MISHAWAKA PILOTS CLUB

Blue Skies and Tailwinds .....
2016 Mishawaka Pilots Club. All Rights Reserved. The Mishawaka Pilots Club is not responsible for the misuse of any information provided
All About Us .......
The main focus of the MPC and MAA is to promote General Aviation to anyone interested

We strive to make flying affordable for all levels

Flight instruction, instrument training, aircraft rental, hangar space, restoration, aircraft ownership, homebuilt aircraft, ultralights, helicopters, aircraft rides, young eagles, are just some of what you will find at the pilots club

Please email any board member, or info@mishawakapilotsclub.com to learn more about joining, flying lessons, aircraft ownership, rental aircraft, introductory airplane rides, hangar space, club meetings, special events, or just a tour of our club house

If you want to give a loved one the gift of flight, or if you want to arrange a school class visit, please contact us, we are open to sharing our club with you

We hope to hear from you soon ......

             HISTORY OF MISHAWAKA PILOTS CLUB, by Brooks Crofoot

     Mishawaka Pilots Club, a non-profit flying club, was incorporated February 3,
1949, after two years of planning, and initially located at the Mishawaka Capital
Avenue Airport at the northeast corner of Dragoon Trail and Capital Avenue in
Mishawaka, Indiana. A real estate developer then bought the land and the club was
forced to find another location. For the next three years the club operated from
Sportsman’s Park Airport on Day Road.
     In 1951 came an opportunity to sublease land on County Line Road south of the
St. Joseph River in Elkhart County where a motorcycle club had failed to prosper. A
pre-existing east-west racing strip served as the runway. The members erected
hangars and had just settled in when one of the members decided to purchase the
land and convert it into a drag-racing facility (the present Osceola Drag Strip), forcing
the club to move a third time.
     Thus in 1957 MPC acquired the 65-acre Pancake family farm on Mishawaka
Road, establishing the airport (3C1) at its present site in Elkhart County, Indiana.
Twenty-five members each contributed $200 for a down payment for the land purchase.
MPC members formed the non-profit Airport Realty Corporation (ARC) (1959 in Dr.
Reed’s history) as a vehicle to own this land, which it continues to lease to MPC for
MPC to operate the airport.
     MPC members built runways (apparently grass), a clubhouse and hangars,
drilled a well and installed gas tanks and pumps. Members moved their hangars to the
newly acquired land and together removed fences, graded fencerows, leveled the soil
and then planted grass seed.
     ARC subsequently acquired more land in stages for a present total of 117.3 acres.
Of these, 62 acres are rented to a local farmer for crops.
     In 1967 (1965 in Dr. Reed’s article) a hard-surfaced runway (3/21) and
runway lights were installed, and electric and telephone lines buried at the north end

of the field (runway 21 approach). As membership climbed, more hangars were built.
This runway was rebuilt and repaved in 2018. There is also a grass runway (12/30).
There are no instrument approaches approved.
     There are presently 113 MPC members, with 40-plus planes hangared at the
airport on the 54 hangars on airport property. These pilot-owned hangers
occasionally become available for purchase or rent. In addition to hangars located on
airport property, there are a number of private hangars abutting airport property,
some of which are part of private residences. Plane types include single-engines, twins,
ultralites, experimentals and homebuilts.
     ARC has authorized 750 shares, of which 588 are currently owned by 60 pilots
or their relatives. Shares do not pay dividends, and are intended to be in the hands of
people who want the property to be used as an airport. The maximum number of
shares that can be held by a single person is 25 shares. (Possibly some holdovers with
more than 25)
     Day-to-day operation of airport functions are a shared responsibility of MPC
members led by a very active executive committee. MPC conducts officer elections for
one year terms, ARC for five year terms.
     In October 1974 a non-profit flying club, Mishawaka Air Activities (MAA), was
established on the field to promote instruction and MPC membership. This club
(1969 in Dr. Reed’s article) was begun with a single donated airplane, but has
become self-sustaining and currently operates four aircraft (three Cessna 172s and a
Cirrus 20), which it hangars at both 3C1 and Elkhart (KEKM). MAA presently has 76
members. A second flying club, VFR Flyers, was at one time active, but is no longer in
operation.
     Various aviation-related activities are ongoing at 3C1: flying, of course; aircraft
construction by owners; flight instruction by several instructors; monthly meetings of
both MPC and MAA organizations; ARC executive meetings several times yearly, a
yearly dinner meeting of ARC shareholders (all MPC members are invited to all ARC
meetings and functions) and a yearly Christmas party for the airport.
     A fly-in is conducted every Fathers’ Day, with proceeds going to support the
club itself as well as the Jerry Thornton scholarship fund. This fund awards a
competitive scholarship annually to a local college student enrolled in aviation
studies.
 
CONTRIBUTORS to this article:

Brooks Crofoot (author)
Dee Davis (writing)
Mark Duszynski (interview)
John Horvath “
Dana Hupp “
Dane Larsen
Jack Limberg “
Don Newman “
Robert Reed “
South Bend Tribune (article: Gene Stowe, 2012)