Pilot Ken Starzyk flies his 1930 biplane over the grass landing strip at Poplar Grove Airport, to the delight of admiring fans. (Jon McGinty photo).
From its beginning as the first airport in Boone County, to being named the 2015 Best Private Airport in Illinois, Poplar Grove Airport has earned a unique reputation among aviators, both locally and worldwide.
Located on Illinois Rt. 76, a few miles north of Belvidere, Poplar Grove Airport doesn’t look like what we’ve come to expect at a modern airport. There are no cyclone fences topped with barbed wire surrounding the field, no air traffic control towers, no terminal, no armed guards, no commercial jets or corporate airplanes roaring off into the blue.
Instead, what you see are lots of hangars, several with a vintage look, and lots of small planes landing and taking off on the grass, some with two wings strung with wires, all propeller-driven; many are older than their pilots. Depending on the timing of your visit, you might see families with kids sitting in the grass watching the airplanes, or lined up to get a ride – many for the first time – into the beckoning sky. Welcome to the way flying used to be…aviation for the pure fun of it! [Read more…]