MKE SPOTTING PART 1

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Story and Photographs by Scott Jankowski

Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport is my hometown airport, living just 9 miles to the west. Mitchell is currently served by 28 passenger and cargo airlines, please note that this number includes multiple regional airlines that operate under the mainline carrier’s name and titles. A good example of this is the American Eagle brand where multiple airlines operate in American Eagle colors, those being Air Wisconsin, Envoy, Jetstream, and Piedmont Airlines. In 2023, Mitchell saw close to 97,000 aircraft movements of all types and handled approximately 6 million passengers. Mitchell’s passenger airlines utilize 2 concourses and a stand-alone International Arrivals building with a total of 36 jetways in use. The third concourse has been closed for many years and may eventually be renovated and will replace the current international arrivals facility. The current cargo facility is located on the West side of the airport adjacent to Runway 7 right and features parking for up to 15 aircraft. Mitchell is also the home base for Air Cargo Carriers and Freight Runners Express with Air Wisconsin and SkyWest Airlines having maintenance facilities here as well. Textron Aviation also has a maintenance facility at Mitchell performing work on Cessna, Beechcraft, and Hawker aircraft with an emphasis on the Cessna Citation line.


The Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 128th Air Refueling Wing is based at Mitchell and flies the Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker with 8 aircraft currently based at Mitchell. A total of three FBO’s (Fixed Base Operators) are located at Mitchell and include Signature Flight Support, Avflight, and Jet In. Major corporations have hangers at Mitchell and include Johnson Controls, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance, Rockwell Automation and Harley Davidson using a mixture of business jets. Mitchell has 2 primary runways, the 9,990-foot long 19R/1L and the 8,300-foot long 7R/25Land can safely accommodate any aircraft currently flying. There are plenty of locations to spot and photograph the action at Mitchell with 2 “officially” recognized observation areas, and several other spots around the airport including the centrally located 6 story parking garage. We are very fortunate that the current airport administration is very pro and spotter friendly.

Mitchell will never be overly busy owing to its close proximity to the major hub airports of Chicago, Detroit and Minneapolis, however Mitchell does get a fair share of interesting visitors many seen here in part 1 of this 2-part article. If you are in the vicinity, you should consider a stop at Mitchell, you never know what will stop in. Until next time, “Blue Skies To All!”

Scott Jankowski

Scott Jankowski - Franklin, Wisconsin Like so many others my love of aviation started when I was young, very young. I was only three years old when my Parents took me to my first air show here in Milwaukee, the rest you could say is “history”. I would read aviation magazines instead of Comic Books. I would prefer my Dad take me to the airport to watch airplanes instead of throwing a Football around. I grew up watching Convair 580’s, DC9’s and 727’s from the terminal here in Milwaukee, no Stage Three noise compliance back then! I started to seriously take pictures in the Mid 1980’s , for my birthday that year I finally had my first decent camera. I would head down to the airport with my pockets full of Kodak Film and take pictures of anything and everything. It did not matter if it was a Air Wisconsin Dash-7 or a 128TH ARW KC-135E if it had an engine I took a picture of it. I would drop those rolls off to be developed and three days later tear into the envelopes to see the results, which to be honest were not that good but there were a few keepers every once and a while. Fast forwarding to today with much better equipment and skills I spend as much time as I can at both General Mitchell International and Chicago O’Hare which are my Hometown Airports. While times and aircraft have changed the excitement is still as great as it was back all of those years ago. It makes no difference if it is 737, P-51, F-16, or Lear 35 I will not pass on any photo opportunity as you may not get that chance again. Even though my primary focus is on Commercial Aviation I still frequent as many Air shows as I can in the short Summer Season. I am fortunate enough to have EAA Air Venture in my backyard only being only an Hour and Half from my home. I routinely attend Air shows here in Milwaukee, Rockford, Chicago, Ypsilanti and the Quad Cities. I am very fortunate to be part of the Photorecon.Net and PHX Spotters Team and am looking forward to bringing everyone some Air show and Airliner action from the Midwest Region!

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