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Duluth Aviation Institute
preserving yesterday, inspiring today, exploring tomorrow

The Duluth International Airport began in 1926 with an airport committee appointed by Mayor Snively. The decision makers at that time where Nolte, Germaine, Horwitz, Wilson, and Scott. There task was to decide where to locate the municipal airport. The Work Farm site prevailed and construction began.

Duluth’s municipal airport was formally dedicated on September 13-14, 1930 and was christened the Williamson-Johnson Municipal Airport. The name memorialized two important Duluth aviators. Harvey Francis Williamson Jr. was a pilot in the Naval Air Reserves and Conrad Gilbert Johnson was Duluth’s first pilot killed in World War I. In an effort to be progressive, in 1961, the Duluth Airport Authority renamed the Williamson-Johnson Municipal Airport, the Duluth International Airport.

Five citizens of Duluth were selected for the first Airport Authority Board in November, 1939. They were John J. Woodfill, Halvar Haugen, Howard Bush, George Welles, and Harold Lindberg. The first airport manager was Earl "Ole" Olson. Today’s board is Nancy Norr, John Eagleton, Robert Pearson, Conrad Firling, Michael Lundstrom, Roy Niemi, and Roger Wedin. Brian Ryks is the Executive Director. Their role is to take care of our city asset, to provide safe, secure, progressive air transportation facilities to the public, and to promote economic growth.

Within the last 79 years, aviation has changed from flying boats and water runways to state of the art military aircraft and GPS instrument approachs. Our airport has evolved as has aviation. Duluth International is home to the 148th Air National Guard, Cirrus Aircraft, Monaco Air, Lake Superior College Center for Advanced Aviation, Federal Express, a host of small businesses, and hangars for area pilots.

Duluth International Airport is a community of our citizens working every day, building aircraft, maintaining aircraft, learning to fly, guarding and defending our country, and flying the public to their destinations.

In the next year, we will watch our tax dollars at work building a new terminal for the future. As a public building, the terminal will be a reflection our community and the investments made by its citizens.

This is a time to be proud of our aviation community and a time to anticipate the future goals of students at Lake Superior College Center for Advanced Aviation.

Arriving in Duluth by road, travelers crest Thompson Hill. Arriving by sea, the Aerial Lift Bridge raises its span and by rail, the Depot stands proud. As part of the transportation infrastructure, Duluth International Airport is our gateway by air and our gateway to the sky.

Happy Birthday Duluth International Airport.

Northwest Airways Ford Tri-Motor at Duluth, ca.1930



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Mayor Snively

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 Earl "Ole" Olson
First Airport Manager











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