Brennand Airport Invests in Fun Flying

By Scott Spangler on June 22nd, 2015

Brennand-3Needing an airplane fix on the Saturday before Father’s Day I wandered over to Brennand Airport (79C), 10 miles north of Oshkosh and 4 miles west of Neenah. It is today what small, nontowered airports used to be, fence free and focused on fun flying. Maybe that’s because the public-use field is privately owned, but that owner, Keith Mustain, has made a serious investment in the future of recreational aviation.

In 2014 he built a new hangar anchored to a brick office. Its second story balcony is a perfect place to watch airplanes come and go from the 2,450-foot long runway. When Mustain repaved it in 2013, he widened it to 30 feet and adorned it with FAA-standard runway markings. It is lighted and a nonstandard PAPI provides final approach guidance. For a better look at what’s inside, like the lounge and gourmet kitchen, pool table, laundry and full bath, and two-lane bowling alley with an air race theme, follow the link in the paragraph above to the airport website. I dare say you’ll be gobsmacked, as I was.

Maybe it was the weather, a mid-level overcast growing dark with rain to the north, or maybe it was Father’s Day weekend festivities, but I was one of the few humans on the airport. Two dads working on an Aeronca Chief closed their hangar door at 3 p.m. and waved as they drove by. Self-serve 100LL was available 24/7, and Mustain had posted several signs with a number to call if anyone needed anything. Two women talking in the open door of their family shop at the far end of the ramp said that weekends are not normally this quiet, especially when it holds an event.

Brennand-10Events, it seems clear, is how the Brennand Airport family, which includes EAA Chapter 41, gets people to the airport on a regular basis. It belongs to the Wisconsin Flying Hamburger Social, which brings aviators together at a different airport every week. Brennand hosted them on June 9, as it will again on August 11. I wonder if they cooked the burgers over the 8-foot fire pit built into the concrete patio off the backside of the new hangar?

Aside from its monthly meetings, Chapter 41 holds a monthly Flyin’ Donut Day every month from April to August. July is consumed by AirVenture, and the airport offers free camping with no tie down or parking fees to those looking to avoid Oshkosh’s hustle and bustle.

Every year the Brennand Airport and Chapter 41 host a fly-in/drive-in Airport Day. As the new lighted sign says, it will be held this year on July 18 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. It will offer food, games, airplane and helicopter rides, Young Eagle flights and more to be announced. I’ll be there, and not only for the airplane fix I was searching for this day, but to see if maybe Mustain has, through regular airport events, found a way that puts some life back into flying for fun. –Scott Spangler, Editor


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