Having just turned 92, Glenn Kinneberg of Spring Grove, Minnesota, has more than 70 years of flying in his logbook. He shared his aviation story with us in a feature we call “My Story.”
“I became interested in flying as a child when my uncle gave my older brother Donald and me books on aviation as a Christmas gift. We had our first flight lesson in 1947 in Decorah, Iowa. For several weeks the instructor would fly to our farm and give us each a lesson.
Then a group of local pilots, including us, formed a flying club in Spring Grove, Minnesota. I soloed in the club’s J-3, then the club sold it and bought a PA-11. That’s the airplane I got my private pilot certificate in in February 1948.
Over the years, I become the sole owner of the PA-11 and still own it today.
Later Donald and another pilot and I purchased a Cessna 140 with 400 hours. When I was stationed at the Air Base in Rapid City, South Dakota, I would fly the 140 to the base from the family farm.
After the service I attended the University of Minnesota and met my wife, Sally.
After taking over operation of the home farm, we sold the 140. Then we purchased a Piper Cherokee 180 with 400 hours.
As we had joined the Flying Farmers in 1948, we used the 180 to go to meetings. When my wife, Sally, became the Flying Farmers’ International Queen in 1974-75 we flew all over the U.S. and Canada for the chapter conventions.
Our son, Russell, also got his training in the Cherokee and flew to San Diego for the Flying Farmer convention and was awarded the youngest pilot to fly in. He now has his own Cessna 180.
Back on the farm, I used the Cherokee for getting machinery parts and flew to the Dakotas and northern Minnesota to buy feeder cattle for the feed lot.
Now the Cherokee is sold and I am back flying the PA-11 as I am the sole owner. The Cub has been recovered three times (still the same blue and yellow color). The last time it was recovered was in 1978, at the same time the Continental 85 engine was overhauled. The Cub has a metal prop, a handheld radio, and an intercom. It has always been hangared.
Every winter for the first 65 years skis were installed for the winter. The longest trip the Cub has made was to Dayton, Ohio, for an International Flying Farmers convention.
The best thing about the PA-11 over the J-3 is flying from the front seat.
The Cherokee was great for going some place, but the Cub was more fun to fly.
The Cub also has been in our town’s local parade in 1957 and 2007.
I have made several aviation-themed parade units, but the most popular one is the “Golfcoupe.” I mounted a 1941 Ercoupe on a three-wheeled golf cart with an electric motor to run the prop — with Snoopy riding along! It also had folding wings. The first five years with the Golfcoupe I went to 52 parades.
I wrote a book, “Flaps Up,” of the history of flying in the local area, which included the names of all the local pilots, and tales of my flights. Starting in 1988, it was published four times and all the books were sold out.
In 2009 I received the Wright Brothers “Master Pilot” award. In 2012, I joined 200 other Piper Cub owners in flying to Oshkosh, where I was recognized for owning the Piper PA-11 for 65 years at the time.
In April, I will be inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame.
So many memories, I can’t remember them all!