Super Cubs Fly In for Ice Cream Before AirVenture

By Scott Spangler on July 25th, 2022

In between airplane spoon scoopfuls of his Runway Sundae at Kelley’s Country Creamery, the group’s pilots explained what attracted 15 aviators and their backcountry capable airplanes to an alfalfa field in Eden, which is just south of Fond du Lac and Oshkosh: “We’re just a bunch of pilots who get together at New Holstein every year for AirVenture and to fly around Wisconsin and eat ice cream.”

What brings these pilots together is, an online community formed in 2000. An interactive community of some 12,000 registered users from across the United States and around the world who have made more than 400,000 posts, the group’s motto is “Any Plane, Any Adventure.” organizes a number of fly-in gatherings around the United States, said Rick Ness, places like Johnson Creek, Idaho, Winifred, Montana, and one or two others. New Holstein is where the group gathers for EAA AirVenture.

For the past three years (skipping the shutdown horror that was pandemic 2020), flying down to Kelley’s for dessert has been a traditional after cookout dinner activity at New Holstein. If Mother Nature cooperates, they have four opportunities starting the Friday before AirVenture officially commences. members “Paul and Dana Osmanski from Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, saw that we had this nice alfalfa field,” said Karen Kelley, owner of the eponymous creamery, “and said that it might make a nice landing strip. Jeff Russell, from Madison, is a member of the group, and they came out, looked at the field and its layout with my husband, and decided what they could do for people to land and take off safely.”

After walking off the field with a measurement wheel, and outlining the hazards (powerlines along County Road B and a couple of perimeter barbwire fences that corral the black and white Holstein cows that call the Kelley family farmstead home) on an aerial view, they felt ready to go.

“The FAA knows what we are doing, but we didn’t have to do anything special with them or any other authorities,” Karen said. “They said they were fine with it. We don’t charge [the pilots for flying in]. They like to come and have ice cream at night.”

And they aren’t the only ones. Kelley’s announces the Super Cub dessert dates and times on the creamery’s Facebook page. And they prepare for it by mowing the alfalfa field, scattering a squadron of picnic benches around its white-trimmed red clapboard structure, and attiring its outside staffers in fluorescent orange vests to keep the spectators separated from the airplanes until all of them have landed and shut down.

Once the planes are secure and the pilots have had their desserts, they welcome the crowd to have a look at their planes, ask all the questions they like, with many of the pilots hefting youngsters up on the big bush wheels and into the front seats of not only Piper Super Cubs and 21st century Carbon Cubs but amateur-built Bearhawk Patrols, American Champion Scouts, and a mid-century Cessna 170B.

Like the motto says, “Any Plane, Any Adventure.” Scott Spangler–Editor


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