‘Lark of Duluth’ replica certified airworthy

DULUTH, Minn. — The Duluth Aviation Institute’s replica of the world’s first “commercial” airplane, The Lark of Duluth, has received an FAA Aircraft Airworthiness Certificate, clearing the institute’s locally built aircraft for flight.

Duluth Aviation Institute’s Board of Trustees President Sandra Ettestad, stated, “January 1, 2014 marks the 100-year anniversary of commercial aviation. It is fitting that exactly 100 years to the day the world’s first commercial airplane, The Lark of Duluth, flew for the first time in Duluth, (June 28), the replica receives its Airworthiness Certificate.”

Finished Lark of DuluthThe Duluth Aviation Institute’s Lark of Duluth was five and a half years in the making, under the leadership of Duluth’s aviation craftsman, Mark Marino, with volunteer labor contributions from fellow Institute trustees and local Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) members.

The original Lark of Duluth was owned by two Duluthians, Julius Barnes and W. D. Jones, who foresaw the advantages aviation could offer to the evolution of society and economic development. The first “Lark” made the historic first commercial flight with one paying passenger, across Tampa Bay, from St. Petersburg to Tampa, Fla., on Jan. 1, 1914.

The Lark of Duluth replica will be featured at the Lark O’ the Lake Festival on July 12-14, and at EAA’s AirVenture, Oshkosh, Wis. The Lark O’ the Lake Festival will be located on the grounds of Sky Harbor Airport-Duluth. The event is a historic festival where citizens and visitors can learn more about the Duluth Aviation Institute, and have fun re-living the era of 1913.

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