Many people in the Midwest vintage aircraft community know the name Bill Knight. He was a long-time presence at Brodhead Airport where the Kelch Aviation Museum is based, and flew several different restored aircraft for many years. He owned a Waco UPF-7, Waco RNF, Taylorcraft, Airmaster, Cessna 180, two Pietenpols and probably a couple more I can’t remember. He was a founding member of the Midwest Antique Airplane Club and participated in many other antique airplane clubs and organizations. His vintage auto collection was impressive as well, with dozens of varied models.
Bill was also a successful businessman, leading the manufacturing facility in Brodhead that was started by his father, Stan. Knight Manufacturing has been the largest employer in Brodhead for years and Bill had a reputation for treating his employees fairly and producing quality products for area farmers and the Ag business worldwide. Knight Manufacturing was sold to Kuhn North America several years ago and continues to be a key business presence in Brodhead.
We talked to Bill several times about the plans for the new Kelch Aviation Museum over the summer of 2015 and he helped guide our early ideas into the museum building that we now hope to build. Those of us who knew him were very saddened to learn of his illness in early 2016, and shocked when he passed away in March.
Shortly after his death, we received word that the William S. Knight Revokable Trust had named the Kelch Aviation Museum, Inc. as a beneficiary in the amount of $200,000. We were floored when we opened the letter, and deeply honored to know that Bill had faith in our project to that degree. Such a significant donation gives our new building campaign a level of legitimacy not only in the aviation community but in a local area as well.
We are proud to announce this gift and know that it will help bring in other donors to get us to our $1 Million goal.
Thanks, Bill. Blue skies and tailwinds, sir.