The Past And Future Of Northland Aviation Meet At Festival

By KBJR News 1

July 14, 2013 Updated Jul 14, 2013 at 10:54 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)
This helicopter is part of a celebration of a century of Twin Ports aviation.
The chopper is helping recreate the Lark of Duluth festival that took place here a hundred years ago.

"It's a remake of the original one in 1913. That festival lasted six weeks." said Tom Betts.

The original Lark of Duluth was a 1913 Benoist flying boat.
It used to fly one passenger at a time and was considered the world's first airliner.
This plane is a three year old replica made by the Duluth Aviation Institute.

"Our replica is as accurate as we could make it." said Betts.

No blueprints exist for the long gone plane so its builders relied on photos from the Library of Congress.
Only a few tweaks have been made to make the craft safer.

"One hundred years later, the Lark replica is going through its paces getting ready to be certified to fly. In the meantime, the folks at Cirrus Aircraft are continuing to prep their new jet." said Dave Anderson in the cockpit of the Benoist.

Cirrus's Vision Jet made a flyover at the festival, tying together the first century of Twin Ports aviation to its second.

"That bookmarks the last 100 years of aviation from the first commercial airplane taking one passenger at a time to the Vision Jet going by." said Dale Klapmeier of Cirrus.

It's not just the Vision Jet that has a bright future in the 21st century.
The Duluth Aviation Institute hopes the replica Benoit Lark of Duluth spends many years reminding aircraft fans of the past.

"We'd like to have it remain a flying, living piece and fly it over Duluth several times a summer." said Betts.

In Duluth, Dave Anderson, KBJR 6 and Range 11.

Also on display at the festival was one of the late Jeno Palucci's 1951 Beech 18 float planes.
It's hoped that this revival of the Lark of Duluth festival will become an annual event.