Copper Props Fly-In: Keweenaw EEA holds fifth-year event next Saturday

Daily Mining Gazette File Photo/Kurt Hauglie An L-39C Albatross fighter jet flies over the crowd at the 2015 Copper Props Fly-In at the Houghton County Memorial Airport.

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP — The Houghton County Memorial Airport will be busier than usual Aug. 12 as the Copper Props Fly-In takes place.

Henry Nordsiek, organizer of the event for the Keweenaw Experimental Aircraft Association (EEA) Chapter 1270, said this is the fifth time the event has taken place at the airport.

Besides giving the public a chance to see and possibly ride in small aircraft, some of which were built by Keweenaw EEA members, Nordsiek said the event is meant as a way to get young people interested in flying.

The fly-in will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 12 at Hangar 2 at the Houghton County memorial Airport, Nordsiek said. The rain date is the same time the next day. Parking is free.

The Keweenaw EEA has a program called Young Eagles, which Nordsiek said is for children 8 to 17 years old who have never flown in a small plane. When a child goes through an orientation, which includes talking to a pilot about flying, then takes a ride in a plane, that child becomes a member.

Daily Mining Gazette File Photos/Kurt Hauglie Spectators look over an L-39C Albatross fighter jet at the 2015 Copper Props Fly-In at the Houghton County Memorial Airport.

“Then you are a Young Eagle,” he said.

To pre-register for the Young Eagles flights, go to

Nordsiek said last year more than 150 children flew at the event. About 400 people attended the fly-in. Eight planes took part in the event.

“We think we’ll match that this year,” he said of the possible number planes taking part.

An EAA chapter from Iron Mountain may also have members and planes at the KEAA event, Nordsiek said.

Daily Mining Gazette File Photos/Kurt Hauglie Spectators look over an ultralight aircraft at the 2016 Copper Props Fly-In at the Houghton County Memorial Airport. This year’s fly-in takes place again on Aug. 12 at the airport.

Adults will be able to take rides in the planes as seats are available, Nordsiek said.

The fly-in is sanctioned by the International EAA in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Nordsiek said.

According to its website, the EAA began more than 60 years ago.

“Founded in 1953 by a group of individuals in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who were interested in building their own airplanes, EAA expanded its mission of growing participation in aviation to include antiques, classics, warbirds, aerobatic aircraft, ultralights, helicopters and contemporary manufactured aircraft,” the site states.

Nordsiek said there are about 25 members in the Keweenaw EAA chapter.

“It’s mostly middle age to older,” he said. “We have a few pilots who actually in their late 70s.”

The average age of the group is about 55 years old, Nordsiek said. The Young Eagles program is intended to get young people interested in flying.

In his 2018 proposed federal budget, President Trump has suggested cutting the funding for the Essential Air Services program, which would negatively affect the Houghton County Memorial Airport.

Nordsiek said the fly-in also is intended to let people know how important the airport is the area.

Also attending the fly-in will be Keweenaw Civil Air Patrol, Nordsiek said. A Red Baron flight simulator will be available for children and adults to use to get a feel for flying.

Two EEA members will bring parts of planes they are building to the event, Nordsiek said. The Calumet High School Junior ROTC will provide assistance during the event.

Airport firefighting and rescue equipment will also be on display.

There is no charge to attend the event, but Nordsiek said donations are accepted.

“It costs approximately $50 an hour to operate a small plane,”