New Richmond Regional (Municipal) Airport



The following articles are reprinted exactly as they appeared in The News

 March 11, 1965


(Mayor/Publisher John A. Van Meter’s personal column appearing each week)

It probably isn’t important – we waste more money than what it costs to light Idle Field airport every night and then again it’s another new item of expense we gotta learn to live with. Notice the cost of electric energy for the Idle Field lights in January, 1965, was $21.07; Feb, $16.23.

It’s the damned pressure groups that really cost money. A small group organized to make a big noise can sound far more important than they are but that is the way to get things done – we need Idle Field airport? We oughtta have one south of town, too, to cut down on travel time to and from the fields to your home or job.



Now that the city has its Idle Field airport, various details in the operation of the field are bound to come up from time to time. Monday the city fathers approved a stated and federal provision that the field would be available to anyone seeking its facilities – some sort of civil rights decree.

The problem of "farming" the surplus areas also was discussed. It was left to the street department to seed areas of the field to stop erosion and generally look after the grounds. There could be some spaces used for amateur golf putting greens?

The national guard unit asked for permission to stage a mock assault on Idle Field, March 20 and to this there was no opposition. The Guardsman won’t kidnap the field but apparently will get some outdoor exercise of sorts. So don’t become alarmed if the field is over-run by men in uniform March 20 – they are not on their way to Alabama, just reconnoitering the area.


June 10, 1965

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NEW RICHMONDITES will soon be seeing the continuous green and white beacon revolving at the New Richmond airport. Members of the Jaycees and city street crew traveled to La Crosse on Memorial Day to dismantle a 52-foot high beacon and brought it to New Richmond. Seen dismantling the last few sections are left to right Bob Swanda, Francis Otto and John Steel.


July 8, 1965

Members of the Jaycees cooked pancakes, sausage and eggs for over 300 people who participated in the Jaycee breakfast flight June 27 at Idle Field.

SOMETHING NEW in airplanes was exhibited at the fly-in breakfast sponsored by the New Richmond Jaycees, June 27. The airplane, the new Cessna Super Skymaster, was shown by the Flyaway Corporation of South St. Paul and features twin engine performance with one engine in the front and one in rear . . in effect a "pusher-puller". The aircraft allows a single engine pilot, with a special rating of center-line thrust (CLT), to pilot the craft without getting a twin engine rating.

The Skymaster was introduced last year and met with immediate favorable response. It carries six people, including pilot, has a cruising speed of 200 miles per hour and a range of up to 1,390 miles, making it truly a long range executive plane.

Members of the Jaycees cooked pancakes, sausage and eggs for over 300 people who participated in the Jaycee breakfast flight June 27 at Idle Field.


September 23, 1965


(Mayor/Publisher John A. Van Meter’s personal column appearing each week)

We need someone who is all fired interested in New Richmond’s municipal Idle Field airport to go on a junket next week. Leave Idle Field at 10 am Sept. 30, go to Sheboygan for lunch, then join a group of some 150 for a tour of the state’s airports, overnight in Rhinelander, return to Idle Field Friday afternoon.

A conflict of dates prevents the mayor from making the trip, or maybe he ain’t that interested in the town’s air facilities. But in 20 years Idle Field could be quite some busy travel terminal –someone from New Richmond should be a member of the junket. The arrangements are all made for whomsoever wants to go. Members of the city council had first chance on this and there wasn’t too much enthusiasm shown, perhaps you want to go?

It could be an interesting and rewarding experience to some airminded citizen. Which reminds us of an occasion some years ago – we took the place of a prominent citizen on a junket that we always wondered about – just in case the plane ran into trouble, it could have solved something or other. That turned out to be quite an experience, in the dead of winter and already well below zero on the ground and it got colder the higher yuh went.

(January 20, 1999 – Yes, I reprinted the above article exactly as it appeared in the newspaper. It makes no sense to me, either.)


September 23, 1965


The man chuckled as he read the statement about the advantages of owning a company plane in today’s fast-moving, highly competitive business world.

"Listen to this," he said to his companion. "No tickets, no time-tables, no costly waiting. Wherever your abilities are needed you can go – fast – on a moment’s notice. That’s us, all right."

The other man nodded and smiled as he glanced at his watch. It was exactly 7:30 a.m. on a beautiful summer day. And both men had good reason to be relaxed, contented and full of energy and enthusiasm. For they had started what was to be a busy day by covering close to 100 miles in half an hour.

Fleecy white clouds moved gently across a bright blue sky and the early morning sun glistened on the wings of their twin-engine plane as they flew over the green, rolling countryside of Wisconsin.

Another important trip was being made by men from Doughboy Industries as part of a new transportation program which has added an entirely new dimension to the company’s widespread operations.

Each day, five days a week, the trim Doughboy plane rolls down the runway of New Richmond Municipal airport and takes off for one or more of dozens of cites which are regular ports of call for the Aero Commander.

At the controls is tall, genial Al Johnson, a skilled, veteran pilot with many years of flying experience and when the plane is headed for a metropolitan area where the air traffic is heavy, he has a co-pilot at his side.

Behind the smooth, efficient operation is a former airline man. Harry E. Nelson, jr. traffic manager of Doughboy Industries, who works two weeks in advance on the plane schedule – but always keeps it flexible so they can handle short notice trips.

Reservations must be made in advance by the different divisions and departments using the plane and names and pertinent information are on the flight schedule which is printed once a week.

On a recent day for example, the Doughboy Aero Commander flew me to a company plant in Elgin, Illinois, landing at the city’s airport and then took another home-office man to a field north of Chicago’s busy O’Hare International airport so he could visit the Televiso Electronics plant in Wheeling, a few miles away.

He then headed for Green Bay to make a pick-up. His new passengers were a Doughboy feed salesman and four farmers who use the company’s formula feeds for their livestock and dairy herds. On trips like this one, a passenger can ride in the co-pilot’s seat.

But had the flight gone into O’Hare airport, or Miegs field beside Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago, a few blocks off the city’s bustling Michigan boulevard, Johnson would have used a co-pilot from a pool of men who fly for the commercial airlines.

As Johnson had his lunch that day, his visitors from the Green Bay area were on a tour which included the Doughboy research and demonstration farm, the feed plant and the quality control laboratory. They also met with key people at the General office of Doughboy before heading for home.

Late that same afternoon, Johnson went back over the same route he had covered earlier in the day and spent several hours at the Televiso and Elgin plants, he flew back to New Richmond. It was another example of the efficiency of the Doughboy company plane operation.

Before joining Doughboy Industries, Johnson had made trips for other firms which took him to all parts of the United Stated and into Canada and Mexico. His longest flights for Doughboy have been to West Helena, Arkansas, about 80 miles south of Memphis, Tenn, and to Phoenix, Arizona.

Flying the Doughboy plane, just as he did with others, he regularly uses the ground-t-air navigation aids which are made by a company division, Televiso, and his craft is followed by air traffic control centers on radar scanning equipment carrying the Doughboy name.

Doughboy maintains its own hangar at the New Richmond airport where the plane is stored when not in use, and for maintenance and for certified overhaul, the plane is taken to a firm at Holman Field in St. Paul which is famed for its standards of reliability.

The Aero Commander, N2503C, has not replaced all air travel at Doughboy and many representatives of the company use the commercial lines for flights to all parts of the nation, as well as to Europe where the company’s Packaging Machinery division has two plants, and to other parts of the world where there are Doughboy offices.

And the commercial airlines are used regularly by different divisions shipping products, or parts, to firms around the country and abroad. But, meanwhile the acquisition of the Aero Commander has added something new to the company’s was of doing buisness.


December 23, 1965

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MEMBERS OF THE New Richmond Flying Club have recovered the fuselage of their Piper airplane with a new lifetime fabric. The fabric of the plane had become rotted and unsafe. With the aid of a licensed inspector, they were able to cover the fuselage in about three weeks of their spare time.



Members of the New Richmond Flying Club have recently completed covering the fuselage of their airplane with a new lifetime fabric. The six members of the club, with the assistance of a licensed inspector completed the job in three weeks of spare time.

The six members of the club, all taking flying instructions from a local pilot, Russ Reinhardt, purchased the 1947 Piper last summer, after it had passed an annual inspection.

They purchased the plane as a group so their instruction costs would be lower than renting an airplane at a twin cities airport.

The new fabric, a synthetic called Eonox, is said to last the lifetime of the airplane. But before the new fabric could be applied, the entire fuselage frame had to be sanded by hand and a zinc chrome applied so that the metal parts would not rust the fabric.

Inasmuch as the students were all just beginning to learn to fly, it also gave them a better insight into the care and maintenance which an airplane should have.

After gluing the fabric to the metal frame, six coats of an epoxy material was applied to the fabric, each dried with heatlamps to provide shrinkage so it would not flap in the wind and tear.

All of the members of the club, Bob Swanda, Ralph Neale, Jim Wolf, Henry Geving, John Clarke and Tim Brabec have soloed. Swanda and Neale have completed their cross country instruction to apply for a private pilot’s license. There are three flying clubs at the local airport and six airplanes are permanently based here. A new hangar for one of the planes will be built next spring. All of which shows the sudden interest which has been taken in aviation since the airport was built.

  New Richmond Regional Airport, New Richmond, Wisconsin ~ Airports Mean Business!