Top General Aviation Airports in Minnesota

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Updated June 22, 2020
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Trever

Trever is a commercial pilot with over 1,700 hours of flight time as well as the owner and general manager of Inflight. He has numerous hours of mountain flying experience and a serious passion for teaching. In just 2 years he earned his Gold Seal Flight Instructor at the age of 22 and became a flight school owner at 23 years old.

There are a ton of general aviation airports throughout our state of Minnesota, serving pilots flying single- or twin-engine planes and other types of aircraft that aren’t suited for major airports. If you’re searching for the perfect destination, the airport you choose to land at can make a big difference in terms of the overall flying experience. After all, you probably don’t want to risk a shoddy landing due to uneven turf, poor ATC communication or insecure perimeters.

So if you’re going airborne in Minnesota, look to any of these airports to find a safe, trusted and fun place to land. Let’s get started! 

Albert Lea Municipal Airport (AEL)

Location: Albert Lea, MN | South

Airport Information

This city-owned, public-use airport is located just three miles away from Albert Lea’s business district. Although there is no control tower, AEL has four nicely kept asphalt runways serving a variety of aircraft from single-engines to jets to helicopters and more. After you land, stick around to see the many historic sites the city has to offer, from the Freeborn County Museum to the natural wilderness of Myre-Big Island State Park to the aquatic activities at the three nearby: Fountain Lake, Albert Lea Lake, and Pickerel Lake.

Alexandria Municipal Airport (AXN)

Location: Alexandria, MN | Northwest

Airport Information

Alexandria Municipal Airport, also known as Chandler Field, provides an up-scale airport experience, and is known for its friendly hospitality among general aviation enthusiasts. With two long asphalt runways, at 5,099 by 100 feet and 4,098 by 75 feet, AXN makes landing a breeze. In terms of things to do in Alexandria, you can grab a glass of wine at the local Carlos Creek Winery, marvel at the imposing Big Viking Statue or take a stroll through Alexandria City Park and Lakefront.

Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport (BRD)

Location: Brainerd, MN | Central

Airport Information

Although this airport serves international and regional airlines, they also provide general aviation services. On-site fixed-base operators (FBOs) offer a number of amenities, from de-icing, fuel, hangar rental, catering and car rentals, among other things. And, for those looking for the ultimate lake-side destination, Brainerd is one of the best. There are 460 lakes within a 25 mile radius of downtown – so you can land, rent a car from the FBO and be on one of the several lakes in no time!

Detroit Lakes Airport (DTL)

Location: Detroit Lakes, MN | Northwest

Airport Information

Although DTL is about to undergo some major construction to make their runways even better. The airport recently announced that they’re extending their current runway from 4,500 feet to over 5,000 feet with dual taxiways down both runway ends. With a great location central to the Detroit Lakes area, pilots have access to aquatic activities, golf, hiking, skiing on Detroit Mountain and more. 

Duluth Sky Harbor Airport & Seaplane Base (DYT)

Location: Duluth, MN | Northeast

Airport Information

Both traditional pilot license holders and those with a seaplane rating will enjoy flying in and out of Sky Harbor Airport & Seaplane Base. For those craving a stunning view, the approach here is set against the backdrop of beautiful Duluth, imposing Lake Superior, and pristine North Shore. DYT is also a certified inbound destination for U.S. Customs, meaning you can enter the country through a much less-hectic airport. Get more information about international flying by reading our post: The Top International Destinations for Flyers without Limits.

Ely Municipal Airport (ELO)

Location: Ely, MN | North

Airport Information

As one of the most popular entry points to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA), Ely is a top destination for outdoor enthusiasts of all types. Plus, traffic is light at this airport thanks to an average of only 21 flights per day, making take-off and landing easy. There’s a single 5,600-foot paved runway and taxiway as well as rentable hangars, aircraft tie-downs and a full pilot’s lounge area.

Mankato Regional Airport (MKT)

Location: Mankato, MN | Southwest

Airport Information

Since 1970, MKT has served the popular Mankato/St. Peter area, well known for its expansive state parks, multitude of lakes and small-town charm. With its two runways at 6,600 feet and 4,000 feet long, the airport is capable of accommodating aircraft as big as a 757. However, if you’re flying something smaller, you’ll still enjoy the nice condition of the runways and facilities. Additionally, the airport recently received a $12 million grant for improvements, which will make the entire experience that much better.

Red Wing Municipal Airport (RGK)

Location: Red Wing, MN | Central

Airport Information

Although technically in Wisconsin, RGK is located just six miles from downtown Red Wing, Minnesota. With one asphalt runway measuring 5,010 by 100 feet, plenty of full FBO aircraft services and courtesy cars available on a first-come/first-served basis, pilots can feel comfortable with their visit to this airport. If you’re looking for a gorgeous landing, Red Wing is a great option thanks to its location along the scenic Mississippi River Valley. Are you searching for other scenic airport landings? Check out our post, 10 General Aviation Airports with the Best Landings in North America.

General Aviation Airports in Minneapolis, MN

Location: Twin Cities, MN | Central-East

Airport Information

There are several general aviation airports in the Twin Cities that are used for smaller aircraft, like Flying Cloud Airport, Crystal Airport and St. Paul Downtown Airport, among others. Under the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), these airports handle a lot of general, business, military and commercial overflow traffic. For more information about general aviation airports in Minneapolis/St. Paul, read our post: Top Airports in the Twin Cities.

Are you landing at Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie?

Stop by Inflight Pilot Training and say hello to our team! We operate out of Flying Cloud Airport (FCM), and offer premier flight training, aircraft rental, FBO and maintenance services. For additional information about our company and service offerings, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.


Trever

Trever is a commercial pilot with over 1,700 hours of flight time as well as the owner and general manager of Inflight. He has numerous hours of mountain flying experience and a serious passion for teaching. In just 2 years he earned his Gold Seal Flight Instructor at the age of 22 and became a flight school owner at 23 years old.