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The Lark O' the Lake Café, offering gourmet ice cream, espresso and specialty drinks, personal Naan pizzas and fresh deli sandwiches, was created for the purpose of supporting, both financially and in spirit, the Duluth Aviation Institute. Owners Don, Mark, and Sandra are trustees of the Institute and are dedicated to the Institute’s vision and mission.

Duluth Aviation Institute

The Institute was founded in 2008 and continues to actively promote aviation in our community.

Mission: To preserve our community’s deep aviation history, and to educate our community with this history and knowledge of aviation and aerospace.

Vision: A community inspired and enriched by the art and science of aviation.

Your patronage of the Lark O’ the Lake Café makes possible many of the on-going efforts of the Institute's programming.

Path to Aviation - Gilruth Continuum

The Path to Aviation program is the Institute’s highest priority. Every school year, the Institute provides 8 weeks of in-class physical science education for 900 sixth grade students in the Duluth, Proctor and Hermantown school districts. This program gives students real world educational experience designed to inspire interest in aviation, science, technology, engineering and math (AeroSTEM).

As a reward for academic excellence, the top students take a field trip to Sky Harbor Airport or Cirrus Aircraft at Duluth International Airport where they can become a Young Eagle through the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Young Eagles program. Flights are provided by EAA Chapters 272-Duluth/Superior.

Additionally, the top student from each school receives the Apollo Gilruth Continuum Award for academic excellence.

Click here to learn more.

The Lark of Duluth

Dedicated to preserving Duluth’s aviation history, the Duluth Aviation Institute built a replica of THE LARK OF DULUTH, the world’s first airliner.

The original Lark of Duluth was a Benoist Type XIV Flying Boat No. 43 featured in the 1913 and 1914 Lark O’ the Lake Carnivals presented by the Duluth Boat Club. On January 1, 1914, the Lark flew the inaugural flight of the world’s first airline, St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line.

Interested in taking in some of the history?
Stop by the
Café, where we have a mural of the Lark, along with original carnival posters and advertisements. For a more detailed historical account of The Lark of Duluth, click here.

"This beautiful replica represents the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship while reminding us of the challenges our forefathers took to understand the science of flight," stated Sandra Ettestad, the Institute's president and owner of the Café