The Palmyra Area Chamber of Commerce has selected the Palmyra Municipal Airport as its next Shining Star Business!
Pictured from L to R are Bob Massie, Mike Lotzer, Bob Zerull (airport manager), Heidi Deuster Chamber President, and Rick Jelinek
We spoke with Bob Zerull, Airport Manager, to find out about this regional gem. Located on the north side of Palmyra along Hwy 106, the airport is a bustling hub of activity. Having a local airport makes it possible for people from larger geographic areas to visit the Palmyra vicinity. In addition to the airport itself, visitors are attracted to the many hosted aviation events, like the annual Father’s Day Fly-In Breakfast which has become one of Wisconsin’s favorite aviation events!
Bob Zerull historically states that “The first annual record of flying in Palmyra began in the 1930’s with rides being given at the annual Palmyra “Old Settler’s” celebration. Bob Huggins gave people rides in an open cockpit biplane. He is credited with being the first pilot and airplane builder in Waukesha County. In the 1930’s there was a landing strip that ran along highway H, opposite the entrance to Blue Spring Lake, that was nothing more than the edge of a farmers field. From 1945 to approximately 1949 the “airport” rented farmland that was in a cow pasture on the Calkins farm. The airstrip ran along Calkins Road and south of Hwy 106, but could only be used on weekends when the cows were kept out of that particular pasture and kept in what they called the “night pasture” on Saturdays and Sundays.”
“The first annual record of flying in Palmyra began in the 1930’s with rides being given at the annual Palmyra “Old Settler’s” celebration. Bob Huggins gave people rides in an open cockpit biplane. He is credited with being the first pilot and airplane builder in Waukesha County..."
The current airport was built in the early 1950’s using federal, state and town money.
A little over 10 years ago, the airport constructed, with federal funding, 8 new modern T-hangars located in the middle of the existing hangar rows, which filled quickly with new pilots and aircraft. Currently there are 65 hangars and 68 airplanes, but based on additional interest, the airport is now planning on constructing 6 more T- hangars. The Palmyra Municipal Airport has a “turf” landing strip, which makes it a favorite for many aviation enthusiasts around the state. A turf runway is softer and more forgiving than a hard surface runway and attracts older and antique aircraft.
The airport houses several organizations on the field. The Palmyra Flying Club, which supports, assists, educates, instructs and promotes all phases of aviation. The 88 Charlies (www.88charlies.com), which is a program designed to provide youth aged 12 - 18 years with
a hands-on opportunity to explore aviation as a career or hobby. In addition to building airplanes, the 88 Charlies program teaches academic and interpersonal skills to students too! This program is offered at no cost to the students or families involved so help is always appreciated. The Flying Hawks is a group of organized pilots who own 2 airplanes on the field, a Piper J3 Cub and a Cessna Cardinal. If you are a pilot without an airplane to fly, this may be the club for you! Find out more about these three organizations on their Facebook pages.
The annual Father’s Day Fly-In Breakfast will be held, rain or shine on Sunday June 19th from 7 am until about 11 am. Folks can fly-in, drive-in or walk-in to enjoy pancakes, scrambled eggs, juice, and coffee with aviation enthusiasts from all over. Airplane and helicopter rides will be available, as well as music from the Palmyra-Eagle community band.
The Palmyra area is fortunate to have its own airport for the many reasons listed and we’re proud to honor them as our Shining Star business for April, May and June!
For more information,
Bob Zerull, Airport Manager
Palmyra Municipal Airport
PO Box 348, Palmyra, WI 53156