Pilgrimage to Pioneer Field

1940 Harlow PJC-2 early in the morning on Pioneer Field’s grass strip.
Tents and EAA test 150 in front of Pioneer Hangars.

For many travelers, Saturday will be their last day of AirVenture. Even though they have been here all week, they wake up with the startling revelation that there are certain things they have missed. Frantically, they try to put together a last day list of projects to see, forums to attend or purchases to make. However, few things are more important or satisfying as a last day visit to Pioneer Field.

The world’s oldest flying WACO Taperwing (1928).
Bernie Pietenpol would have been fascinated with a Citation parked outside his hangar.

Behind the EAA Museum there exists a time warp, complete with a level wide grass airstrip and vintage hangars, nestling priceless artifacts of our aviation heritage. You can find, and even touch, the oldest flying WACO Taperwing, an airmail Swallow and a Pietenpol, all built before you were born. You can run your hands over the rough boards that Bernie Pietenpol fashioned into hangar doors for his elegantly arched hangar.  All of these aircraft were experimental, long before the FAA even thought of making that a category.

1927 Swallow mail plane.

After communing with the spirits of our forefathers, you can climb Compass Hill and feel the spirit of flight with the bronze family at the summit. You can sit on the bench at the top, feel the cool Wisconsin air flow over you, and ponder the blessings of this world, your inherited family and your God given flying family. As you descend, you can step into Ferguson Chapel. Surely God smiled when they put a prop behind the altar. After all that, it is impossible not to give a word of thanks. Not only to pay homage to the intrepid, resourceful and joyous home builders that came before us, but to draw strength from their spirit, which still swirls around Pioneer Field.

Pioneer Field hangar.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.