JOHN H. KAHLER III
1928 – 2011
A Stillwater, MN native, Kahler began flying in 1945. He served in the US Navy on active duty in Korea from 1950 to 1954 as a helicopter pilot. He continued in the Naval Reserves and became Commander at the Naval Reserve Station- Twin Cities from 1967 till its closing in 1975. He flew as a helicopter ag pilot in Fairmont, MN. He was an officer in the family-owned Kahler Hotel business of Rochester. In 1992 he took up soaring and flew gliders from the Stanton, MN airfield. Kahler served on the Metropolitan Airport Commission, the Air Guard Foundation and the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame.
R. W. "Buzz" Kaplan
1924 - 2002
Owatonna-born Buzz Kaplan saw action in the U.S. Army in World War II and learned to fly following the war. He began making flying hunting trips while he was working at Owatonna Tool Co. and explored the far North as far as the Arctic Circle in his planes.
He made several friendship flights to Europe, Russia and, most recently, Antarctica, putting his adventure on the Internet for educational purposes. Kaplan flew a restored 1930 Savoia-Marchetti seaplane through Europe. He created from scratch a replica of 1928 Sikorsky S-28 flying boat flown to South America. Kaplan also established and sponsored Owatonna’s Heritage Halls Museum.
1910 - 1998
Born in Montevideo, Minnesota, Ketcham learned to fly at Oxboro and Robbinsdale Airports in 1938. He joined the Marine Air Reserve at Wold-Chamberlain and took a home-study course on radio operating. A bulletin board notice informed him that the Park Board was hiring a control tower operator for the new tower at Wold, and he responded. He got the job in July, 1938, because of his persistence and his knowledge of "radio operating." Ketcham began with little knowledge of what to do, little cooperation from the local pilots, and rapidly changing radio usage, traffic conditions, and government regulations. With the advent of World War II, the job became much bigger, with increased Naval training traffic. He retired in 1973.
William A. Kidder
1886 - 1974
Kidder earned his pilot's license in 1917 at the Curtiss school at Newport News, Virginia. He opened Curtiss-Northwest Airport at Snelling and Larpenteur Avenues in St. Paul. He received the first Aerial Transportation license from the State of Minnesota in April of 1919 for the Curtiss-Northwest Aeroplane Company. He bought 75 Jenny aircraft from Curtiss and had them shipped by rail to St. Paul, selling them as each was assembled. Kidder offered sight-seeing and charter flights, merchandise transportation, and exhibitions. He was clearly the first major Minnesota FBO, and his airfield, along with Brown Field and Hinck's Fridley Field, were the first Twin Cities airports. Kidder rented aircraft to the newly organized 109th Observation Squadron of the Air National Guard in 1921, and to the fledgling Northwest Airways to get them started in 1926. He served in an advisory capacity to Colonel Brittin in forming Northwest Airways. Kidder saw the airplane as a machine that allowed transportation, entertainment, photography, and crop dusting to be done as never before. In later years, he wrote an unpublished autobiography which contains a wealth of history and good tales of flying in those days. From 1918 to 1925, his field was undoubtedly the center of aviation in the State.
Joseph E. Kimm
1911 - 2013
Born in Minneapolis, MN, Kimm’s first job was helping build scale model airplanes with pioneer Minnesota aviator, Walter Bullock. Kimm’s desire to fly found him riding along with Bullock on Northwest Airways company flights. He took flying lessons from Northwest and became a Ford Trimotor co-pilot. He was rated a line captain in 1935 and soon was flying the route to Chicago. Kimm was the thirteenth pilot hired by the airline in 1929. During WWII, he helped pioneer the northern route through Canada to Alaska. In 1949, Kimm became the Northwest Chief Pilot, eventually hiring 50 of Northwest’s new pilots. Following his retirement, Kimm took to public speaking and lectured on aviation and other topics to business and social groups. He remained active in the retired pilot’s organization RNPA and continues to write for the Northwest History Center’s newsletter. and recently celebrated his 100th birthday in Kirkland, Washington.
John V. Kipp
1907 - 1994
Born in Madelia, Minnesota. Kipp took his first plane ride with Speed Holman in 1928. By 1929, he had his Commercial License and went barnstorming in a Curtiss Robin aircraft. He often accompanied Florence Klingensmith on barnstorming trips. He joined the Marine Reserve and became an officer while attending St. Thomas College in St. Paul. He pursued a career in High School Administration at Harmony, Wadena, and Randolph, Minnesota, also coaching school sports teams to state championships. He instructed flying at Wold-Chamberlain prior to World War II, then was called to active duty in the Pacific, becoming Commander of Marine Air Group 13. Kipp flew the historic flag-raising films from Iwo Jima to Guam, the first leg of their trip to the United States. He was awarded the Air Medal, three Gold Stars, and the DFC for bombing missions in the Pacific. Following the war, he became part owner of Southport Airport in Apple Valley, then moved to Florida, where he returned to school administration.
Peter J. Klimek
1907 - 1992
Little fall native Klimek took his first flight from Dusty Rhodes. In the early days, he barnstormed with a Ford Trimotor and flew anglers and vacationers around Minnesota’s Canadian border. In 1934 he flew contract airmail across Lake of the Woods even after the federal government cancelled all airmail routes. He taught in the CPT program and then flew U.S. Navy admirals around the Pacific for the Naval Air Transport Command during World War II.
Florence G. Klingensmith
1906 - 1933
Moorhead-born Florence Gunderson learned to fly in North Dakota in 1928. She convinced local business leaders to sponsor her barnstorming exhibition, serving as an example of what a woman could achieve in aviation. Klingensmith co-founded the 99s, a women’s pilot group, and also managed Fargo airport. She challenged men flyers and set looping records in 1931. During off weekends she called Minneapolis’ Wold Chamberlain Field her home and gave barnstorming rides that inspired many people to take up flying.
Klingensmith turned to air racing where she made more headlines with her exploits. She placed well in several races at the National Air Races at Cleveland in 1932. She entered the prestigious Phillips Trophy Race for women in 1933 but her GeeBee aircraft failed while in the air. She was unable to bail out and died when the ship crashed.
Brig. General Raymond T. Klosowski
Raymond Klosowski was born in Moose Lake, MN. He graduated from Duluth High School and earned a History degree from the University of Minnesota. He joined the Minnesota Air Guard 179th FIS of Duluth, flying as a fighter pilot charged with the air defense mission. His leadership in all assignments brought honor to the Duluth unit and recognition from his superiors. He was promoted to Brigadier General and Commander of the unit.
During this time, he also worked with the Duluth Airport Authority on zoning and planning issues, resulting in his appointment as Executive Director of that authority following his military retirement. His experience helped facilitate harmony between airport and city demands. His knowledge of the mission, intense legwork and lobbying kept the Air Guard Base at Duluth open after its closing had been recommended by military authorities in Washington. Klosowski also worked as a volunteer to create the Bong Heritage Center in Superior, WI.
Louis E. Koerner
1900 - 1972
Louis Koerner was born in Pennsylvania. He was a cousin of the Wright Brothers, and the family ties created an interest in aviation in young Koerner. He witnessed flights of the Wright Brothers and joined the US Army at age 17, then was assigned to the balloon school at Lee Hall, VA. He served with the balloon service through the war. He attended college briefly but joined the US Post Office Dept. as a airplane mechanic. He worked in the aircraft repair depot at Illinois’ Mayfield Airport servicing Post Office aircraft. In 1928, Jim LaMont, Northwest Airways’s maintenance chief, recruited Koerner to help at Northwest.
By 1934, Koerner was in charge of the ship overhaul depot at St. Paul. He helped the airline establish the Northern Region operations in Canada and Alaska and helped setup the Modification Center at St. Paul to modify B-24 bombers for the war in Europe. Koener became Manager of the Maintenance Division at St. Paul in 1952. He should be remembered as one of the pioneer airline aviation mechanics.
David R. Konshok
David Konshok was four years old when he moved from Montana to the community of Park Rapids, MN. He served as a radioman in the US Navy and later studied Business Administration. He became a flyer and received his Private license in 1956 and began working for the improvement of the Park Rapids Airport, becoming a member of the Airport Commission. Over the following sixty years on the commission he worked in the community for strong relations between the airport and the city, pushed zoning changes, worked out tenant leases and traveled to St. Paul to lobby for grants and funding for airport improvements. In 1968 Konshok was instrumental in the founding of a local Civil Air Patrol squadron and served as commander into the 1980s.
Arthur W. Koskovich
1912 - 2002
Arthur Koskovich, who hails from McGregor, Minnesota, received his flying license in 1942 after teaching himself to fly. In 1946, he earned his flight instructor's certificate despite having polio since he was very young. He helped create both the Blue Earth Airport and the McGregor Airport, becoming manager and fixed-base operator at Blue Earth. There he prepared students for military flying service in World War II via the Civil Air Patrol and taught under the GI Bill after the war. He retired from active flying in 1952.