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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

BEYER, LaVere "Al"

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BEYER, LaVere "Al." (Elmoville, IL, Nov. 17, 1924--Maquoketa, IA, Sept. 26, 1989) Beyer became a legend throughout the Midwest as “Beyer the Flyer,” a pilot who would fly almost anything, anywhere, at anytime. He spent his entire adult life working in the aviation business as a pilot, mechanic, instructor, salesman, and spreader of general aviation goodwill.

Beyer began his flying career by teaching himself to fly in a Piper J-3 Cub in 1941. During his early years in aviation, Al thrilled people at the airshows and fairs with his parachute jumping and stunt flying, which included flying under some bridges. Shortly thereafter, he went to Spartan School of Aeronautics in Spartan, Oklahoma, where he qualified for his Aircraft & Powerplant mechanics license and Parachute Rigger license. Eventually he added a private and then commercial license to his list along with multi-engine, instrument, and flight instructor ratings.

Beyer began in the aviation business by managing Hillcrest Airport in Freeport, Illinois from 1946 to 1953. He operated Albertus Airport in Freeport, Illinois from 1953 to 1956. He once parachuted from a plane, landed in the middle of the Freeport Raceway, and then changed suits and rode a motorcycle through a wall of flaming boards. (1) From 1956 to 1984, Al ran BEYER AVIATION at the Dubuque AIRPORT. While in Dubuque, he also ran satellite services at Beloit Airport in Beloit, Wisconsin and Wagon Wheel Airport in Rockton, Illinois. From 1984 until his death, Al owned and ran Maquoketa Aviation Company in Maquoketa, Iowa.

He was a lifelong member of the EAA, AOPA, and other affiliates including the CAP and the Mississippi Valley Pilots’ Association. Among a number of achievement awards, Al received the prestigious Flight Safety Award, which qualified him to Accident Prevention Counselor.

By the end of his career, Al had accumulated over 40,000 flying hours, during which time he flew many types of aircraft...some of the more interesting types being Seabees, PT-19s, Stearman biplanes, and the Cessna UC-87 “Bamboo Bomber.” Al was also a major distributor for Mooney, Piper, and Cessna.

As a charter pilot, Al had a reputation for flying just about anything. His varied cargos included baby chickens, strawberries, mail, auto parts, and even a pony. Some of the many celebrities Al flew included Senator Robert Kennedy, Roselyn Carter, Senator Gary Hart, and Guy Lombardo.



1. Bonita (Beyer) Staas (sister). e-mail, July 25, 2015