Dale Crites permission to be the instructor, working on a commission basis. Calkins was also appointed manager of the air strip, working with the Palmyra Flying Club 
and the Town Board. At that time, the Calkins field east of Calkins Road and south of Highway 106 in the Town of Palmyra was officially named The Palmyra 
Community Flying Field.

           January of 1946 saw an agreement between the Spring City Flying Service and the Palmyra Flying Club for a cooperative venture.  Crites offered a plane and an
instructor to be sent to Palmyra as long as there were five or more members to fly. This was the first of many discussion held by the flying club to discuss such things 
as the kind of policies wanted for renting and/or leasing hangars, building hangars, identifying town and village structures, incorporation, field management, airport 
leveling, gas availability and raising money to maintain the field and take care of future bills. Membership increased steadily.

          By the September 5th, 1946 meeting, an annual meeting was under discussion and new officers were elected, including President Hayden Krause, Vice-President 
Forrest Reed and Secretary/Treasurer Arnold Nokes. By early 1947 the club was actively seeking new members and contacted people to encourage new members to 
join the club. The flying club has always had an active role in the community, working with the Village Advancement Association and there were discussions of a joint 
sponserhip of a field day, the probable first fly-in breakfast.

          Considering the year was 1947, an amazing motion was made to and passed to invite women to the next meeting and to encourage the to joint the club!!!! Three
ladies were elected to membership at the June meeting, including Helen Gerlach, Mildred Krause and Frances Agnew.  These were the first female members of the 
Palmyra Flying Club. What a radical idea for the mid-century, illustrating the forward-thinking stewardship at the helm of the club.

          The 1947 Membership List: Hayden Krause, Mike Wojtkunski, Forrest Reed, Ashley Rhodes, Anton Weiler, Stanley Gerlach, Arnold Nokes,
Frances Agnew, John Wojtkunski, Irv Shepherd, L.L. Spiegelhoff, Mildred Krause, Bill Tehan, Elmo Agnew, William Reich, Helen Gerlach, Don Thayer,
LaVerne Kelch, Robert Turner, Alide Reed, Glades Kelch, Mrs. Shepherd and Walter Nowak.

          At the July 7, 1949 meeting, it was resolved to draw p the Articles of Incorporation for The Palmyra Flying Club.  Attorney Ken Krause, did the legal work,
submitting it to the Secretary of State.  The first article in the Articles of Incorporation, gives an excellent summary of the purpose of the Flying Club.



The Articles of Incorporation of The Palmyra Flying Club Article First. -- The business and purpose of such corporation shall be: "To support, assist, educate, instruct and promote all phases of aviation; To organize and sponsor general education projects; To encourage and help aviation activity of non-aviation associations; To foster aviation leadership through the recognition or leadership activity; To encourage joint discussion directed toward group agreement on development needs; To keep leaders informed on development needs; To initiate referendums on questions of local, state or national character in application to aviation or having relation thereto; To further all phases of private aviation for educational, benevolent, charitable, or reformation purposes."
       These Articles of Incorporation were signed by Gerald Davis, Frances Agnew, Tony Weiler, Lucille Nokes and Hayden Krause on the 7th day of July, 1949. The 
intention of the founders was to make flying affordable for aviators who wanted to own and fly their own airplanes. Costs were set at $25.00 for a 20 year hangar lease.
Today there are over 50 hangars at the airport with a continued demand to build more.  Thanks to Tony Weiler who, in 1949 rented 80 acres of land from Walter Geilfus
for one year and then leased it to The Palmyra Flying Club for $1.00. In the early 50's, the Schindler land was added to this parcel and the Flying Club used federal funds 
to build the landing strip.  An addition of the Tutton land parcel was added to the airfield in 1996.


The Palmyra Flying Club has met consistently each month since 1945. Airstrips of Palmyra - Historical Map as of 2003 (click here)


Source: 60 Years of Flying in Palmyra, by Nancy von Rohr, Publisher: The Palmyra Historical Society, Palmyra, Wisconsin, 2003. Available at the Palmyra Historical Museum, Palmyra,Wisconsin.

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