Hamburger Social on Wednesday, August 22


This time we’re serving chicken breast and pulled pork sandwiches along with other picnic-type items. Fly in, drive in or bike in, but come out to the museum and enjoy some aviation fellowship.

We’ll have some of the museum aircraft out on display, weather permitting.


William S. Knight Foundation Makes $370,000 Challenge Grant

The Kelch Aviation Museum is proud to announce a major gift from the William S. Knight Foundation, a challenge grant of $370,000 toward the construction of a new museum facility. The main hangar at the new museum will be named, “The Bill & Sue Knight Memorial Vintage Aviation and Automotive Building.”

The new museum will feature 16 restored vintage aircraft from the “Golden Age of Aviation” (1920-1940) and a large rentable banquet space, in addition to an aviation art gallery and technical library. The facility will be open to the public year round, and will be a community resource for Brodhead and the surrounding area. A capital campaign launched in 2016 has raised nearly $600,000 to date.

“With this challenge grant, we need to raise a matching $370,000, then we’ll meet our final goal of $1.3 Million and be able to start building” said Patrick Weeden, Executive Director of the museum. “We hope to start construction in 2019.”

Bill Knight was a venerable presence at Brodhead Airport, and restored many different vintage aircraft over four decades. He was a founding member of EAA Chapter 431 and the Midwest Antique Airplane Club. He passed away in March, 2016. His wife Sue passed away in 2009.

The Alfred & Lois Kelch Aviation Museum, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit educational corporation with a mission, “To establish and operate a museum that celebrates the golden age of aviation and cultivates an appreciation of its powerful impact on science, engineering and design, and humanity’s understanding of its own limitless potential.” The museum plans regular educational programming for area youth and adults alike.

For more information, call museum Executive Director, Patrick Weeden at 608-897-1175 or e-mail at


As a non-profit museum, we are in the fundraising business and like it or not, asking people for money is part of the daily grind. Sometimes though, an unsolicited donation comes in that rewards all of the effort and reaffirms what we are trying to do at the Kelch Aviation Museum. 

“Charlie” visited us last week from the Atlanta area. He got an airplane ride in a J-3 Cub from one of the locals at Brodhead Airport and we shot video form a wing mounted camera for him to take home and show his friends. Just a fun thing to do for a young kid with a big interest in aviation. He had a great time and promised to come back again next summer.

We received the following letter from Charlie yesterday along with $23 in cash. Its hard to put into perspective what this small amount of cash means coming from a young kid, but it certainly keeps us motivated to get our capital campaign finished this year and start building the new museum facility. Thanks, Charlie!   

Hamburger Social is Wednesday June 13

The Kelch Aviation Museum is once again hosting a “Wisconsin Flying Hamburger Social” on Wednesday, June 13 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. This is a casual, weeknight event designed to give local pilots a place to fly and a reason to go flying!

Brats, burgers and other picnic-type stuff will be served from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Fly in, drive in or bike in, but come out to the  museum and enjoy some aviation fellowship.

We’ll have some of the museum aircraft out on display, weather permitting.

Stearman C3B from Kelch Museum. Photo by Jim Koepnick.

Our Wish List

In the course of operating a non-profit museum, large unbudgeted expenses sometimes come up. This is true of any organization. 

In our case, owning 2.5 acres of property requires a quality lawn tractor to keep the place looking nice and up until now, we have been using borrowed equipment from one of our renters. Well, our renter moved out last fall so we are now without a good mower. We have a small backup riding mower but it is not long for this world.

We could purchase a new lawn tractor, but those thousands of dollars would be taken away from our new museum operating fund. Instead of appealing to donors for cash to buy a mower, we thought it best to ask around to see if anyone has a good tractor they are willing to donate. You get the tax write off and we get our grass mowed.

So, we have established a “Wish List” of large items that we need but don’t necessarily have the immediate funding to purchase. If you can help out, please contact us.

  • Lawn Tractor – at least 48″ cut
  • Golf Cart – 4-seat preferred, gas or electric
  • Old laptop or small form factor computer – to run videos during our events

Preferred Altitude Podcast

Our friend Patrick Webb from Preferred Altitude, LLC stopped by the Kelch Aviation Museum last August to do an interview for his Preferred Altitude Podcast. The podcast has just been published and you can listen to it here:

10 – Brodhead Airport’s Kelch Aviation Museum

Be sure to check out the Preferred Altitude website where you can buy some nifty vintage aircraft merchandise with the original licensed logos from Ercoupe, Navion, Stinson and others. Cool stuff there!

Kelch Fly-In – 1979

We recently unearthed this great photograph of an antique airplane fly-in at Al and Lois Kelch’s home near Mequon, Wisconsin dated September, 1979.

If you look closely, you can see a wonderful assortment of vintage and antique airplanes and no shortage of cars and people. Looks like a great time, and underscores how long Al & Lois’ “Museum” and love for old airplanes has been around.

Kent Joranlien Family Pledges $125,000 to Kelch Aviation Museum

The family of the late Kent Joranlien of Poynette, Wis. has pledged $125,000 to the Kelch Aviation Museum at Brodhead Airport. The funds will be used to build the “Kent E. Joranlien Memorial Fellowship Hall in the new museum facility planned for construction in 2018.
Kent Joranlien was a founding member of Chapter 431 of the Experimental Aircraft Association at the airport and was also one of the original investors when the airport was purchased in 1973. He served as airport secretary and treasurer over the years and was an active volunteer at EAA Chapter 431 fly-in events until his death in March of this year.
“Kent was one of the key people who enabled Brodhead Airport to be what it is today,’ said Pat Weeden, Executive Director of the Kelch Aviation Museum. “Without his early leadership and guidance, we would not enjoy this world-renown airport that was created over the past 44 years and the sense of community that it brings to pilots all over the world.”
Sandra Joranlien, Kent’s wife, wanted to create a memorial for him at the airport that would properly honor his love of aviation and the Brodhead community. A gathering place for fellow pilots, aviation enthusiasts and the local citizens seemed a perfect fit, so plans were made to include a special area in the new museum for just this purpose. Kent’s son Ric helped coordinate the effort and the funding announcement was made in early October.
The museum’s capital campaign has now raised over half of the targeted $1 Million needed to start construction, which is slated for the fourth quarter of 2018.

Open House During MAAC Grassroots

This week is the annual “Grassroots” fly-in put on by the Midwest Antique Airplane Club at Brodhead Airport. The Kelch Aviation Museum is taking part by hosting a Reception at our current museum facility on the north end of the airport on Friday evening, Sept. 8 at 7:00 p.m.

We’ll have a bluegrass band, beer, wine and desserts beginning right after the traditional Fish Boil dinner put on by EAA Chapter 431.

Come out and join us for fellowship at the museum.

Stearman C3B from Kelch Museum. Photo by Jim Koepnick.